Jai Bhim Network

Barack Obama and Buddhism

2008.11.10. Categorized: Uncategorized   

Get the Flash Player to see this player. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

Source: Call to Renewal Keynote Address

When Gandhi was asked whether he was a Hindu, he replied: Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.

All in the Family

Barack Obama's sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, visited the Pee Dee this evening to talk to folks in Dillon about her brother Barack and his plan to improve education for all children. One of the subjects Soetoro-Ng stressed from the very beginning was Barack's commitment to public education (Source: students.barackobama.com)Interview by Doborah Solomon - New York Times

Questions for Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Barack’s Sister

Q: Let’s talk about the Democratic presidential caucuses taking place on Feb. 19, in Hawaii , where Barack Obama was born. Will you be campaigning for your brother? Yes, of course. I have taken time off from my various teaching jobs in Honolulu and just got back from two months of campaigning. I have a bumper sticker on my car that says: “1-20-09. End of an Error.”

What kind of bumper sticker is that? It doesn’t even mention a candidate by name. That’s just one bumper sticker. I have three others on my car, including one that says, “Women for Obama.”

What is the age difference between you and Barack? I’m nine years younger. Our mother, after divorcing Barack’s father, met my father at the same place, the East-West Center on the University of Hawaii campus.

Barack’s father was Kenyan, and yours was Indonesian. Your mom was what used to be called a freethinker, a white anthropologist from Wichita, Kan., who moved to Jakarta after her second marriage. My mother was a courageous woman. And she had such tremendous love for life. She loved the natural world. She would wake us up in the middle of the night to go look at the moon. When I was a teenager, this was a source of great frustration because I wanted to sleep.

She died at only 52, from ovarian cancer ? Today, more than anything, I wish all the women in Barack’s life - our mother, his wife and daughters, my daughter, our grandmother, his Kenyan half-sister - I wish we could all sit together and gaze at the moon.

Your mom has been described as an atheist. I wouldn’t have called her an atheist. She was an agnostic. She basically gave us all the good books - the Bible, the Hindu Upanishads and the Buddhist scripture, the Tao Te Ching - and wanted us to recognize that everyone has something beautiful to contribute.

You didn’t mention the Koran in that list, although Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world. I should have mentioned the Koran. Mom didn’t really emphasize the Koran, but we read little parts of it. We did listen to morning prayers in Indonesia.

Are you worried about mentioning Islam because it has already been evoked by negative campaigners trying to tarnish your brother? I’m not worried. I don’t want to deny Islam. I think it’s obviously very important that we have an understanding of Islam, a better understanding. At the same time, it has been erroneously attached to my brother. The man has been a Christian for 20 years.

What religion are you? Philosophically, I would say that I am Buddhist.

What effect do you think your mother’s wanderlust had on Barack? Maybe part of the reason he was so attracted to Chicago and his wife, Michelle, was that sense of rootedness. He elected to make a choice, whereas Mom sort of wandered through the world collecting treasures.

Do you think of your brother as black? Yes, because that is how he has named himself. Each of us has a right to name ourselves as we will.

Do you think of yourself as white? No. I’m half white, half Asian. I think of myself as hybrid. People usually think I’m Latina when they meet me. That’s what made me learn Spanish.

That sort of culturally mixed identity was seen as an anomaly when you were growing up. Of course, there was a time when that felt like unsteady terrain, and it made me feel vulnerable.

You were ahead of the multicultural curve. That’s one of the things our mother taught us. It can all belong to you. If you have sufficient love and respect for a part of the world, it can be a meaningful part of who you are, even if it wasn’t delivered at birth.

Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Deborah Solomon

Source: New York Times

1 Comment:

1 | Koran

November 15th, 2008, 3:41 pm

The polls shows broad support for Barack Obama among blue collar, white working class Americans.?What Democratic Sen. Koran

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Our Inspiration 1st Part

Our Inspiration (1st Part)
Jai Bhim is a cheerful greeting. Ten million Indians greet each other in this manner. They're the Dalits who are a proud community. They inherited an extremely difficult life. Their parents and grandparents and untold generations before them were outcasts in society. Even today they still encounter prejudice and experience helplessness.
For more than a millenium their ancestors lived as outcasts. People had a horror of touching them. Others even avoided being in their proximity as their shadow was considered polluting. If they went to school they were seated separately, If they were able to obtain work they did the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs.

Our Inspiration 2nd Part

Our Inspiration (2nd Part)
With their greeting of Jai Bhim they remind each other of their own successful revolution in 1956 for their human rights. Their cause is sacred. It inspires us here in Hungary, as we also face segregation and prejudice today. We would like to know discrimination is a thing of the past.
The dalit's story is like a fairy tale.

Our Inspiration 3rd Part

Our Inspiration (3rd Part)
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a seventeen year old untouchable boy in a big family, His name was Bhim. He was the youngest child among 14 siblings. He surpassed all of them because of his brilliant mind. A wealthy maharaj acknowledged his poverty and bestowed a scholarship on him. Bhim was aware that Indian schools were being discriminatory and practiced segregation. Therefore, he tried his fortune in London and New York where he achieved university degrees. He received the title Dr. Ambedkar when he returned home to serve his people as a barrister.

Our Inspiration 4th Part

Our Inspiration (4th Part)
Nevertheless, he was considered as an untouchable in accordance with the holy books of the Hindu religion. Therefore, he convened with his friends and publicly burned Manu's Laws, the Hindu holy script which bids the Hindu to hold the Untouchable in disdain. He became a human right fighter and his authority was constantly growing throughout the whole country. When India gained independence in 1947 he was nominated as law minister. He was entrusted with drafting the Constitution for the country. He wrote in it that discrimination is forbidden.

Our Inspiration 5th Part

Our Inspiration (5th Part)
In his old age the Dalit people addressed him with veneration as Dr. Babasaheb. He and his laws, however respected they were, he still stared frustratedly at the discrimination existing all over the country. He decided then to show the people a spiritual alternative. As our judgment is determined by our faith, he took an oath: "I was born a Hindu Untouchable. It was beyond my power to prevent that but I declare that it is within my power to refuse to live under ignoble and humiliating conditions. I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu". He abjured hindu religion that had brought so much suffering and humiliation to the Untouchable people (today's Dalits).

Our Inspiration 6th Part

Our Inspiration (6th Part)
He studied thoroughly all the faiths of the world. He was seeking a religion which fitted together with reason, with modern science, and which declared liberty, fraternity and equality amongst people. He decided to follow the path of the Indian prince who lived 2500 years ago: he would be a follower of the Buddha. This was a decision of profound importance for the Dalits because the Buddha is venerated thoughout the world, and India is entitled to take pride in her great son. Dr. Ambedkar showed his astuteness: all of us can choose the way to be respected, we can change our fate for the better. Hundreds of thousands followed Ambedkar to the magnificent ceremony in Nagpur in October 1956. This was the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Babasaheb died six weeks later.

Our Inspiration 7th Part

Our Inspiration (7th Part)
Those who at that time embraced a new world view with him, they are today grandfathers and grandmothers. Their grandchildren are as numerous as the whole population of Hungary. They follow Ambedkar's example: they face even the biggest difficulties in all things - to study and to exercise their human rights.

All of the Parts in One

Our Inspiration

  • Chandrakirti: I like ur views on Bhim Jayanti... And i jst can say "Jai Bhim".....
  • Sunil Sagar: Jai Bhim Janos it's great seeing Dr. Ambedkar's follower in Hungary. The Emancipator, The god of Small. What Millions of god and goddess of Hindu's c
  • Ashwin Jangam: Struggle for liberation of Mulnivasis When freedom struggle of our country was going on, we were dual slaves. The Arya Brahmin
  • Ashwin Jangam: Jaibhim Abhinav Thank you Abhinav for putting up a superb photos of our ancestors to know our peop
  • mulji parmar: JAIBHIM NAMOBUDDHAI RESPECTED PRESIDENT WE ALL KNOIW THAT IN WHICH CONDITION DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR HAS DONE DALIT ACTIVITIES WITH G

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24 September: Pune Pact between Gandhi and Dr. Ambedkar in 1932

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