free counters

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Little Buddha Children's Club attracts over 1000 members in India

Rohan Chahande, a mitra from Nagpur, writes with news of the second annual Children’s Retreat run by TBMSG’s ‘Little Buddha Children Club’ - plus an update on their plans for 2010.

He says - “I am sending report of Little Buddha Children’s Club for publishing on FWBO/TBMSG news site.

“Over the Xmas period we held our second annual retreat for children from all over Nagpur. Over a hundred participated in this three-day event held at Nagaloka. They enjoyed Puja, meditation, play, songs, yoga, Karate, painting & games. On the last day children performed in groups and individually. We showed a movie on the life of the Buddha, which the children enjoyed very much - and wished to watch similar movies in future. We also conducted a workshop for parents; they wished to help LBCC and asked to have more programmes for children and parents this year.

“We ended with a resolution to develop more Friendship in 2010 - this was voted to be the main theme for Little Buddha Children’s Club activities in this New Year. This will inspire us therefore to reach more children in Nagpur’s rural areas and slum areas in other cities.

“We have been organizing activities for children throughout the year and now we have centres in Pune (Western India) and Varodaya in Gujarat (North India). In fact more than a thousand children are members of LBCC and we are still growing.

“With metta, Rohan Chahande

For contact details and updates check the Little Buddha Children’s Club website.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Report from International Dhammakranti Retreat at Buddhagaya

Rohan from India’s ‘Dhammakranti’ project sends us this report of their recent retreat at Bodh Gaya, place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment and pivot of the Buddhist world.

‘Dhammakranti’ means ‘Dhamma Revolution’; their vision is a revival of the Buddha’s teaching across the length and breadth of India, and thus, the establishment of a truly caste-free society in India and an end to the appalling suffering this system still causes. He says-

“We have been organizing the Dhammakranti retreat for last seven years; this is the eight one in a series. Over last seven retreats nearly 8,500 people from 15 different states and from 20 different caste backgrounds have participated, we have tried to give to each an experience of a casteless society based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. This is one of our main aims.

"This was the fourth Dhammakranti retreat we have organized at the most holy and auspicious place Buddhagaya in Bihar, India.  It took place 18 Oct to 23 Oct 2009.

Our aim

A. We wanted to set up a model for a casteless society. This would work as an inspiration for people in India who are working to annihilate the caste system as per the vision of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

B. We wanted to give an experience of a compassionate community of a wide variety of people coming from all many different parts of India and around the world.

C. We wanted to create an opportunity for people to interact with each other from different caste backgrounds and meet one another deeply enough to experience the unity and harmony between each other so that the habit of seeing people as higher or lower vanishes.

D. We decided to use Buddhist teachings as the major components of the retreat.

E. We wanted to revive a Buddhist culture in India

We brought together people from 7 different states in India - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, and 4 Countries in the world - India, Britain, Thailand, New Zealand. This allowed us to have a real international flavor on the retreat.

We allowed 75 people to come free on the retreat, they were from various poor backgrounds specially from Bihar and Orissa. This helped them to build their confident and have the chance to interact with other Buddhists.

"All together 200 people participated in this retreat.  Dhammachari Subhuti was the leader of the retreat.

Talks and events

"We had an inauguration program on 18th evening where people from different countries and states introduced themselves in a group with their cultural background and won the hearts of many people.

"The main theme on the retreat was The Buddha Mind and the Five-Buddha mandala. Subhuti gave talks every morning. We explored the Buddhas by visiting the Maha Bodhi Temple everyday and reflecting on the five Buddhas, meditation, group discussion and communication exercises. Walking meditations also helped us to go deeper in to the theme.

"At the end of the retreat we had a mitra diksha (mitra ceremony) under the Bodhi tree. In this, seven brothers and sisters from four different states and two different nations expressed their strong commitment to the three jewels. As part of this, Dhammapali is the first Thai mitra we have in our movement.

Coming up - and our request to you
"Our next retreat we are going to have is in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, in December. We would like to get your generous help for this great cause.

"Please visit or; your support will help us to do the Buddhist uplift in India.

"Namo Buddhay and  Jai Bhim to all!"

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 05, 2009

Coming soon - Dhammakranti 'Jumbo' Retreat at Buddhgaya

Nagaketu writes from India with news of the next Dhammakranti Retreat at Buddhgaya - and a way to take part even if you don't happen to be passing.  He says -

"We are very pleased to inform that this year too we are arranging a big Dhammakranti retreat at Buddhgaya. This retreat will be held from 18th October to 23rd October 2009 at the Triratna Centre, TBMSG land, Buddhgaya.

"This is our 8th successive Dhammakranti retreat. Up till now we have successfully arranged three of these retreats at TBMSG’s ‘Hsuan Tsang’ retreat centre at Bordharan, one at Nagpur and three at Buddhagaya. So this is going to be the fourth retreat in succession at Buddhgaya.

"It is a wonderful and spiritual experience to be in retreat at the Enlightenment place of the Buddha. On the retreat we will do Meditation under the Bodhi Tree, listen to Dhamma Talks, enjoy Buddhist Rituals, participate in Group Discussion and Cultural Activities.

"This way we feel and experience ourselves to be close to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. These retreats have already made a considerable impact throughout India, giving people from all castes and classes and opportunity to practise the Dhamma together and form a casteless Society in the true sense. In India this is truly a precious opportunity.

"Hence you are kindly invited to join us in this noble work by personally attending the retreat or by making generous donations. To make a donation please visit Thank you.

"Your contribution will help us to take the Dhamma to hundreds of people in India.

"With metta, Ritayush, Nagaketu, Sadhanaratna, Maitriveer Nagarjuna, Padmadarshi, Ratnadarshi, Kshitivajra and All the Dhammakranti Team".

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

TBMSG activities expanding in North, South, East India.

The Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha, or TBMSG – as the FWBO is known in india – continues to expand the range and size of its activities. November through March are traditionally the season for ‘outreach’ and this year is no exception. In fact there are three large events coming up, in three corners of India -

North India
In North India we’ve heard from Maitriveer Nagarjun, a young Order Member studying for a higher degree at the prestigious JNU university, he says -

“Here I am sending you an image of the PAMPHLETS for another step ahead for the Dhammakranti (Dhamma Revolution) in NORTH INDIA. It’s difficult to organise in a New Place like Delhi, but I am feeling satisfied to contribute one more step in Delhi and for the rest of the states in NORTH INDIA.

“Subhuti (from England) will the main teacher. This Four-Day residential retreat, with food organized by Jawaharlal Nehru University Students for Social Human Welfare, will welcome people from all different cultures, communities and backgrounds to listen and study why we need BUDDHISM in human life, especially with reference to the work of BODHISATTVA BABASAHEB Dr. B. R. AMBEDKAR. . Subhuti will lead the retreat with Dhammacharies at our Venue”.

Bodh Gaya
Next in this impressive calendar is a large 1000-person retreat to be held at Bodh Gaya, in North-Eastern India. They say –

“The 7th International Dhammakranti retreat will be held at Buddhagaya from 1st march evening to 6th march evening 2009.

“This will be the third and largest International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya organized by the Dhammakranti Social Institute, TBMSG, India. These retreats have already made a considerable impact throughout India, giving people from all castes and classes an opportunity to practice Dhamma together and form a Casteless Society in the true sense. In India this is truly a precious opportunity.

“The major attractions on the retreat are Meditation under the Bodhi Tree, Dhamma Talks, Buddhist Rituals, Group Discussions & Cultural Activities. All present will be making a contribution to reviving the Dhammachakra (Dhamma Revolution) in the World. Dhammachari Subhuti will lead the Retreat. The retreat will be held at the Nyingma Monastery in Buddha Gaya.

“For more details please contact us at tel 0091-9371181404. Thank you”.

Tamil Nadu

And 1,500 miles away, in a completely different landscape, language, climate and culture – but still in India – we’ve heard from a group of graduates from TBMSG’s training program at Nagaloka. They say -

“Dear Dhamma Friends, Namo Buddha. Buddha.

“The Friends of Nagarjuna Training Institute (NTI) is organizing the first Mass Retreat in Tamil Nadu, India from 12th March evening to 15th March evening 2009. This retreat is organized to gather around 300 people from South India. It is a good opportunity to learn and practice the Dhamma with hundreds of followers of Buddha and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar. This is truly a precious opportunity in South India to bring people together irrespective of class, caste and religious background. These retreats may have a considerable impact on society and an opportunity to explore the importance of practicing Dhamma to establish a casteless society in the true sense.

“The major components of the retreat are Group Meditation, Dhamma Talks, Buddhist Formalities, Chanting Buddhist songs, Group Discussions and Buddhists Cultural Activities. Dhammachari Lokamitra, a Buddhist spiritual leader will lead the Retreat. The retreat will be held at Shanthi Nilayam, Vedamary Community College, Mambazhapattu Road, Perumpakkam, Villupuram Dist, PIN – 605 301. Tamil Nadu.

“Many people from very poor economic backgrounds are expected to participate in the retreat. A donations scheme is being set up to help many of them to attend this. Your donation will help the Revival of Buddha Dhamma movement in South India. Come and join this historic event to transform our society in to a New Society – based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and fulfill the dream of Bodhisattva Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

For more details please contact us: email: mobile: + 91 9841 255 342 web:

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, September 19, 2008

7th International Dhammakranti retreat to be held at Buddhagaya

Nagaketu, Executive Director of the TBMSG’s ‘Dhammakranti Project’ in India, has written to FWBO News to say –

“We are very happy to inform you that the TBMSG's Dhammakranti Team is organizing the 7th International Dhammakranti Retreat at Buddha Gaya (in the State of Bihar, India) from 1st to 6th March 2009. All readers of FWBO/TBMSG News are warmly invited to attend.

“This is a good opportunity to practice in the most holy place for Buddhists in the world. It is a rare opportunity to practice and learn the Dhamma with hundred of other Buddhists from India and the World.

“This will be the third and largest International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya organized by the Dhammakranti Social Institute, TBMSG, India. These retreats have made a considerable impact throughout India, giving people from all castes and classes an opportunity to practice Dhamma together and form a Casteless Society in the true sense. In India this is truly a precious opportunity.

“Many people from very poor economic backgrounds, from many Indian states, are going to participate in the retreat. A donations scheme is being set up to assist many of them to attend, and this report is an appeal for donations – see the contact details below or our special fundraising website Your donation will help hundreds of India’s new Buddhists to have this unique experience in their life.

“Come and join this historic event to transform our society to a New Society – one based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and fulfill the dream of Bodhisattva Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

“The major attractions on the retreat are Meditation under the Bodhi Tree, Dhamma Talks, Buddhist Rituals, Group Discussions & Cultural Activities. All present will be making a contribution to reviving the Dhammachakra (Dhamma Revolution) in the World. Dhammachari Subhuti will lead the Retreat. The retreat will be held at the Nyingma Monastery in Buddha Gaya.

“For more details please contact us at, tel 0091-9371181404, or check our website

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New TBMSG centre opens in Delhi

The inauguration of the new Centre premises in Delhi, July 2008
News of India comes today via an FWBO blogger with her ear to the ground in San Francisco - in her journal Jai Bhim International she writes:

"we are rejoicing in the opening of a new FWBO/TBMSG dhamma center in delhi, the dhammachakra buddhist centre.

"the center officially opened last sunday, with an inauguration led by its director, dhammachari maitriveer nagarjuna (shown leading the puja, left).

"over 50 people came to celebrate the new space on the prestigious jnu university campus: university students, buddhists representing other sanghas, as well as families from the local community. may this sangha continue to thrive!"

The new centre will serve as a base for the ambitious plans of TBMSG's Dhammakranti Project for new Dhamma classes in the four neighbouring States of Rajasthan, Hariyana Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, besides serving as a community base and training centre. 

During the opening ceremonies Lama Sumati from Bodhagaya, a long-time friend of Maitriveer Nagarjun, spoke, reminding people about Dr.Ambedkar's teaching that:

1. Buddhism is difficult to practice, so one must be brave to practice the Dhamma.
2. Dr. Ambedkar wanted his followers to be brave to revive the Buddhism.
3. There is no short cut to practice, so we need to work hard for the Buddha's teachings.

The new centre's first major event is already in preparation,  a North India Youth Convention to be held under the auspices of the new National Network of Buddhist Youth - the dates are 11-14 September 2008, in Delhi.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TBMSG Amaravati: youth, Dhamma tours, and an appeal

FWBO News has received this report from Amitayus, a leading Order Member in TBMSG’s Amaravati sangha, in central Maharastra, India. The Buddhist community in Amaravati has long has a reputation for innovation and dynamism, it looks like they’re not resting on their laurels! Their report concludes with an appeal, and we urge readers to log onto the Amaravati appeal website and also pass news of the appeal to their friends and others in the Sangha.

Amitayus says -

“The TBMSG-Bahujan Hitay Amaravati sangha (Maharashtra) has for many years been having regular dhamma and social activities including especially activities planned and designed for youths. We know well that youths should get attracted to the Dhamma as this is a very important part of forming the New Society. As well as this, we run many regular other activities which we feel should be known to the wider sangha , we request you to help us doing this effectively through publishing these events on FWBO TBMSG news.

Amaravati Youth Conference 2008
“At present we wish to inform you of two things. First is the Youth Conference 2008, organised by our Dr. Ambedkar Social and Youth Center in Amaravati. Our aim is to organise Indian youth for self development and to help them so that they can help their people, we have been working with the youth since 1993 and we have supported thousands of youth. Many are now regular practitioners of Dhamma and have become effective social activists.

“Our Youth conference 2008 was held from 26th to 30th May, we accepted 125 participants including men and women especially from slum and rural backgrounds. Dhammachari Amoghasiddhi and Aniruddha explored the various areas of self-development including teachings of Dr Ambedkar, basic Dhamma, and ‘secrets of success’ using NVC. The organisers are accepting the wishes from the broader sangha worldwide for the success of the event.

‘Jumbo Retreat’ in October 2008
“Second we wish to inform you that in October 2008 we are planning a big programme of public talks all around Amaravati, followed by our largest retreat. There will be 15 public talks before the retreat, we estimate more than 400 people will be present in small towns and 1000 people at the bigger towns. Those who are inspired may come forwards to participate in our ‘Jumbo’ retreat which will run from 24 October to 30 October. It will be led by a team of 25 Order Members from the Amaravati area including Chairwoman Dhammacharini Jayamani, Chief Organiser Dhammachari Nagabhadra, and also Dhammachari Ashvajit from the UK. We will be including youths, rural, tribal, and nonbuddhist people: in this way we begin to create the true casteless society.

“This is a very big task for us and our first step is to fundraise for it. We need Indian Rs. 6 lakhs, or UK £8,000 approx. We are planning to raise these funds through door knocking, sponsoring the events , publication and looking for contributions from our international sangha.

“To know more about our work please visit, to donate to our appeal please visit Thank you”.

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 23, 2008

'National Network of Buddhist Youth' Conference in India

Ann Dennehy, a mitra from the FWBO’s San Francisco Sangha sends us this report of TBMSG’s ‘National Network of Buddhist Youth’ Conference in Dehra Dun, northern India, held June 1-7, 2008.

She writes -

“I have just returned from a week on retreat with India’s National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY) in the hill station of Dehra Dun, in northern India. I worked as part of a team of 4 Trainers - the Indian Order members Kumarjeev and Kamalasri from Nagpur, and Maitriveer Nagarjuna from Delhi, alongside the NNBY Student Leadership Team.

Altogether we were 35 people on the retreat, practicing in an old colonial school building, miraculously transformed for our use by the local Senior Dhammachari Bodhisagar (who had been ordained by Bhante in India in the 1980's) and his tireless wife Sumitra. They turned classrooms into dormitories, food pantries and shower facilities; hallways into kitchen prep stations and a dining area; and a meeting hall into a shrine room and central study space.

“Dehra Dun is green and peaceful, providing a cool break from city heat, and a chance to practice in a lush, serene environment. Our team worked harmoniously, providing opportunities for students to learn meditation, practice English, study the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, chant, and do pujas. Students established new friendships, shared tasks, played cricket, sang songs, and even danced. Our last night was a diksha, where two students became Buddhists, followed by a cultural evening, which included comedy and a kirtan.

“The primary goal of the NNBY is to establish a network of Buddhist friendships across India, and train up the next generation of young Buddhist leaders. I am satisfied that such connections were created on this retreat.

“Most of the retreatants were first-timers, and as the week came to a close they told me how much they had learned, how their meditation practice had deepened, how they'd made new friendships, and how much more confidence they felt after a week of supported practice.

“Myself, I leave feeling grateful for my deepening friendships with the team, and inspired by the energy, creativity, and curiosity of all the students. May this Sangha continue to thrive”.

You can check the NNBY’s new website on

They've also got an internet fundraising appeal going, seeking funds for their India-wide youth leaders training programme - you'll find full details on the appeal site.

Meanwhile, a thousand miles south, in Maharastra, there's ambitious plans afoot among the Amaravati sangha for a major Dhamma tour of rural areas this autumn, building in part on their own recent successful Youth Conference - we hope to bring you news of this tomorrow.

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 16, 2008

Connecting with Buddhist youth – in India, and beyond…

Kumarajiv from India sends us this report of the links TBMSG are building with Buddhist youth in India – and beyond… He concludes with a fundraising appeal – please do respond if you are able to…

“India’s National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY) is one of several projects that Dhammakranti have started. So far two national gatherings have been successfully organized. The groups of young men and women known as Task Groups are formed in various parts of India; these task groups organize trainings and events for the benefit of youth. Besides Dhamma teaching events they organise many activities that address the life concerns of youth. As well as this, leadership trainings are organized for leaders amongst the youth. Regional and national gatherings bring many of them together and keep the inspiration alive.

“I have been trying to get this Youth Network connected to other Buddhist youth organizations both East and West. Getting involved with the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY) has been a great step forwards for us; it is one of the important ways to reach out to the Far Eastern Buddhist world.

“Recently I was made a vice-president of the WFBY. In April its Executive Board meeting was held in Singapore and I visited along with one of our youth leaders. We are able to participate in a session on youth leadership training; I was amongst the teachers along with Dr. Ong See Yew and others. My special responsibility in the WFBY is as chairman of the Buddhist Education wing of WFBY; I am trying to bring in the approach of Sangharakshita and Dr. Ambedkar to Dhamma work as well as Information Technology and other things presently popular with youth.

“This visit was very successful in terms of meeting Dhamma teachers working amongst youth and young people from 9 different countries. Through such connections the NNBY back in India will be creating strong bonds with traditional Buddhist countries and will be able to share the essence of the Dhamma with the unique approach of Sangharakshita and Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

“Back in India we have great plans for 2008; we were recently fortunate to obtain a grant from the FWBO Growth Fund in UK. This will help us do most though not all of what we are hoping in 2008. However they have told us they will not be able to give anything in 2009 so we have an urgent need to fundraise – both to fulfill our vision for 2008 and for stability in the future.

"Please see our fundraising page; this gives more details on our five-point program for 2008 and also allows you to donate immediately. It is so important that we engage the youth of today in the Dhamma Revolution. You can help us in this. We are appealing for just over UK 4,000 pounds.

“Thank you. Dh. Kumarajiv

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Impressions from India – the second National Buddhist Youth Conference

Ann Dennehy is a mitra and English teacher from the FWBO’s San Francisco Buddhist Center. She sends us this report from India -

In December 2007 the National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY) held its second annual conference at TBMSG’s Bor Dharan retreat center, just outside Nagpur in central India. It was a gathering of the next generation of Buddhists from all over India, and was entirely student-led and organized, with just a little help from my friend, Dhammachari Kumarjeev, a leader of the TBMSG’s Dhammakranti project. 130 people attended the first conference in 2006, and this year there were 600 people. Next year they hope for even more! I was invited by Kumarjeev to attend as part of a team of 5 trainers to work alongside him, Subhuti, and a team of student leaders.

Each day consisted of meditation, dharma talks, various sessions (or "offerings" as we called them), pujas, and oh yes, delicious Indian food. Since I teach English I was there to offer English; basic conversation practice, grammar review, pronunciation improvement. I also met spontaneously with students one-on-one and in small groups as they approached me, offering specific language advice and encouragement. The other trainers offered sessions in NVC, drama, team-building games, aikido, study skills, time management, and many other activities.

As I spoke with students throughout the week I asked what they were enjoying - they spoke of the friendships they were making, how much they enjoyed Subhuti’s playfulness and his serious commitment to the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar and abolishing casteism in India, and all the practical skills they were learning from the different sessions. Some told me how they struggled with self-confidence, others how much their self-confidence has grown since last year's conference. I was very impressed by their sensitivity, their emotional clarity, and their honesty. In my sessions I noticed how eager students were both to learn and to play, how direct they were in asking for what they did and did not want from our time together, how supportive they were of one another's learning, and how rapidly they were able to absorb and apply new information. It was the most fun I have had in my 17 years of English teaching.

On the retreat myself I had good company in my roommate Sucitta and we fell asleep each night talking of India, and woke up giggling. I enjoyed so much my own deepening friendship with Kumarjeev and his family, the other trainers, the Indian Order Members, the student leaders, and the many many students I met during the week. I was in awe of Subhuti's clarity in teaching the dharma, in explaining the legacy of Dr. Ambedkar, and conveying the urgency of abolishing casteism once and for all in India. The students were completely engaged as he spoke, scribbling in their notebooks, laughing at his Bollywood filmstar references, following his chanting with vigour. I was enchanted watching the kitchen staff prepare lunch; the men stirring enormous pots of rice and vegetables, the women making chapattis for hours. I had fun dancing bhangra in the girls' dorm, polishing our nails, and painting our hands with henna. I was impressed by the concentration and mobile phone coordination of the student team and the way they built an extra dorm on site to house an unexpected 50 participants who arrived in the middle of the night. I was captivated by the art offerings that appeared each day; a multi-colored sand painting on the floor of the stupa of the Buddha, a detailed pencil drawing of Dr. Ambedkar, a relief made of mud, outdoor shrines that changed nightly.

I learned so much myself of Dr. Ambedkar's historic conversion 50 years ago, his commitment to ending the horrific caste system in Independent India, his devotion to his ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and his inspiration from the Buddha. All the Indians present, the majority of whom were Dalits and from the community once labelled "untouchable", have known the oppression of the caste system personally, and expressed such heartfelt appreciation for Dr. Ambedkar – yet seemed so optimistic, so joyful, so motivated by his example. Understanding the impact of Dr. Ambedkar is essential in understanding Buddhism and the TBMSG in India, and hence to what unifies our world-wide movement. I left the retreat wondering how I might share his legacy with the North American sangha.

I have never before received such gracious hospitality as I did on this retreat – it was continuous, from the red rose at the welcome ceremony, to the smiles and tiny flower buds offered throughout each day, to the songs, poems and garland at the New Year's puja on our last night, where about 50 people became mitras, and we all threw flower petals at midnight. It was all so gorgeous! The whole week was such an inspiration. I left feeling deeply moved by the spirit, creativity, and love of all the young people I met. They are so radiant, so dynamic, so energetic that I imagine them as beams of light shining out all across India, illuminating their own studies, illuminating their families, their peer groups, illuminating their sanghas, illuminating their entire community.

Jai Bhim!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1,200 people on retreat at Bodh Gaya

FWBO News is delighted to be able to finally present reports on the three major retreats recently organised by the Dhammakranti project. They estimate that around two thousand people have benefited from these events – all the more remarkable in that they were held in northern India, a thousand miles from TBMSG’s ‘homeland’ in Maharastra. This testifies to their increasing success in ‘breaking out’ and making effective contact with people from other castes and living in other States.

The retreats were held in Bodhgaya, Jalandhar and Haryana, and were followed by a north India Dhamma tour led by Subhuti. This report covers only the Bodh Gaya retreat – there’s more to come…

First came the International Dhammakranti retreat at Bodhgaya, which had as its theme “The life of the Buddha”. This was a five-day retreat attended by around 1200 people - men, women and children - from 16 states of India. Nagaketu, the retreat’s organiser, told FWBO News “It was very pleasing and satisfying for the participants to know Buddha in the place of Enlightenment of the Buddha. They could relate directly to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, they could see history revived before them”.

For four consecutive days special Pujas were arranged at the Mahabodhi Temple, with two being held right under the sacred Bodhi tree. The highlight and culmination of the retreat were the ‘Mitra Ceremonies’, simple ceremonies of commitment performed all over the FWBO and TBMSG, where more than 100 participants from different parts of India became Dhammamitras under the Bodhi tree on 16th Nov 07. As Nagaketu put it “These new Mitras accepted Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha as their highest ideals in their lives”.

Various cultural events adorned the retreat, such as ‘Kawwali’ songs (by a group from Lucknow), a mime show (by Varaprabha) and dramas and songs by children, plus special games & programs for the children. Finally, at the end of the retreat, a special pilgrimage tour was arranged to visit Sarnath, Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir, all places associated with life of Buddha and Buddhism.

The last word should go to Nagaketu, who told us “The participants were very positive & at their spiritual height. Thanks to the retreat they could experience a living example of a caste-free society and Buddhist community. Hence they gained more faith in the Three Jewels.”


Labels: , , ,

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dhamma teaching tour in Northern India

Subhuti and the Dhammakranti ‘outreach’ team have just finished a long and packed Dhamma teaching tour of Northern India. This followed immediately from the massive ‘Jumbo’ retreat at Bodh Gaya, which we hope to report on shortly – we are waiting for photos and some more eye-witness reports.

The tour began in Kusinagar, site of the Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana, with a public talk by Subhuti in the Shrine Hall of the monastery. .Maitriveer Nagarjun, one of the organizers of the Dhammakranti project, commented “The programme was especially wonderful due to the presence of 80 participants of the Dhammakranti Retreat, which had just finished”. Subhuti spoke here on the importance of ethics, or shila, in the creation of a just society. He commented that these days many people are aware of the name Buddha, but unaware of his teachings.

The following day saw a public talk in a small remote village near Kusinagar, where most of the local Buddhists were ‘Dalit’ followers of Dr. Ambedkar and, as such, leading lives typical of the millions of agricultural laborers in India – hand-to-mouth daily wages, illiterate, and poor. Subhuti spoke here of the disease of inequality and its roots in the Indian idea of Caste, which he described as being deeply rooted in the mind – meaning that liberation would come from training the mind to reach, instead, a state of equality and freedom. He explained also Dr. Ambedkar’s dream of a casteless society based on the Buddhist values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

From there the party traveled for three days 1,000 miles West, where the first ever Dhammakranti retreat was held in the Punjab, in a school run by some Mitras in the town of Phulpur. Some 90 people attended, the school was surrounded by green fields and silence, making it easy to deepen into the atmosphere of retreat. At the end a local school principal and others became Mitras in a ceremony to deepen their links with the Dhamma and our community. The retreat was specifically for new Buddhists, exploring ways they could effectively deepen their sense of Dhamma practice and spiritual community despite problems of isolation and remoteness.

From there to the neighboring state of Rajasthan, another first for Dhammakranti. Subhuti gave a public talk at Alwar, to an audience of Buddhists – many ‘born Buddhists’ whose communities had followed Dr. Ambedkar into Buddhism in the great conversions of 1956 – but who had had no instruction since, and who lived, tragically, in a state which topped the list of Indian caste-based atrocities. Subhuti exhorted his audience to bring into being the Buddhist ideal of a ‘Casteless People’ - to set the path for a casteless, peaceful, and just society for all, and celebrated the life of Dr. Ambedkar, whose life was devoted to just that.

After an evening meeting in Delhi, the party moved on to yet another first, the state of Haryana, 70 km east of Delhi, and another retreat, this time with over 150 people attending, both men and women. This retreat especially benefitted from there being people from many different States present - from Punjab, Rajasthan and U.P. (Uttar Pradesh). This retreat focused especially on meditation, as a system training bringing peace, and also as a potent agent for social transformation.

You can read a fuller account of the tour here. For the Dhammakranti team, life continues biusy - preparations are beginning for their second All-India Buddhist Youth Conference at Bor Dharan, our retreat centre near Nagpur, where more than 500 are expected.

Click here for a map of TBMSG groups in India.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

News from the frontline – in India…

The Nagarjuna Training Institute in India is the FWBO/TBMSG’s largest centre there. It runs ongoing year-long residential courses in Buddhism and social work, training up to sixty young men and women per year, from all over India. At the end of the years training they graduates may either stay on for a second year or return home. Many have done so, and in this way a widespread network of local groups across India affiliated to the TBMSG have sprung up all over India. Once home, the Nagarjuna graduates do what they can to spread the Dhamma given their need to earn money, help their family, and meet the many other demands of Indian life.

In April this year the FWBO Growth Fund gave money to support for a year twelve Nagarjuna graduates in five widely-separated Indian States – Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Rajasthan. The application was for funds to support twice as many, but as the FWBO Growth Fund is small and already over-subscribed six times over it was unable to assist!

Vivekaratna, Director of Nagarjuna, has recently sent us this report. Many other Dhamma projects are also going on across India, not least the recently-concluded and very successful Dhammakranti retreat at Bodh Gaya, which had 1,500 people attending - we hope to bring reports of these soon.

Jadumani conducted two seminars in Sumbalpur for college students on the Psychological Effects of Caste and Jaldhar & Panchanand supported him. Around 60 senior college students participated in both seminars. There is good team work among these three ex-trainees. They inspired people to participate in the recent Dhammakranti retreat at Bodhagaya – where five persons became Dhammamitras through their work.

Subhash, who was training till August 07, has now joined Binojbabu who had already started Dhamma work in Kollam district in Kerala. They have established a Dhamma centre in Mynagapally in Kolam distt – financed entirely by donations from local people. They are meeting individually and collectively with Ambedkarite activists from Kollam, Kottayam & Alapuzha (Alleppy) districts and conducting day retreats at the center and elsewhere. They organized a programme for Nagashuri & Saddhajyoti who visited last month – see report on FWBO News (forthcoming).

Subhash, Manimaran, and Ganesh organised a three days residential retreat at Villupuram in Central Tamilnadu. Vivekaratna led the retreat, which was on the Three Jewels, and 25 persons participated. They were very pleased because they managed to raise money locally to meet all the food expenditure of the retreat – and obtained the acconodation free of cost from a local charity. This is TBMSG’s first residential retreat in Tamilnadu. There is good teamwork between Subhash, Manimaran & Ganesh.

In September Satyam single-handedly organised a retreat in Gulbarga. 23 persons participated in the retreat, and Padmavir & Dhammadarshi led it. Once again, Satyam raised donations locally to meet the retreat expenditures. He is conducting regular dhamma activities, mostly working in Bijapur, Bider and Gulberga districts, as well as keeping regular contact with ex-trainees from Karnataka and encourging them to help in spreading the Dhamma.

Rambabu is working among the Meena community which is a tribal community. He is especially active in Bharatpur, Dhaulpur, Sawai Madhopur, and Alwar Districts. In addition he has regular interaction with Ambedkarite activists and gives lectures, leads Puja, and clarifies the doubts of the persons he meets. He is specifically emphasizing social transformation through Dr. Ambedkar’s thought – using Ambedkar’s emphasis on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity as Buddhist values for the transformation of society.

This is only a tiny glimpse of the many Dhamma and social projects the FWBO/TBMSG runs in India.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nagpur celebrates the 51st anniversary of the conversions; Dhammakranti joins in

The Dhammakranti team recently took time out from working on preparations for their big retreat in Bodh Gaya to attend the annual celebrations in Nagpur of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion to Buddhism in October 1956. This year was the 51st anniversary of the great conversion ceremony, and they organized the biggest stall ever to be seen at the Dikshabhumi (the ‘ground of conversion’) in Nagpur.

All the major TBMSG projects in Nagpur participated in the event – Dhammakranti itself, the Samata Mahila Society (a women’s project running a hostel for 80 girls as well as thirteen community centres in the Nagpur slums), Triratna Pustakalya (a TBMSG-run bookshop in central Nagpur), TBMSG Nagpur itself (general social and Dhamma work across Nagpur) and the Nagarjuna Training Institute (a major TBMSG teaching centre which runs year-long training courses for new Dhamma teachers from all over India on a beautiful campus on the outskirts of Nagpur).

Dhammakranti’s manager, Nagaketu, told FWBO News “Thousands of people visited the stall and purchased books on Buddhism and social change. We were also able to give information to thousands more on the coming International Dhammakranti retreat in Buddha Gaya and on the next training course on Buddhism and social work, which we are running at Nagaloka. This was the biggest stall organized by anybody ever in the history of the Dikshabhumi!”

Click here for further information on the Nagarjuna Training Institute.

Readers interested in the thought of Dr. Ambedkar are invited to read a selection of his quotations or his classic work, Annihilation of Caste. His Buddhist classic 'The Buddha and his Dhamma', published posthumously, is also available on-line.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dhammakranti retreat at Bodh Gaya - 1,500 booked and counting...

November 11th sees the start of the annual TBMSG ‘Dhammakranti’ retreat at Bodh Gaya. Nagaketu, the organiser, told FWBO News “So far 1500 people have booked for the retreat and in addition we are expecting at least another 1000 people”. All are welcome, from East and West, and people will be coming from many different castes and communities all over India - one aim of the retreat is to exemplify a ‘casteless society’ which is so necessary if Buddhism is to become truly established across India. The retreat will be held at the Nyingma Monlam monastery 1 mile from the Mahabodhi Temple and the program will include daily walking mediations to the Temple and within the temple grounds.

They are still appealing for funds to subsidise the attendance of very poor people who simply cannot afford the Rs.650 (UK £8) the retreat is costing. Donations are invited for the sponsoring of places, please contact FWBO News if you would like to give in this way. Payment is possible internationally via Paypal, and further details of the retreat are available from the Dhammakranti website.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dhamma activities in South and North India

A second FWBO/TBMSG centre has just opened in Kerala, south India. For some years Tejabhadra has been running a Buddhist centre in the capital city, Trivandrum (click here for details), he has now been joined by Binoj Babu and Dhammamitra Subhash. They are graduates of TBMSG’s Nagarjuna Training Institute and have founded the Abhayaloka Trust which is running activities in the seaside town of Kollam, further up the Keralan coast.

Visitors are welcome, and are asked to contact Subhash by email or phone (tel 0091 99478 00803) before arrival - or simply to go to Mynagappally village and ask for the Divya Building.

The Nagarjuna Training Institute is located in Nagpur on TBMSG’s Nagaloka site. The program is now in its fourth year and has begun to produce a stream of talented and energetic graduates, of both genders, from all over India; many have returned home and are working to spread the Dhamma in their local areas.

Next month will see a major retreat in Bodh Gaya (estimated attendance 3,000 people) followed by Subhuti’s annual Dhamma tour, this time in North India, organised as always by NTI graduates. This work is especially significant in that it represents the beginning of the Buddhist renaissance in India ‘breaking out’ of Maharastra and Dr. Ambedkar’s own community and beginning to contact a far wider cross-section of Indian society all over India.

The Dhammakranti project is appealing for funds to assist the work of contacting local Dalit and tribal people who have become interested in Buddhism but who cannot afford to attend retreats, please click here if you would like to contribute.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, October 13, 2007

International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya

FWBO News is happy to pass on this announcement and request from Nagaketu at our Dhammakranti team in India. Previous stories from this great project have included their Delhi symposium and their tour of South India late last year.

Dear friends,

We are very happy to inform you that we are organising the 6th International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya (in the State of Bihar, India) from 11th Nov. to 17th November 2007 at the Nyingma Monastery in Buddha Gaya. This is going to be the second and largest International Dhammakranti Retreat in Buddha Gaya organized by Dhammakranti Social Institute, TBMSG, India.

This is a good opportunity to be in the most holy place for Buddhists in the world. It is a rare opportunity to practice and learn the Dhamma with 3000 to 5000 people from India and the World.

These retreats have made a considerable impact throughout India – they give people from all castes and classes the opportunity to practice Dhamma together and form a Casteless society in the true sense. In India this is truly a precious opportunity.

This retreat is an opportunity for people to interact with others from all different caste and international backgrounds. We will meet everybody deeply enough, and in sufficient unity and harmony, that our biases towards seeing people as higher or lower than us will simply vanish.

Many people from very poor economic backgrounds, from many Indian states, are going to participate in the retreat. A donations scheme is being set up to assist many of them to attend, and this report is an appeal for donations – see the contact details below. Your donation will help hundreds of them to have this unique experience in their life.

Come and join this historic event to transform the Society, based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and fulfill the dream of Bodhisattva Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Dhammachari Subhuti will lead the Retreat, which will be on the theme of the Life of the Buddha.

The major attractions on the retreat are Meditation, Talks, Buddhist Rituals, Group Discussions & Buddhist Cultural activities.

We are expecting 200 Westerners and 100 Order Members (Dhammacharis) from India and Abroad.

Fees: for westerners 100 pounds uk/200 us dollars per person.

Book your place now and Contribute in reviving the Dhammachakra (Dhamma Revolution) in the World.

Let us participate in the Humanitarian Revolution to make an Equal Society for all.

To book, to make a donation, or for more details please contact us at:

Central office Nagpur: 0091-712-3241512 | e-mail | web site

Please pass this information on to as many people as possible.

Yours in the Dhamma,

Nagaketu, Ritayush, & Maitriveer Nagarjuna
Central Organizing Committee, FWBO/TBMSG Dhammakranti Social Institute, Nagpur, India.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mitraloka School of Languages launched in Nagpur

The Dhammakranti team have recently started the 'Mitraloka School of Languages' in the heart of the Nagpur City. They are teaching English and Japanese, and will soon be adding Chinese, German and Spanish classes.

In four different classes they have seventy students learning English and Japanese with many more on the waiting list. They told FWBO News they got a huge response to these classes because their School is the only Institute of its kind in central India - training people from very poor economical backgrounds in international languages. They are confident that having had the training, people will be much better placed to get jobs - Nagpur is rapidly becoming an international city with many multinational companies offering jobs for people trained in foreign languages. In some ways they are parelleling the development of the Aryaloka Computer Education, also in Nagpur, which has for some years been offering low-cost computer education to students in need.

Although the School is only three months old, due to the huge response and great need in Nagpur and in central India they are already thinking about expanding this project very soon.

Finally they have an appeal to make. Nagaketu, the Centre Director, says "We are looking for more teachers, especially in German, French, Spanish and Chinese. If anyone reading this is interested then please contact us!"

Labels: , ,