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Buddhadharma : Spring 2011
Buddhist women are leading schools, hostels, social work, and dharma com- munities as teachers or dharmacharinis in their own right. There are more than ninety women teachers in TBMSG. But the movement still needs to have more women in visible leadership, which means participating equally in public events and internal organizational structures. Nagaloka, or the Nagarjuna Train- ing Institute, is TBMSG’s flagship educa- tional project, the largest of its centers. The institute has a fifteen-acre campus on the outskirts of Nagpur. At night, from a distance, one can see the tall golden image of a walking Buddha that smiles down on the students. The institute offers a ten-month lead- ership training program in basic Bud- dhism and social action for young Dalits from all religious communities. About five hundred young people from twenty Indian states have graduated from the program over the last eight years. Most of these students have gone back to their villages to work on campaigns against social oppression, offer dharma teach- ings, and support other young people so that they too can live and train in Naga- loka. These students come from caste- based villages where life is still marked by discrimination and violence. Even as I write, CNN reports the murder of an Indian politician in Uttar Pradesh, shot as he attended a ceremony marking Ambedkar’s birth. For many of these students, leaving home for the first time is unsettling and difficult. Each one arrives with a com- mon yearning to see the world and to be of use, but growing up within oppres- sive traditional cultures leaves them unprepared for the cultural shock of a new life at Nagaloka. Some of them are overwhelmed, but most find their way into student life, buoyed by new friends and teachers and practicing dharma. One young student recounted: “In my childhood I observed this caste system all the time. My grandmother had to take water from the village well. But when she put her bucket in, other community peo- ple saw that and would not take water until the well was purified by rituals. If INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre MA 01005 • 978.355.4378 • www.dharma.org • email@example.com VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR RETREAT CENTER AND FOREST REFUGE SCHEDULES Enter the refuge of an IMS retreat Experience silence and simplicity Strengthen awareness and kindness Build a foundation for wise and compassionate action 89 spRing 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly