Hundreds of Hindus Embrace Buddhism in Ahmedabad, Citing "Inequality"

The Buddhist Channel, 25 Oct 2023

Gujarat, India -- In a noteworthy event organized by the Gujarat Buddhist Academy, nearly 400 Hindus from across the state of Gujarat converted to Buddhism on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra. This annual gathering marked the 14th such ceremony held on Dussehra, symbolizing a growing movement towards a new religious identity.

The day-long conversion ceremony, presided over by Bhadant Pragyasheel Mahathero hailing from Amravati, Maharashtra, witnessed individuals and families from various cities, including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara, Mehsana, Surendranagar, and Botad, making the life-altering decision to embrace Buddhism.

Among those who embraced this spiritual transition was Pravinbhai Parmar, a 38-year-old resident of Vadodara. He expressed that the deep-seated inequalities within Hinduism were the driving force behind his decision. Parmar emphasized that "there is equality, love, and compassion in Buddhism. Unlike Hinduism, where discrimination seems to pervade every facet, and atrocities against Dalits are on the rise. What is the point of remaining a Hindu when it offers so little for us?"

Notably, a significant portion of the converts hailed from the Dalit community, for whom this conversion represents a potential escape from the entrenched caste-based discrimination prevalent in Hindu society.

Parmar, who has been affiliated with the Gujarat Buddhist Academy since 2013, decided to take the momentous step toward Buddhism, accompanied by his wife and two young daughters, aged nine and seven. He explained, "As we delved deeper into Buddhism, we realized that the time was right for this change."

Of the 418 individuals who submitted their conversion applications to the Collector's office a month ago, approximately 90 percent were present for the deeksha, a sacred initiation ceremony, according to Ramesh Bankar, the secretary of the Gujarat Buddhist Academy. He echoed Parmar's sentiments, stating that the majority of the converts had chosen Buddhism because it advocates for equality, in stark contrast to the lingering issues of untouchability and caste discrimination within Hinduism.

Bankar further pointed out that the Gujarat Buddhist Academy has been conducting deeksha events since 2010, marking a sustained interest in this transformative journey towards Buddhism.

The Solanki family from Randheja in Gandhinagar was also among those who embraced Buddhism during this event. Ashwini Kumar Solanki, a 22-year-old member of the family, revealed, "My parents, aged 69 and 70, have also embraced Buddhism today. My father has been associated with Buddhism since 2004, and it was his suggestion that led us to make this significant religious transition."

On the other hand, there were individuals like R K Jadav, a 71-year-old resident of Chandkheda in Ahmedabad, who stood as the sole representative of his family in adopting Buddhism. He mentioned, "My family also believes in Buddhism, but I thought it best to take this step first, and my family members can follow suit at their own pace."

This mass conversion event underlines the emerging trend of Hindus opting for Buddhism, driven by the pursuit of equality and justice in the face of persistent social disparities.
We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: