He was therefore vehemently critical of the hypocracies of Brahmanism. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar declared his firm resolve to change his religion in 1935 at Nasik district in Maharashtra “I was born a Hindu and I had no choice about that. But I will not die a Hindu”. THE NAGPUR DHAMMA DIKSHA : Ambedkar had been attracted towards Buddhism since his student days. On further study, he was convinced that the ‘untouchables’ could attain social equality and psychological liberation only through the teachings of Buddha.
He undertook a detailed study of the religion and met numerous Buddhist scholars. He was greatly influenced by the writings of P. L. Narasu and other Tamil Buddhists, and also of Mahatma Jotiba Phule, a nineteenth century radical social reformer of Maharashtra. Ambedkar claimed that he had three gurus the Buddha, Kabir and Jotiba Phule. He travelled to Ceylon and Burma to see Buddhism being practised in these countries. In the World Buddhist Brotherhood held at Rangoon (Burma) in 1954, Dr.
Babasaheb Ambedkar delivered a historic speech and gave a clarion call: it would be a grave error to suppose that Buddhism disappeared from India without leaving its influence on Indian people and their culture. Dr. Ambedkar had made a meticulous study of all the contemporary world religions for nearly twenty years, after which he came to the conclusion that if the world must have a religion, then it can only be the religion of the Buddha. The year 1956 marks the beginning of a new era for the revival of Buddhism in the land of its origin.
It was the year of the 2500th Buddha Jayanti and was celebrated all over the Buddhist world. Pandit Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, described this event as the “homecoming of Buddhism”. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar embraced Buddhism along with more than five lakh followers on the auspicious day of Ashoka Vijaya Dashmi (Dasera) on 14th October 1956. The oldest bhikkhu then in India, Mahasthavira Chandramani of Burma, came to Nagpur for the conversion ceremony, and initiated Ambedkar into Buddhism. The world witnessed this great event as an unprecedented phenomenon of mass conversion.
This historical event acknowledges Dr. Ambedkar as the greatest revivalist of Buddhism in modern times and enhances the importance of his thoughts and interpretation of Buddhism. Another huge ceremony was held in Bombay ten days after Ambedkar’s death in which Andhra Kausalyayana, a Pali scholar and Hindi speaking Punjabi Brahmana monk, initiated thousands to Buddhism. But these massive conversions mainly affected only low castes, particularly the Mahars of Maharashtra, the community of Ambedkar, who had been involved for decades in a battle for political, social and religious rights.
Their conversion, however, made the authority of ‘Babasaheb’ Ambedkar unquestioned for them. A few even refer to him as a ‘Second Buddha’ and describe the Nagapur Diksha as a new Dharma Chakra Pravartana. THE ‘BIBLE’ OF AMBEDKAR MOVEMENT : The chief vehicle for transmitting and interpreting the new faith of Ambedkar is his book The Buddha and his Dhamma. (Ambedkar, B. R. The Buddha and his Dhamma, Bombay 1974). It was written in English at the end of his life, published posthumously, and subsequently translated into Hindi and Marathi.
It is a rationalized biography of the Buddha and contains a selection from Buddhist Pali works. In it the events of Buddha’s life are narrated in free style. Ambedkar’s aim was to produce a ‘Bible’, and so it has been, and continues to be, for his followers. For many of those who can read, it is the only Buddhist text which they have read, and for most of those who are illiterate, it is the only one which they have heard, having been read aloud to them. In ‘The Buddha and his Dhamma’, Dr. Ambedkar gave a unique interpretation of Buddhism.
He had undertaken an in depth study and found the real teachings of Buddha. He substantiated his radical interpretation by presenting sermons and discourses of the Buddha delivered in various places. By his deep study of Buddhism, Dr. Ambedkar could bring out the original social message of Buddha. He was totally convinced by and extolled the teachings of the Buddha as the only panacea for the downtrodden and suffering masses, Ambedkar was fully convinced that the basic and ideal formation of our present society should be on the basis of Buddhism.
Ambedkar recalled that the Buddha had commanded the first batch of sixty disciples in the following words, “go ye forth, monks and wander, for the gain of many, for the welfare of the many, out of compassion, for the worlds, for the good, for the gain and for the welfare of gods and man. ” Dr. Ambedkar wanted to emphasize that Ahimsa and Peace were not the only messages given by Buddha to the humanity. He had also laid emphasis on equal opportunity to all, equal status for all (men and women), freedom of thought and universal brotherhood. Dr.
Ambedkar determines the authenticity of the Buddha’s teachings by the following criterion, “There is one test which is available. If there is anything which could be said with confidence, it is: He (the Buddha) was nothing if not rational, if not logical. Anything, therefore, which is rational and logical, other things being equal, may be taken to be the word of the Buddha. The second thing is that the Buddha never cared to enter into a discussion which was not profitable for man’s welfare. Therefore, anything attributed to the Buddha which did not relate to man’s welfare cannot be accepted to be the word of the Buddha”. (Ambdkar, B.
R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay, 1974, IV. V. 12. 4). Thus Dr. Ambedkar greatly emphasised on the above two characteristics of the Buddha’s teachings, their rationality on one hand, and their social message on the other. Ambedkar describes Buddha as “a reformer, full of the most earnest moral purpose and trained in all the intellectual culture of his time, who had the originality and the courage to put forth deliberately and with a knowledge of opposing views, the doctrine of a salvation to be found here, in this life, in inward change of heart to be brought about by the practice of self-culture and self-control”. Ambedkar, B. R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay, 1974, II. II. 7. 7). Dr. B. R. Ambedkar stated that Buddha was totally opposed to the Brahmanical belief of the infallibility of the Vedas. For to accept the infallibility of the Vedas meant complete denial of freedom of thought, to know the truth, one has to enjoy the freedom of thought. He also rejected the rituals and sacrifices. According to Dr. Ambedkar, Brahmanism propagated graded inequality, in the form of the ‘Chaturvarna’ or the four fold caste system, dividing the society into Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.
The Shudras and women were fully denied human rights, like the right to education, the ultimate means for achieving freedom. These were the reasons why the Buddha rejected Brahmanism, where as his Dhamma teaches the right relationship between man and man in all spheres of life. AMBEDKAR’s POINTS OF DEPARTURE FROM TRADITIONAL BUDDHISM : Ambedkar introduced a number of innovations in traditional Buddhism. These deviations or innovations may not be regarded as isolated phenomena.
Fresh views on the Buddhist social ethics have been expressed in other countries of South and South-East Asia also, though evidently in Ambedkar’s Buddhism, the degree of divergence from traditional doctrine is much greater. Thus Ambedkar and his views can be seen as a part of a larger phenomenon of ‘modernisation’ of Buddhism in Asia. 1. The ‘rationalism’ of the Buddha serves chiefly, in Ambedkar’s Buddhism, to deny the existence of God and ‘atman’ whereas Buddha maintained silence on these questions, Ambedkar was very vocal and explicit on this question.
According to Ambedkar there is no God who created from his body the four varnas (as opposed to Purusha Sukta of Rig Veda), and there is no atman to transmigrate and visit the sins of one life upon the next. Ambedkar wrote about Buddha’s first sermon, “He began by saying that his Dhamma had nothing to do with God and soul. His Dhamma had nothing to do with life after death”. (Ambedkar, B. R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay 1974, II. II. 2. 14). Thus, according to Ambedkar, along with rationality and egalitarianism, ‘atheism’ is an important element of Buddhism. . Ambedkar’s rejection of the existence of atman led him to the rejection of ‘belief in Samsara, i. e. , transmigration of the soul’, ‘belief in moksha or salvation of the soul’, and ‘belief in Karma (as) the determination of man’s position in present life’. (Ambedkar, B. R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay 1974, I. VII. 1. 1). 3. Ambedkar interpreted the traditional Buddhist concept of ‘dukkha’ or ‘sorrow and suffering in the world’ as a social phenomenon. According to Ambedkar, ‘Man’s misery is the result of man’s inequity to man’. (Ambedkar, B.
R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay 1974, III. V. 2. 16). 4. Ambedkar gives a new account of the Mahabhinishkramana (Great Renunciation) of Gautama Siddhartha. According to him the cause for Gautama’s renunciation of his princely life were not the traditional Four sights. Instead, he suggests that the renunciation was the result of Gautama’s refusal to support a Sakya military action against the Koliya tribe in a feud over water rights. Siddhartha went into voluntary exile as a parivrajaka as he was determined not to participate in war.
Ambedkar probably derived the idea for this interpretation of Mahabhinishkramana from the writing of Dharmanand Kosambi, who in his ‘Bhagavan Buddha’ published originally in 1940, had criticised the credibility of the story of the Four Sights and had turned to the Rohini water dispute that is described in the Kunala Jataka, in which the Buddha intercedes and recites the Attadanda Sutta decrying conflict and the use of force. 5. Ambedkar played down the role of Sangha in the history of Buddhism.
According to him the difference between upasakas (lay-worshippears) and bhikkhus (monks) as to initiation of diksha turned out to be a grievous one “Sangha-Diksha included both, initiation into the sangha as well as into the Dhamma. But there was no separate Dhamma-Diksha for those who wanted to be initiated into the Dhamma, but did not wish to become members of the sangha. — This was a grave omission. It was one of the causes which ultimately led to the downfall of Buddhism in India”. Ambedkar, B. R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, Bombay 1974, V. IV. 1. 10-12). To amend this ‘grave omission’ Ambedkar invented the Dhamma-Diksha ceremony for the laity. He publicly expressed the opinion that the majority of modern bhikkhus had ‘neither learning nor service in them’, and urged monks to follow the example of Christian missionaries to reach the masses. 6. According to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, India’s aboriginal stock had common ethnic roots which he identified as Naga. Dr.
Ambedkar pointed out in his conversion speech that Nagas were the chief propagators, who “spread the teachings of Bhagavan Buddha all over India”. The Koliyas, to whom Siddartha was related on his mother’s side, belonged to this ethnic stock. So the Nagas were connected to the Dhamma’s origins through blood, and were instrumental in its spread. Many of his followers see a symbolic significance in the choice of Nagpur, city of the Nagas, for the mass conversion of 1956. 7. The inclusion of ‘Babasaheb’ ambedkar as object of reverence is the most visible innovation adopted by his followers.
Though Ambedkar is not worshipped as a God, but on every special occasion, his figure is garlanded after Gautam Buddha’s, incense is burnt, and Bhagwan Gautama Buddha and Paramapujya Babasaheb Ambedkar are addressed before any speech is delivered. Ambedkar is regarded as a Bodhisattva by some of his followers in recognition of his role as the saviour of modern Indian converts to Buddhism. Another way of honouring Ambedkar, is to include his name in the list of refuges i. e. , ‘Bhimam Sarvam gachchhami’, ‘I go for refuge to Bhimrao’ (Zelliot, Eleanor, op. ity P. 144) – thus the ‘Three Jewels’ becoming four. 8. The Buildings dedicated to the Buddhist religion of Ambedkar’s movement are not called temples or ‘mandira’, but ‘viharas’. The Buddhist ‘viharas’ were originally living quarters for the monks. But these ‘viharas’ are places where Buddha’s images are kept, and the community can gather for lectures on Buddhism or for ‘vandana’ or songs. For the Ambedkarian Buddhists, the vihara serves mainly as a community centre (Zelliot, Eleanor, op. Cit. ,P. 146). 9.
In 1956, when Ambedkar and his followers converted to Buddhism, there were very few Buddhist bhikkus in India, and none of them had Marathi as mother tongue. So in the beginning, Ambedkarian Buddhism was propagated by his Republican Party. However, soon, deeply influenced by Ambedkar, young Marathi leaders arose at the local level. The only Maharashtrian center for the training of bikkhus is that at Nagpur, where Bhadanta Ananda Kausalyayana built in 1970, a home and training center for Buddhist bhikkhus, on the same grounds where the 1956 mass conversion had taken place. 10.
The followers of Ambedkar celebrate four great occasions – Dhamma Diksha Day, Buddha Jayanti, Ambedkar’s Death Memorial Day, and Ambedkar Jayanti. ASSESSMENT OF THE MOVEMENT : The innovations in Ambedkar’s Buddhist movement represent those elements in the past of the Buddhists that are important for their present progress: the exemplary work of Ambedkar himself, their social unity in the face of continued prejudice and their rejection of Hinduism as a religion of inequality. There is some retention of Hindu or traditional Indian customs – the ‘guru’ idea, the public processions, and the days honouring the birth and death of great men.
Along with this amalgam of traditional Buddhism, the Mahar past, and the socio-religious practices of Hindu society in general, the Buddhist followers of Ambedkar have made some innovations on their own. The multi-purpose viharas and the initiative and responsibility of the lay leaders The innovations in Ambedkar’s Buddhist movement represent those elements in the past of the Buddhists that are important for their present progress: the exemplary work of Ambedkar himself, their social unity in the face of continued prejudice and their rejection of Hinduism as a religion of inequality.
There is some retention of Hindu or traditional Indian customs – the ‘guru’ idea, the public processions, and the days honouring the birth and death of great men. Along with this amalgam of traditional Buddhism, the Mahar spast, and the socio-religious practices of Hindu society in general, the Buddhist followers of Ambedkar are the most striking of these. (Zelliot, Eleanor, p. 150-51). Thus Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s conversion to Budhdism on 14th October, 1956 with his lakhs of followers was indeed an epoch-making istorical event. Not only did it become a culminating point in his personal life, but it created for him a permanent place in the modern history of social and cultural transformation in India, and in the world at large. For nearly three decades Dr. Ambedkar had studied the comparative philosophical doctrines of different religions. He ultimately reached the conclusion that it was the philosophy of the Buddha that commanded permanent relevance to human society.
He interpreted Buddhism in his own unique way so as to make it more relevant in the context of ever changing human society. REFERENCE BOOKS: 1 Ambedkar, B. R. , The Buddha and His Dhamma, 1974 2 Goyal, S R, Buddhism in Indian History and Culture, 2004 3 Basham, A L, The wonder that was India, 1998 4 Mungekar, Bhalchandra, Buddhism and the Contemporary World- An Ambedkarian Perspective,2007 5 Jaini, S Padmanabh, Collected Papers on Buddhist Studies, 2001 6 Bapat, P V, 2500 Years of Buddhism,1964
Criminal Justice Bar and Pie Graph Discussion
1.) Locate the descriptions and different pie charts/bar graphs on p. 279-280 of the book. Preview each of these items and then briefly tell us which of these graphics you find easier to read and why. Within your discussion, interpret (describe) one of the numbers shown on the chart/graph. This means, explain what that number means in relation to that graph. For example, if the number shown is 23%, then you state, “According to the graph, 23% of the crime committed in the year 2015 took place in the victims home.” Again, tell us which graphic you find easier to read and understand, and then provide us with a statistic from that graphic.
2.) Go to the google search engine and locate a picture of a pie chart or bar graph that showing anything to do with crime or criminal justice. You will then describe that chart/graph to the class.
a. First, click on the IMAGES tab in the google search bar. That way, you only get images and not full articles.
b. Type in a specific type of crime or CJ related item (e.g. prisons, court, etc.)
c. Either COPY and PASTE that graph/chart directly into your discussion post, or FILE then SAVE AS the picture and upload it into your post.
d. Lastly, Describe/INTERPRET at least FOUR (4) different items on your particular graph. You can describe anything you would like, but the information must pertain to the graph.