Ambedkar and Buddhism
On the morning of 14 October 1956, at a mass rally in the Indian town of Nagpur, four hundred thousand men and women turned their backs on a millennium of degradation and slavery. Finally renouncing Hinduism, with its cruel system of 'graded inequality', they turned instead to Buddhism, in search of dignity, hope, and a path to self-improvement. Over the coming months, Hindu India shook as hundreds of thousands more followed their example, and as the Buddha Dhamma came back to life in the land of its birth.
The man solely responsible for this historic revival was Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar; lawyer, politician, and educationalist; India's first Law Minister, chief architect of her Constitution - and lifelong champion of her downtrodden millions.
Born an 'Untouchable' in village India, where he was deemed unfit to drink water from public wells, or to sit with children from 'higher caste' families in the classroom, Ambedkar's entire career was to become nothing less than an outright challenge to the beliefs and conventions of his society.
Now, as that career neared its end, he was embarking on the most controversial and potentially revolutionary step of all, leading his people away from Hinduism to the 'promised land' of Buddhism...
Writer, teacher, and founder of a worldwide Buddhist movement, Sangharakshita is a leading figure in the modern Buddhist world. He knew Ambedkar personally, and has himself played an important part in the 'Mass Conversion Movement' that Ambedkar set in motion. In this book he explores the historical, religious, and social background to that movement, and assesses the considerable contribution made by Ambedkar to the spiritual tradition in which he placed his trust.
The Significance of Ambedkar
The Hell of Caste
Milestones on the Road to Conversion
The Search for Roots
Thinking about Buddhism
The Great Mass Conversion
'The Buddha and His Dhamma'