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Ambedkar's Navayana Buddhism: Equality and Social Justice



  Nov 06, 2023

Navayana Buddhism



Navayana Buddhism, also known as Neo-Buddhism, is a modern Buddhist movement. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a prominent social reformer and the principal architect of the Indian Constitution,
initiated Navayana Buddhism. On 14th October 1956, he converted to Buddhism, denouncing the caste system and seeking an egalitarian alternative in Buddhism.

Navayana Buddhism diverges from traditional Buddhism in various ways. It rejects rituals and ceremonies that are not aligned with rational thought and emphasizes social equality and justice, reflecting Ambedkar’s efforts to address social discrimination.
The movement reinterprets Buddhist teachings to meet contemporary needs, focusing on the liberation from social injustices and the empowerment of oppressed communities in India.

Ambedkar’s version of Buddhism is seen as a vehicle for social change, aligning with the principles of democracy and social justice rather than just a means to personal enlightenment. This has led to the conversion of many Dalits (formerly known as “untouchables”) in India as a way to escape the caste hierarchy.

Navayana Buddhism represents a reformation of the spiritual and the social, intertwining Ambedkar’s vision of equality with the moral and philosophical foundations of traditional Buddhism, adapted to confront the challenges of the modern world, particularly in the Indian context.

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