Conversions at Sarnath

Manidhamma, an Indian Order Member living in UK and studying on the Dharma-Dhuta course in Birmingham, tells us that fourteen people from different castes were converted to Buddhism at Sarnath on 31st December. Sarnath is where the Buddha first taught the Dharma to his five first disciples, and is also where the FWBO/TBMSG owns a large piece of land (shown in photo) due eventually to become the Dhammaloka International Centre for Buddhist Learning.

Dharmachari Bodhisagar, chairman of the Dhammaloka Trust, administered the refuges and five precepts along with Dr. Ambedkar’s 22 vows in a beautiful ceremony. The ceremony was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the conversions to Buddhism initiated by Dr B R Ambedkar in 1956. The ceremony was held during Dhammaloka’s 4th annual retreat, Dhammaloka having been started in 2002. Since then, it has been running annual retreats, lectures and special Dharma study retreats, as well as publishing books and translations. On this occasion, Dharmachari Ashvajit gave a speech to welcome new converts and gave his blessings. Ashvajit, who is visiting from the UK, is also in Sarnath to give a lecture entitled ‘Buddhism and Globalisation’ on the 1st January. This will take place on the land where the Dhammaloka International Centre for Buddhist Studies is currently being developed. Dharmacharies Manidhamma, Vivekamitra and Shantighosh organised these events. SADHU.

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