Udupi (Karanataka) : Over 2,000 Dalits gathered as part of a Buddhist convention in the Shri Narayana Guru auditorium in Bannanje here on Tuesday, May 24 and swore allegiance to Buddhism.
The programme was jointly held under the aegis of the Abhidhamma Trust, DK district Bauddha Mahasabha and Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkar-oriented).
The convention also marked the 2600th birth anniversary of Tathagatha Gautam Buddha. Buddhist monk Manorakkhita Bhanteji led the swearing-in ceremony and read out the oaths for recitation by the neophytes. Tisarana and Panch Sheel rites were conducted over and Dhamma Deekshe was imparted to them to formally accept them into the fold.
Earlier the gathering went in procession from Ambedkar Bhavan in Adiudupi to the auditorium in Bannanje. Statue and portraits of Buddha and photographs of Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar were carried by the participants.
Dalit leaders Chandrakant Poste, Kantappa Alangar, Venkatalakshmi, Nandakumar, researcher Prof Murugeshi and others were present on the occasion. State DSS committee member Sundar Master welcomed the gathering.
The programme began with Buddha Vandana. The neophytes took a pledge not to believe in or venerate 33 crore gods and to conduct Buddha pooja on auspicious days. They also swore not to have any marriages and such other occasions solemnized by Brahmins, and to evolve their lives based on Dhamma Sangh's teachings and norms. By embracing Buddhist faith, they pledged themselves to follow the tenets of Panch Sheela and adopt a new way of life, thereby obtaining true joy and peace.
Monk Bhanteji said that when the eyes of conscientiousness opened to reality in the present-day caste-ridden society, it was possible to respect other fellow-human beings. Buddha's message was highly relevant in a society plagued by different forms of violence like communalism and terrorism to rid itself of sorrow and fear.