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08/06/13
1003 LESSON 07-08-2013 WEDNESDAY FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY run through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org [Flag of Hungary] Indonesian Dhamma Citta: Tipitaka-Kanon Pali
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1002 LESSON 06-08-2013 TUESDAY FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY run through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org [Flag of Hungary] Hungarian A Buddha Ujja (”The Finger of the Buddha”) (Gambhiro Bhikkhu) offers a large collection of Pali suttas in Hungarian, articles and videos by and about major teachers from the Thai forest traditions, and links to Hungarian Buddhist communities and websites. VOICE OF SARVA SAMAJ SADBHAVAN Mayawati accuses Akilesh of running a ‘goondaraj’ in Uttar Pradesh
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1002 LESSON 06-08-2013 TUESDAY 

FREE ONLINE  eNālāndā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY 
run through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org 


[Flag of Hungary] Hungarian
A Buddha Ujja (”The Finger of the Buddha”) (Gambhiro Bhikkhu)
offers a large collection of Pali suttas in Hungarian, articles and
videos by and about major teachers from the Thai forest traditions, and
links to Hungarian Buddhist communities and websites.

FREE ONLINE eNālāndā  Research and Practice UNIVERSITY is with

1)  Schools of International Relations and Peace Studies;

2)  School of Business
Management and Development Studies;

3)  School of Information Sciences and
Technology;

4)  School of Historical Studies;

5)  School of Buddhist Studies,
Philosophy and Comparative Religion;

6)  School of Languages and Literature;
and

7)  School of Ecology and Environmental Studies.


This FREE University is a model for evolving a
happy, prosperous and peaceful society in our planet which is an
evolution of Awakened with Awareness Citizen.

The education here is with a
value system, religion transforming into spirituality and economic
development for societal transformation. It advises the Government to
supply health seeds with land to the tiller and proper irrigation. To
give government loans to the youth of the country to start-up small
enterprise and to see the government servants do efficient duty for the
good governance without corruption. Thus this mission of Unity of Minds
has started gaining momentum all over the world.

FREE ONLINE eNālāndā   Research and Practice UNIVERSITY is a facilitator of partnership of countries all over the world.

FREE ONLINE eNālāndā  Research and Practice UNIVERSITY is with
Schools of International Relations and Peace Studies; School of Business
Management and Development Studies; School of Information Sciences and
Technology; School of Historical Studies; School of Buddhist Studies,
Philosophy and Comparative Religion; School of Languages and Literature;
and School of Ecology and Environmental Studies.

FREE ONLINE eNālāndā   Research and Practice UNIVERSITY will work
with Harvard or Cambridge located in Asia with an Asian cover page.
Asian intellectuals can go to the West to obtain their PhDs to gain
recognition back home, and in return they can churn out western ideas
and theories, especially in humanities, economics, healthcare,

environmental and developmental studies, with critically examining it
which is not “anti-western” with hopes that the revived N?l?nd?
University would be able to start this process of “Awakening with
Awareness” of the mind.

1)  Schools of International Relations and Peace Studies;

VOICE OF SARVA SAMAJ SADBHAVAN


Mayawati accuses Akilesh of running a ‘goondaraj’ in Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi, Aug. 5 (ANI): Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Monday condemned the suspension
order handed out to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Durga
Shakti Nagpal and said that a ‘goondaraj’ was prevailing in the state.

Mayawati
said that the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP)- led Uttar Pradesh government
had no control over the law and order situation in the state.

“It
has become clear now that in Uttar Pradesh instead of law and order
authorities ruling the state, the mafia and goondas are ruling the
state. The present state government has failed on all fronts including
development. However, they have completely failed on the law and order
front. The ruling government is also realizing that they cannot do
anything about the law order situation. The rate of crime has become
extremely high, as a result of the failure of the ruling state
government,” Mayawati told the media today.

Reiterating her stand
that Nagpal’s suspension was an act of complete unfairness, Mayawati
said that the Uttar Pradesh government was using the young female
officer as a scapegoat due to the strong stance that she had taken
against the sand mafia.

“It seems to me that in the case of this
female officer, there has been complete injustice. …As I have said
earlier, Durga Shakti Nagpal has been a victim at the hands of the state
government because of the good work she was doing against the sand
mafia. The suspension stands proof to the fact that any honest and
sincere officer cannot work without difficulty in Uttar Pradesh,”
Mayawati said.

Mayawati urged the Uttar Pradesh Governor and the
Central Government to intervene in the matter and said that she welcomes
the assurance given this morning by the Prime Minister regarding Durga
Shakti Nagpal .

Speaking to the media outside the Parliament
House on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh broke his silence on the U.P. IAS officer’s
suspension.

“There are rules laid down and the rules will be
followed. And we are in touch with the state government to find out the
full details of the case,” Dr. Singh told the media .

According
to media reports, the Centre has sent three letters to Akhilesh Yadav’s
Uttar Pradesh government asking for a report on the IAS officer’s
suspension.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh
Yadav has maintained his stand on the suspension and defended the order
on Monday.

“If an official makes a mistake then the government punishes the official. This is the way government works,” Yadav said .

According
to reports, a copy of the chargesheet along with a report has been sent
to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) at the Centre.

The
Samajwadi Party government’s 10-page chargesheet accuses Nagpal of
violating norms while ordering the demolition of the wall of a mosque
built illegally on government land at Gautam Budh Nagar in Greater
Noida.

The chargesheet came a day after Congress President Sonia
Gandhi wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, asking him to ensure that
the suspended bureaucrat is treated fairly.

The Congress Party
yesterday hit out at the Samajwadi Party for attacking Sonia Gandhi for
her support to Nagpal, and said the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh is
trying to hide what is essentially a case of corruption and illegal
mining.

Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit also dismissed
Samajwadi Party’s comments that Gandhi should also write a letter in
support of Ashok Khemka, the Haryana IAS officer who had scrapped her
son-in-law Robert Vadra’s controversial land deals and was transferred.

Nagpal
was suspended ostensibly for taking on the sand mafia and a
charge-sheet was issued to her ‘for ordering the demolition of a wall of
a mosque that was being built on government land’ in the state’s Gautam
Buddh Nagar District, where she was posted as Sub-Divisional
Magistrate.

According to reports, the 2009-batch IAS officer had
seized nearly 300 trolleys of sand being illegally mined from the Yamuna
river bed. (ANI)


http://ibc.ac.th/en/programs/PhD




You are here


Ph.D. Buddhist Studies (International Program)

Ph.D.
(Buddhist Studies) is an international program offered in Chinese and
English medium. It is a 48-credit program with the minimum duration of 5
semester and the maximum duration of 5 years. The basic philosophy of
the doctoral degree in Buddhist Studies rests on the premise that
graduates of the program will serve humanity in their useful employment
as ethically upright professionals in the academic field or
Buddhist-based welfare organizations and benevolent societies. The
minimal entry qualification is a M.A. degree in any discipline
(preferably with background knowledge or concentrations or experience in
Buddhadharma studies or work).

Those who are interested in the program may download the curriculum or program details attached below and/or email enquire@ibc.ac.th for further inquiries.

Rationale of the Programme

This world is economically and technologically driven. In the
increasingly materialistic world, there is a growing realization of the
need and demand to strike for a balance in spiritual and physical
growth. In this scientifically and information-driven world,
conventional religious teachings, religious dogma and blind faith no
longer command the level of attention and respect as in the past if they
do not tie in with the latest in scientific development and findings.
Buddhism, the only religion in the world that has withstood the
challenges of science time and time again, has gained popularity and
faith worldwide in solving human conflicts of both internal and external
nature. The appeal of Buddhism keeps rising globally and there
follows an ever-increasing demand for properly trained Buddhists to help
transmit the teachings in the right way. There is an apparent shortage
of Buddhist institutions of learning and trained professionals to match
this growing demand.

Thailand is one of the few countries in the world where there are
Buddhist universities established solely to train Buddhist professionals
among the monks, nuns and laity, to promote Buddhist teachings and
offer degrees in Buddhist studies. International Buddhist College is
just about the only one existing Buddhist College in Thailand that
offers graduate and post-graduate programs in Buddhist Studies in two
languages, English and Chinese language, the two languages spoken by
more than 75% of the world population. The choice of the two
international languages for teaching and communicating teachings of
Buddha at IBC is significant in that IBC aims to extend the
peace-embracing Buddhist teachings and philosophy to the biggest
possible proportion of the world population, for it operates on the
motto, ‘for the good of many’, the very reason Buddha commenced and
tirelessly expounded his teachings for forty-five years until his
Parinirvana.

In their drive to cure the world’s ills, Buddhist organizations
continue to grow and expand. These include Buddhist institutions of
learning, welfare and benevolent organizations, in addition to the
growing number of nunneries and monasteries established worldwide.
These institutions need the service of Buddhist-trained and educated
professionals in management and other levels. Academic institutions, in
particular, need more doctoral graduates to fill in the professional,
teaching, managerial and planning posts. IBC therefore proposes to run
and operate the doctoral program in Buddhist Studies to produce the
right professionals to meet this demand in the market.

Philosophy of the Programme

The basic philosophy of the doctoral degree in Buddhist Studies rests
on the premise that graduates of the program will serve humanity in
their useful employment as ethically upright professionals in the
academic field or Buddhist-based welfare organizations and benevolent
society or as Buddhist missionaries.

They should be able to :

  • Instruct students at the Bachelor’s level, Master’s level, as
    well as the Doctor’s level in Buddhist studies of all major traditions.
  • Conduct research in Buddhist studies and related fields;
  • Be effective missionaries in the increasingly complex and demanding world.
  • Be ambassadors of world peace wherever they serve.

Admission Requirements

  1. Educational qualification: Holders of Master’s degree or equivalent, with good academic records
    (GPA of 3.5 or higher);
  2. Academic background: Academic background in Buddhist Studies or other
    related fields is not absolutely essential but is an asset. Similarly, some
    working knowledge of Buddhist scriptural or text languages such as Pali,
    Sanskrit, Chinese or Japanese helps.
  3. Language requirement: Proficiency in the English language as indicated by
    a TOEFL score of at least 550 or equivalent score of an acceptable test is
    required for those who intend to take the program in English. An
    equivalent proficiency in Chinese language is essential for those intending
    to do the program in Chinese. Graduate Studies Committee for the Ph. D.
    Program may consider and waive this requirement for applicants who
    graduated from tertiary institutions where the teaching medium is either
    English or Chinese.
  4. Applicants will be called for interviews and to sit for entrance qualifying
    examinations.
  5. Candidates who do not meet all the above requirements in some
    exceptional circumstances (such as candidates with extensive work or
    research experience in related areas) will also be considered by the
    Graduate Studies Committee for the Ph. D. Program.

Required Application Documents

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A copy of the official transcript of the applicant’s previous university studies.
  3. A photocopy of identification document such as a passport.
  4. Two recommendation letters from the two referees who are unrelated
    to one another, or any persons who are able to evaluate the candidate’s
    academic and professional performance.
  5. Two passport size photographs taken not more than six months prior to application.
  6. All applicants of the Ph D Program in Buddhist Studies are required
    to submit an outline of their area of research interest that they would
    like to develop and pursue as a Ph D thesis research project. See the
    attached file for guidelines (Doctor of Philosophy Program in Buddhist Studies.pdf).

All the documents mentioned above should be mailed to the address below. You can also email them first to enquire@ibc.ac.th.

Graduate School of Buddhist Studies
International Buddhist College
88, Mu2, Thung Mo Subdistrict
Khuan Sato, Amphoe Sadao
Songkhla 90240, Thailand

Application and other forms may be downloaded from the site http://ibc.ac.th/en/admission/enrollment

Application Fee

The fee is 500 Thai Baht and should be paid when submitting the
application form. Payment by postal order or bank draft (payable to
International Buddhist College) is acceptable.

Application Deadline

Applications are received all year round but the selection is made
three times a year for entry at the first (July) or second (November) or
the summer (April/May) semesters of each academic year. For those who
intend to begin the program in the July, November or April/May
semesters, the deadlines for receipt of the application are 30th June,
30th October or 10th April respectively.

Interview and Entrance Qualifying Examination

Applicants who have satisfied the basic requirements will be called
for interview and may be requested to sit for entrance qualifying
examination. The interview will be conducted in English or Chinese
language by a minimum of three faculty members.

The selection process will be conducted three times a year for the
intakes in the first, second and summer semesters of the academic year
that begin in July, November and April/May respectively.

http://cerf-institute.org/2012/10/29/european-dalits-the-role-of-buddhism-in-social-integration-of-young-roma-in-hungary/

EUROPEAN UNTOUCHABLES(SC/STS): The role of Buddhism in social integration of young Roma in Hungary


29
10
2012

Untouchables(SC/STs) are members of the lowest strata of Indian caste
system. Due to their caste identity SC/STs regularly face discrimination
and violence which prevent them from enjoying the basic human rights
and dignity promised to all citizens of India. Although
modern Indian Constitution adopted in 1949 prohibits caste based discrimination,
tradition of caste based segregation is still alive today especially in
rural areas of India. This problem is well known and much discussed.
What is not known is that similar social ostracism exist in today’s
Europe against Roma (Gypsy) population in East and Central Europe.

Roma, also called Romani or in English-speaking word Gypsies,
are an ethnic group living mostly in Europe, who trace their origins to
the Indian Subcontinent. Roma people arrived to
Europe approximately 1.000 years ago. Many theories exist about
the reason of their exodus, but none of them are verified. Persecuted
throughout history by Byzantine Empire, Habsburg Monarchy, subjected to
genocide by Nazis in World War II, their hardships lasts until today.

Amnesty International reports continued instances
of Anti-Roma discrimination during the 20th Century, particularly in
Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania,
Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Kosovo.

While visiting India in 2006, Janos Orsos, member of Roma
community in Hungary, learned about the role of Buddhism in social
integration of Indian  SC/ST population. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891 –
1956), popularly also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist,
political leader, philosopher, anthropologist, historian, orator,
economist, teacher, and editor. Born into a poor Untouchable caste
family, Ambedkar campaigned against social discrimination and the Hindu
caste system. He returned back to Buddhism and is also credited with
providing a spark for the transformation of hundreds of thousands
of SC/STs or untouchables to Theravada Buddhism. Janos Orsos likened the
position of Indian SC/STs to position of his Roma people in Hungary and
decided to follow dr. Ambedkar’s example.

Janos Orsos, President of Hungarian Jai Bhim Buddhist community, tells of his life and struggles as a European Untouchable:

I
am a Gypsy. I was born and brought up in Hungary, but I do not consider
myself a Hungarian – I am a Gypsy. Let me explain what that means. Many
people think that Gypsies are nomadic, but the great majority of
Gypsies in Eastern Europe are settled. They live mainly in villages, but
right on the edge, in segregated streets. Hungary is a western country,
viewed from the third world, but the Gypsies here live like people in
the third world. They live in streets or neighborhoods where there is no
tap water, no street lighting, no sewage – but if you go just a
few meters away to the non-gypsy streets next to them you will find all
these facilities.

In the Western world people speak a lot about poverty in India or
poverty in the third world, but they don’t notice that the third world
is next door to them. I went to India twice and I saw the situation of
‘untouchables’ in India and I can say that our social position in East
Europe is exactly the same – not better, not worse. From the Gypsy point
of view, Hungarian democracy is not really democracy because our
segregation means that we have no voice. That is why I call myself a
Gypsy and not a Hungarian – when I say Hungarian after this I mean the
non-gypsy citizens of this country.

In
Hungary, Gypsies are said to be about 7% of the population: maybe
700,000 out of ten million. What people will say a Gypsy is depends on
who is speaking. The word ‘Gypsy’ in my language (which is Bayash, a
form of Romanian spoken by about 20% of Gypsies in Hungary) simply means
‘man’, ‘human being’. For me ‘Gypsy’ means my family, my neighborhood 
my people. I remember the Gypsy street where I was brought up with very
good feelings. I spent my first 26 years in a very, very poor Gypsy
street, maybe one of the poorest in Hungary, but it felt good to live
there.

Nonetheless, outside our own neighborhoods to be a Gypsy in Hungary
means humiliation. It means fighting to live up to the expectations of
society, struggling two or three times harder than Hungarian people. In
schools we must work three times as hard as Hungarian people – but in
the end we cannot get proper education or work. The educational system
is not for us, it is not a service made or organised for us, books are
not for us. The jobs intended for poor people are effectively reserved
for gypsies.

People can tell I’m a Gypsy just by looking at me, because I am
darker skinned than other people. Gypsies are not white. When I go out
in public, people look at me, stare at me. When I take a bus or go on
the metro, I always have space around me. I feel very uncomfortable
because people don’t want to come near me. I’m a Hungarian citizen but
everyone can see the difference between a Hungarian face and my face.

I am a citizen of Hungary, but in India people think that I am
Indian. It is difficult for me in India because people address me in
Marathi. When they see I don’t understand, they address me in Hindi.
When they realize I don’t understand that, they ask me in English what
language I normally speak. They don’t know where Hungary is and so I
tell them I am European. In a crowded railway carriage people look from
the other side of the carriage and ask me if it is bad for me to travel
with them in this compartment because I am European! That is very ironic
for me.

When we go to Western Europe we don’t have this feeling of
discrimination. I have been twice to England and to France and Belgium –
everyone in those countries thinks that I am Indian. It is not very
socially prestigious, I know, but much more so than being Gypsy in
Hungary. In Central Europe everyone knows I am Gypsy.

What do Hungarian people think about Gypsies? For a Hungarian,
‘Gypsy’ means stealing, telling lies, cheating, smelling, being dirty.
That is why people don’t approach me in a crowded metro. That is why I
can’t have a proper job – because I steal. We can’t learn properly, they
think, because we have less mental capacity than white people. There
are scientific papers that try to prove that Gypsies are different from
‘normal’ people. The fact that they steal and tell lies is genetic and
they brought it from India. If you go to bookshops here in Hungary you
can find many ’scientific’ books about the genetic inferiority of
Gypsies still published today.

I
say that we cannot get proper education. Hungarian people assert that
we have the same right to proper education as they have. They are
correct, we have that right. However, it is only a right in theory, not a
reality. For a start, 25% of Gypsy children are considered mentally
subnormal. Among Hungarians it is only 2%. If you visit any special
school for mentally handicapped children in Hungary you will usually
find that all the students are gypsies. The World Health Organisation
reports that worldwide on average no more than 3% of the population is
mentally handicapped. Yet in our gypsy ethnic group it is 25%. People
accept the findings of modern science in every area of modern life – why
is it that they accept such crazy pseudo-science?

There are economic reasons behind these statistics. The state
provides double funding to schools for mentally handicapped children, so
the more there are, the better financed the school will be. It is very
easy then for the school to segregate the Gypsy children. They are
usually taught in a separate part of the school, in smaller, less
well-maintained classrooms. They eat separately. They have a different
timetable of classes and breaks in the day to avoid them mixing with the
Hungarians. Not only those considered handicapped are segregated. Gypsy
children are segregated in the majority of Hungarian schools, whether
mentally handicapped or not. So there are three sets of classes: normal,
Gypsy normal, mentally handicapped, which means mainly Gypsies. Class A
is for Hungarians, with normal text books and curriculum, Class B has
the same text books and curriculum and is for normal Gypsies, Class C is
for the subnormal with a special curriculum and text books and it is
mainly for Gypsies.

So what happens to the extra money given to the schools by the state
for the mentally handicapped children? You can easily see how the money
is spent – it is spent on the Hungarians. They have better buildings and
equipment. With the extra money given effectively for Gypsies, since
they make up the overwhelming majority of the mentally handicapped, they
renovate buildings for Hungarian pupils and they invest in IT
equipment, language training etc. Gypsies, whether mentally handicapped
or not, never see any of this money spent on them.

These economic facts are reflected in the results. In Hungary, 70% of
all youngsters pass secondary school leaving exams, which are important
for going on to higher education. Amongst Gypsy youth the figure is
between 5 or 7%, depending on whether we look at the countryside or the
towns. And this is a big improvement: ten or twenty years ago it was
just 1%. However, I am not sure that these more recent statistics are
correct. I work in a number of villages and towns where Gypsies are very
numerous. In none of these is the percentage more than one – and in one
or two cases there is not a single Gypsy with a secondary school
leaving certificate out of a Gypsy population of one thousand or so.
These are the figures I have seen for myself. Perhaps in bigger cities
these percentages are higher, but in my work in the smaller towns and
villages in the countryside this is what I have seen. But if you go to
the next villages where there are no Gypsies, there around 50% have
leaving certificates. That is why I say we do not have proper education.
The extra money comes for our Gypsy handicapped children but it is used
for the Hungarians. It is a very effective bridle for our spirits.

It
is like the colonial system before the independence of India – but
within one country. We are a colony for them just as India was for the
British. The difference is that the British went home in 1947, but here
the colonial system is in full flower. There are several professions for
keeping the colonies going – civil servants, teachers, policemen,
lawyers. They profit from our misery. If we want to leave that misery,
we find many obstacles placed in our way. If we want to help ourselves,
we are suppressed. Of course, they let some of us succeed a little bit –
they need that so they can proudly show they have lifted some of us up.
When Hungarians do work among us, they are often not trying to provide
careers for us, but for themselves – their careers are lifting up the
gypsies.

Gypsies mostly end up in vocational schools where they are usually
trained in trades that don’t really have a place on the labor market,
trades that are not really good for earning money – like making flower
bouquets, which is a trade not much in demand, fruit harvesting, which
is seasonal, and park attendants, when there are no parks in small
villages where many Gypsies live – this is what they learn at vocational
schools. Maybe one in a thousand Gypsies has been to a good school or
university. Such people mostly go to big cities. They have work – maybe
not very worthy, but work. They are the Public Relations side of
colonialism. Hungarians can show them and demonstrate that Gypsies can
go up in society. There are Gypsy youngsters who work usefully for the
whole of society – but not many of them. As far as I know there is only
one Gypsy doctor and three Gypsy lawyers in the whole of Hungary. There
are some teachers, maybe 100 altogether, but they mostly only teach
Gypsy children.

Photo: Alokavira (Timm Sonnenschein)The
early part of my own story is a typical one. I was born in a very poor
gypsy street. When I was six years old I did not speak Hungarian at all,
since the Gypsies in my village spoke a form of Romanian. I had to
learn Hungarian at school, with the help of my brothers and sisters. I
had no real chance to continue my studies. I was not in a Gypsy class –
in my class there were only two other Gypsies. That was very good for me
because I was forced to compete with my classmates: I had to work three
times as hard as them. But, however hard I tried, I always got very bad
marks. I took great pride in writing beautifully, for instance – but
still I always got bad marks. The teachers would deliberately give me
wrong marks – but not so bad that I would have to repeat a year’s study,
because that would mean having a gypsy around in the school a year
longer.

My knowledge was equal to my classmates’ at that time – but my marks
were always lower. Even my classmates protested to the teachers about
this, because I had proved that I knew what they knew. But the teachers
said that there was no point in teaching me because I would never
continue my studies at the secondary level – for Gypsies never do!
‘Primary school is enough for you’, they told me. In the end I agreed
with my teachers that I should leave school, even though I had not
completed the obligatory eight classes. Four days after leaving, at the
age of 15, I started work in a factory.

I worked 12 hours a day, sometimes 15. I was one of the best workers
in the factory, which produced kitchen pots. With the money I earned I
was able to help my family. I have seven brothers and sisters and, with
my mother, the nine of us lived in a house just 27 square meters . When I
began work, my little brother was studying in the same school as I had
gone to, but he was getting better marks than me. I thought that we
should help him go further in education. I did illegal extra work in the
factory, so I could give as much money as possible to my family,
especially to care for him. At the age of 17, I managed to build us a
house of 29 square meters in the same street as I was brought up in. My
brother came to live with me in the new house so that he could have good
conditions for his study. I began to learn to drive, which would give
me good prospects in the future. So everything was going very well for
me and I was helping my family. Other people appreciated me very much
for what I had achieved. But in 1993 I was kicked out of the factory and
became unemployed.

When the communist regime ended, unemployment began. Under communism
there was no unemployment: that came in with the market economy. For the
outside world the information was given out that it was the less
educated who were the first to be unemployed – but really it was the
Gypsies. It is well known that in these factories there were non-Gypsy
workers who also only had primary education, like me, but they were kept
on, while the Gypsies were fired. It was a euphemism to say that it was
the less educated, really it was the Gypsies.

My new house had its roof but it didn’t have windows yet. I now had
no money to finish it and it took me two more years. I had only one exam
to go before getting my driving licence, but without money I could not
complete it. It was a big collapse. I was 18 at that time.

After leaving the factory, I spent one year in military service,
which all young men had to do in Hungary at that time. I liked the
military – I was important to someone, I was serving my country, I had a
uniform, I had food. And there was no discrimination. The day I joined,
the senior officer told the 600 recruits who joined with me that there
was to be no discrimination: we were all equal, all serving our country
together. But, after one year, my service was completed and I was
unemployed again at the age of 20. My career was over, I couldn’t
achieve my dreams. I began to drink. I was not a real alcoholic, but I
drank systematically.

After one year I was scared of what I was doing to myself and I
remembered that at the age of ten I went regularly to church. I began to
read the Bible and go to church. I stopped drinking and began to live
again. The priest of the village found for my sister and me a course for
unemployed young people that trained them to become social work
assistants within the Catholic Church. I was 22 years old and I began to
study and it went well. This was a very good period of my life.

Around this time I came in contact for the first time with Gypsies
with school leaving certificates and this made me think that I could get
one too. At the age of 23, I decided to begin secondary school along
with my sister. I did very, very well at this school. My younger brother
was 14 and studying in the last year of elementary school. When his
teachers discovered that he wanted to go to secondary school, they began
to give him very bad marks. But nonetheless he managed to get to
secondary school. We were behind him, supporting him financially and in
other ways.

So that was the beginning of my involvement with the movement of
helping Gypsy youngsters to continue their studies and I have spent the
last twelve years in that movement. To begin with our work was done
within the Catholic Church, but we drew on other sources as well. George
Soros, a billionaire American of Hungarian origin, financed our
movement. I coordinated scholarships through his foundation for hundreds
of Gypsy youngsters. And he helped us set up Amrita Community House,
which was the center of this movement.

Amrita is an organisation that helps gypsy youngsters with their
further education. It is based in the city of Pecs, and has students in
every town of south-west Hungary. The program worked very well,
providing scholarships for young gypsies and supporting them in their
studies: for instance, we organised summer camps for hundreds of young
people, all of whom had scholarships from Amrita, as I did myself. We
called the organisation ‘Amrita’ for very specific and important
reasons, continuing the trend already begun when we gave the name
‘Gandhi High School’ to a secondary school for young Gypsies we had
founded in Pecs, also with the help of George Soros.

We
wanted to emphasize our connection with the East and its culture. We
wanted to show non-gypsy Europeans that there are cultures outside
Europe – older cultures and ones that are no less prestigious. We
Gypsies don’t really have anything to do with Hungarian culture – we are
not included in it.

So we couldn’t imagine calling our organisations after famous
Hungarians who we have had nothing to do with and don’t know much about.
Through these names, ‘Amrita’ and ‘Gandhi’, we could build and
strengthen our identity.

We had begun our work within the Catholic Church but we did not
continue within it. We were put off partly by the way that people in the
Church saw us. The Hungarian old ladies in the Church thought that we
gypsies could not believe in God as much as they could. But mainly it
was the narrow attitudes we encountered from the Catholic authorities
themselves. For instance, before we went to a summer camp one time, we
went to Caritas, the Catholic charity, to get some shoes – shoes being a
problem in poor gypsy families, whose members often couldn’t come to
the camps for lack of footwear. The old priest who looked after the
store was very kind to us and promised to find something for us. He came
back with a sack full of soap – so that we could have baths, it being a
standard stereotype that gypsies are dirty and smelly. I just threw it
away.

Photo: Alokavira (Timm Sonnenschein)

Another incident finished our relationship with the Catholic Church.
At the summer camps we gave out tee-shirts with ‘Soros Foundation’
printed on them. When Aniko, my sister, went in to work at the church in
the village wearing one of these, the local priest, who we liked and
who had been very helpful to us, especially in finding us the
social-work course, asked Aniko not to wear it. She asked, ‘Why not?’ He
said, ‘Because Soros is Jewish!’ She asked, ‘Why is that a problem?’ He
replied, ‘Because we are Catholics’. She said, ‘Wasn’t Jesus a Jew?’
‘Yes,’ he responded, ‘but he converted!’ That was the end of our
connection with the Catholic Church!

When I finished my studies at the high school, I began to study at the Buddhist College in Budapest.

The peculiar circumstances in Hungary after the end of the communist
regime enabled many Buddhist groups to participate together in
establishing an official ‘church’ and then to set up a University, the
Dharma Gate College, in Budapest, which has degree level courses in a
number of academic subjects related to Buddhism. A member of the church,
Tibor Derdak, was very involved in our educational work in the South
West. He had been a Liberal Party MP in the first post-communist
parliament and had played an important part in establishing many rights
and opportunities for gypsies. Through him we were linked to the
Buddhist Church and College. In 1992, when we founded the Gandhi High
School, the Church was one of the organisations that gave us their
backing – although all the funding came from other sources.

Photo: Alokavira (Timm Sonnenschein)

So from then on we had a continuing relationship with them and I
began to study at the College. Even though I had stopped working with
the Catholic Church, I still considered myself a Catholic – indeed, what
I saw of Buddhism in the College strengthened my Catholicism! If anyone
asked me where I studied it was strange for me to say it was at the
Buddhist College. There are brilliant scholars at the College, but this
is academic or intellectual Buddhism and it is not for me. I certainly
never thought of becoming a Buddhist at that time.

After some four years, in 2004, we made a connection with the FWBO.
This came about through one of my teachers at the College – not only
Catholic priests have been our patrons! He visited one of the main
centres of the FWBO in England and spoke about Buddhism in Hungary with
some of their leaders. They found our email address in the journal of
the Church and College and wrote to us. My English was not that good at
that time and when I saw these emails I thought that they were spam and I
deleted all of them. Fortunately, Tibor answered for us and in that way
we came to build our connection with them.

Photo: Alokavira (Timm Sonnenschein)

Members of the Western Buddhist Order came out to Hungary to meet us.
I thought that they were just intellectual Buddhists like the others I
had met in Hungary. But Subhuti told us about the work of the FWBO/TBMSG
in India and showed us a film about it. I saw their many educational
institutions for Dalit people and I recognised that there was a very
strong parallel with what we are doing in Hungary among gypsies. I had a
strong desire to see this work for myself – but I was aware that I
could only see it by going to India. I had always wanted to get to
India. In my childhood I had seen the film, ‘The Jungle Book’, with
Mowgli and the animals in it, and other nature films. And then of course
everyone thinks that gypsies are originally from India. So going to
India was a dream for me. The Karuna Trust paid for my air ticket and,
at the end of 2005, I visited for one month, with my friend, Tibor
Derdak.

The first sight I saw in India was not the exotic beauty I had seen
on TV. I was very deeply struck by the poverty and the conditions my new
Dalit friends had to live in. In Bombay, on the first night, we slept
on the ground in a tiny flat in the slums, in what seemed to be a
kitchen. We were taken then to the Bhaja retreat centre, near Pune. The
centre is on the edge of the jungle and I felt quite scared. But when we
got there it was so beautiful. From then on it has been my favourite
place in the whole world.

I
visited educational institutions in a number of cities in Maharashtra:
Aurangabad, Amaravati, Pune, and Nagpur. Everywhere I saw gypsies! To me
the Dalits are gypsies and the gypsies are Dalits. What struck me most
strongly was that the Dalit people run these institutions themselves,
not white people. They believe very strongly in their work and we saw
with our own eyes that many people have improved their lives in a real
way through that work.

The Dalits we were meeting were very proud to say that they were
Buddhists. But their way of practising Buddhism was quite different from
what I had seen in Hungary – even the way they practised meditation was
different. I realised that this whole movement is based on Buddhism. I
felt strongly that I can identify myself with this movement. It had a
very big impact on me. I saw people like me take their destiny into
their own hands through Buddhism and that is what I wanted to do and
wanted other young gypsies to do.

After one month in India, I came back convinced that I was a
Buddhist. On a very big retreat in Nagpur for 5,000 people, in January
2006, I had become a Dhammamitra, publicly declaring that the Buddha is
my teacher, that I will practise the five precepts, and that TBMSG/FWBO
is my spiritual family. But back here in Hungary, there were only
Hungarian Buddhists, and I could not identify with them. However, people
from the Western Buddhist Order/Trailokya Bauddha Mahasangha, both
Europeans and Indians, came to stay with us and they were completely
different from the Hungarian Buddhists. It took me some time to work out
what kind of a movement the FWBO in Europe is, because these were white
intellectual people who took to Buddhism for reasons that I could not
really understand. But they were different from the Hungarian Buddhists I
had met, because they were genuinely concerned with social questions.
When they come to Hungary they spend time with us, which Hungarian
Buddhists don’t do. They have become our friends and the connection
between us is very good.

However,
I feel that I am much more closely identified with Indian Buddhism.
That is why our own new and independent religious organisation wears the
name of ‘Jai Bhim’. The name gives a message: it means that we belong
to India. We have found a new framework for our twenty-year-old movement
for gypsy education. We began to believe that we too can take our
movement in our own hands and run it ourselves, just as our Indian
brothers and sisters do. Our experiences over the last twenty years fit
well with the Ambedkarite movement. Our Indian friends started fifty
years ago and they have big results. So we feel it is worth us starting
out on the same path. We have found that Dr Ambedkar’s thinking fits
well with our aims, so we have named our new school, ‘Dr Ambedkar High
School’.

I feel very pleased that I can speak in Europe about Dr Ambedkar.
Nobody in Europe has heard for him, so it is one of our major tasks to
speak about him. It is very wonderful for me to see that my actions find
parallels in Dr Ambedkar’s activity and movement. We have found
ourselves going through the same steps as our Indian friends, because
these are the logical steps in our social situation. Our Indian Buddhist
friends are able to take their own institutions in their own hands
because they have their own hero.

When
I see all the photos, statues, and other images of Dr Ambedkar in
India, I feel a bit uneasy, because in Hungary, when it was still under
communist rule, we had images of leaders everywhere – it is what we call
the cult of personality. However, I understand why Dr Ambedkar is
remembered in this way. For us too Dr Ambedkar is vitally important.
This is the only way that we can send the message to society that we
exist. We don’t want a cult of personality in our movement around living
gypsy leaders. But I want Hungarian society to take us seriously and
respect us as human beings. I want to see gypsy youngsters getting good
results in their education and going on to take up important positions
in society. And it is very easy to speak about a personal story like Dr
Ambedkar’s, because he himself achieved what I want many young Gypsies
to achieve. So Dr Ambedkar is a very important symbol for us – a very
important message to ourselves and to others.

We
need the image of Dr Ambedkar because we are still invisible to
society. For instance, my white colleagues are not as good at teaching
our Gypsy students as I am, for obvious reasons. But it is always the
white people who are known about. For instance, it is well known in
Hungary that the Buddhist Church is active in the gypsy field,
especially at the Little Tiger High School in Alsosantmarton, in
Southern Hungary. But whenever the school is talked about in the
mAlsoszentmartonedia nobody notices the gypsy activists who work there
without money, even though these activists get excellent educational
results, usually better than the white teachers. But we are not noticed.
The white Buddhist authorities are highly visible because they
’sacrificed their lives’ going to the gypsies – the biggest sacrifice
that one can make! They become famous as heroes and saviors - but we are
nowhere. And this is the story of Dr Ambedkar. In Europe people have
heard about the untouchables and how Gandhi almost sacrificed his life
for them – everyone knows this in Europe. I have nothing against Gandhi,
I respect him. He is a real hero for India. But what did Dr Ambedkar
do? Wasn’t he a participant in this movement? Nobody knows about him
because he is the gypsy. This is a very easy parallel for me to make.

So taking Dr Ambedkar’s thought as our basis and using his image as
our rallying point, we have set up a new organisation, ‘The Jai Bhim
Religious Network’. If we want to create schools for gypsies in this
situation, where we have no real connection with the culture and thought
of the surrounding society, we need a new context of ideas and culture
that relates to us. We need to be able to define ourselves – not for
other people, but for ourselves. We are very happy to be members of
FWBO. But we are not Western Buddhists – we have never been welcomed
into Western society and it does not belong to us.

Our social situation is not equal to that of Western members of the
Order; it is very similar to what we saw in India among Dalits. So that
gives us a feeling of solidarity with them and we identify ourselves
with them. We certainly want to use the knowledge found in the West.
There are Western Order members who are our friends – indeed, anyone who
is willing to work with us is our friend. But our strongest
identification is with the Ambedkarite movement in India. That is why we
have named our organisation ‘Jai Bhim’. It is a message of
self-definition to ourselves, which helps us to be clear what we want.
It gives us our ideological background – our background of vision and
ideas, which we need in order to carry out our task.

That
task is running social and educational institutions for gypsies – and
for us this is Buddhism. We don’t judge ourselves by how much time we
spend meditating. For us our educational work is effective when people
become aware of their own minds. Our goal is to help people to be aware
of the potential within their minds. We help them to grow out of their
ghetto world, within a Buddhist framework. Through us the students can
meet Buddhism. These youngsters will easily identify themselves with the
ideas and the vision that helps them. It may not be that every member
of our schools or our movement will take to Buddhism, and they certainly
won’t to begin with. This was the case for me too. What was interesting
for me when I first came across the followers of Dr Ambedkar in India
was not Buddhism but the social movement. I connected first with that
movement and the people in it. No doubt it will be like that for others
too.

The Jai Bhim Religious Network is an ecclesiastical organisation,
legally speaking. We have founded a church! Of course it’s not usual to
found a church and this particular church has no precedent in Hungary.
There are new Christian groups forming new churches in Hungary in a
Protestant context, but these Christian churches belong to sects that
operate outside Hungary. Ours however, is a Buddhist church. We have
done that, firstly, because of our Buddhist convictions. Second we have
founded a Buddhist church because the Christian groups and churches
ignored and neglected the education of poor people. They do deal with
poverty, at least if it concerns old people or ill people – but if it is
about gypsy families it is not important to them. We have founded an
autonomous church, which is not under any other denomination or
ideology, although it is linked to TBMSG/FWBO. This is the first church
in Hungary set up by gypsies for gypsies. There are Pentecostal gypsy
churches, but they are just segregated versions of the Hungarian
churches and the leadership and organizers are all Hungarians. The
gypsies need the authorization of the Hungarians to organize anything.
But this church is ours.

There
is only one non-gypsy in our organisation. We, the Dhammamitras who run
the Network, decided that we would be very cautious about letting in
non-Gypsies, because of our experience of being taken over or co-opted
in the past. Non-Gypsies can come to work with us – we will pay for
their work, for instance as teachers or administrators. But we don’t
need them to tell us what is good for us. We have had enough of
Hungarians telling us what is good for us. I worked for the Catholic
Church and I was not Catholic enough. I worked for the Dharma-Gate
Buddhist Church and I was not Buddhist enough. I do not want anyone to
tell me I am not good enough.

So often our efforts are appropriated by Hungarians. For instance, we
helped the Catholic Church to set up a Gypsy hostel in Manfa, near
Pecs. All the money which was needed to buy the land and develop the
buildings came for Gypsies from government grants and donations from
NGOs. Our smiling faces were on the appeal leaflets, and I did the work
of getting those grants and donations. Then the buildings were built and
it was time to hire staff and open the hostel – they didn’t need me or
other Gypsies any more. They had got the property in their own name and
had the income for their own people. The same thing happened at the
Little Tiger High School in Alsosantmarton, this time with the Buddhist
church. I did the work; we raised so much money – not a penny of it from
the Buddhist Church itself. We did the initial very hard work of
setting the school going and in two years young Gypsies succeeded in
getting their school leaving exams – not the four years it usually
takes. Then they took it away from me and my Gypsy friends and made some
other trouble for us.

So we don’t need owners like that. We want to be fully responsible
ourselves. Some things will go wrong, of course – but it will be my own
fault, my own responsibility. In the past we have built schools and
other institutions for Gypsies which Hungarians have controlled. Now we
are in control and we intend to stay in control.

With the Dr. Ambedkar High School we are trying to do the impossible.
We are trying to provide education for youngsters who are totally
outside the secondary educational system. When they come here at the age
of 16 or older, they often cannot read and write properly. They come
from very difficult circumstances. They don’t have proper housing;
sometimes they don’t even have shoes. So we work with people in deep
misery. We began this work without any money. What we have achieved is
just with our own effort.

The teaching we do is not something special. Gypsy students have the
same kind of brains as members of other ethnic groups. But because of
the way the educational system works in Hungary, most of them know
virtually nothing – most of them cannot read or write or calculate. Some
of them have been declared mentally handicapped on the basis of their
social situation. Those who were considered normal were usually in
segregated classes for Gypsies with very inadequate teaching. Even those
in normal unsegregated classes could not learn because the teachers
made no effort to understand them or to appreciate the situation from
which they came. Many of them left school after just five or six years –
not the normal eight.

Meanwhile,
the Hungarian children, the control group, generally get a good
education. They are taught IT, foreign languages, how to communicate –
but these are not on the curriculum for most Gypsy children. The Gypsy
children are taught by teachers who are not properly trained, with
educational programs that are very dated. What they are taught, even at
best, doesn’t touch them because it isn’t aimed at them. It is education
designed for the middle classes given to students from the under-class –
it has nothing to do with them. In the teacher training colleges, there
is no attempt to train teachers to deal with this problem, which affect
8% of the population.

So what are we doing about this problem? From September 2007, we are
concentrating on an area in Borsod County in Northern Hungary, where
gypsies live in terrible conditions. About 90% of gypsies in this area
have no regular employment and have no prospects. We rent buildings in
various villages where we hold our classes, since our network does not
have its own building yet. These are school buildings belonging to the
local authorities in peasant towns and villages, but, since the
birth-rate for non-gypsies is dropping very rapidly and many young
couples move away, there are no children. So the authorities need to
find students from somewhere, even from gypsies, since they must be used
for educational purposes. So we have schools, but we don’t have a
building to live in ourselves yet – we have to camp in the classrooms!
But our work is developing well. We will have our own buildings one day.

120 students registered for admission when we started, but many of
them don’t come. They want to study, but their lives are not organised
so that it is possible at the moment. For instance, some young girls get
pregnant and many young men have to earn money for their families
through casual labour or seasonal work in other parts of the country.
So, not everyone who wants to learn in our school can do so. But there
are 60 who do come regularly because they are able to fit study into
their lives. And more will come in time. We have just completed our
first term.

We have to meet the students each morning with our minibus at a bus
stop some distance away, where the school bus throws them out because
the bus company does not believe it is a real school and will not bring
them to the door. When they arrive we give them something to eat here,
because some will not have had proper food at home. Then we start the
classes, trying to give everyone what they need to begin again what they
left unfinished some years ago at some school somewhere. We are
concentrating on teaching them the skills of reading, writing,
calculating, and communicating. Some of them already have some
competence in these skills, some are complete beginners.

What do we do that is different? The first step is making them
believe that they can accomplish a normal secondary education. We help
them to believe that there is an alternative to lifelong unemployment
and lack of prospects in life. Slowly but surely we have to fight the
resistance within them to school – because they have developed a
resistance due to their previous experience. They are alienated from
school, from knowledge, from books. We have to make school sympathetic
to them. Only after that has been achieved can we teach them reading and
writing and calculating. Once they can read and write and calculate, we
can give them the knowledge about the modern world that is required at
university and college. Not all of them will go to college, but they
still need a certain level of knowledge of the modern world if they are
to get out of their ghettos. They need to be able to choose between
university and the world of jobs. We consider that what we are doing is
creating possibilities for them – this is the slogan of the Waldorf
educational movement, which we have made our own.

There are many people who are deeply critical of us, even who hate
us; there are many people who revere us; and there are many people who
are jealous of us. People ask, ‘Are these gypsies real Buddhists? How
can you teach Buddhism to gypsies?’ What we are doing is so strange in
Europe, where Buddhism is largely the leisure hobby of the middle
classes. People say, ‘Isn’t Buddhism a luxury for gypsies in villages?’
Some of these comments come from Christians – but it is easy for us to
answer them: they don’t offer effective secondary education for gypsies
and we do! But whatever people say, it doesn’t bother us – we just carry
on with our work.

And we know we are not alone! To my Indian brothers and sisters I say: let us do it together!

*****

For more information about Janos Orsos and Jai Bhim community, please visit www.jaibhim.hu

More stories published about Jai Bhim on Central-European Religious Freedom Institute website available on the links below:

HUMAN RIGHTS ALERT: Discriminatory actions against Hungarian Jai Bhim Buddhist Community

Double Trouble: Discrimination of Roma Buddhists in Hungary


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