When a Liberation Theologian Travels with a Socially Engaged Buddhist to a Buddhist Conference in India – Part II

Cláudio Carvalhaes
Nagpur, India, October 14, 2016
During Fall Break, Cláudio Carvalhaes, Associate Professor of Worship, and Greg Snyder, Senior Director of Buddhist Studies traveled to Nagpur, India for The Social Engagement and Liberation conference, hosted by the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. Both Cláudio and Greg will be reflecting on their experience on the Union website. To read Cláudio first post, please click here.
To read Greg’s post, please click here. 
The sun in India is beautiful and strong. The days are hot and the evenings cool. The sun and the moon show us the pulse of the country at every corner you turn.
This conference is grounded around three themes: Dharma as empowerment, Breaking down barriers between people and Dharma as governance. These themes relate to Dr. Ambedkar’s main words for the constitution of India, very much influenced by the French Revolution: liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Today the theme was the Dharma as empowerment, and it was very moving. Dharma, the teachings of Buddhism, is often called the Buddha Dharma. It is the source of wisdom from Buddhism to humankind. Different streams of Buddhism have interpreted this in different ways, with the two major streams being:  Theravada and Mahayana. Dharma as empowerment means to make one freer or to help one become free. Throughout the day I thought I was in a base community in Latin America, hearing Dalits interpreting the Dharma from their social location and how it had changed their lives as the poor Christians in Latin American would interpret the Bible


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