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Buddhist reformer BR Ambedkar to be honored with new statue at temple in England – Buddhistdoor Global

The new statue of BR Ambedkar will be unveiled in England.

The Wolverhampton Buddhist Temple, located about 30 kilometers northwest of Birmingham, England, has submitted plans for an updated statue of Dr BR Ambedkar (1891–1956). The existing statue of the Indian politician and social reformer was first unveiled at the temple in October 2000.

The original statue’s unveiling ceremony featured then-Mayor Tersaim Singh. The sculpture shows Ambedkar standing with his arm outstretched, holding a copy of his book Buddha and his Dhamma (Siddhartha College Publications 1957). A petition to display the updated statue, which shows Ambedkar with his right arm extended, has been made on behalf of the local Buddhist community.

The current statue of BR Ambedkar at the Wolverhampton Buddhist Temple. From

The announcement of the new statue came just weeks after the April 14 celebration of the 131st Ambedkar Jayanti, or commemoration of Ambedkar’s birth. If approved, the statue will be installed as soon as possible.

Wolverhampton Buddha Vihara was opened in 1991 by members of the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Committee, a local group formed in the 1960s. The group originally formed as fellow Indian Punjabi migrants who had faced discrimination from upper caste Indians. The group was aware of Ambedkar’s work in India and pledged to continue his mission of uplifting people and creating social equality. In 1976 the committee converted a house in Wolverhampton into a Buddhist temple and meditation centre.

After moving to its current location in 1991, the committee added a community center and museum named for Dr. Ambedkar in 2000. The museum contains a number of items that belonged to Ambedkar. Additionally, committee members opened a Dr. Ambedkar Buddhist Resource Center in Punjab to house resources on Ambedkar for practitioners and researchers.

Wolverhampton Buddhist Vihar was home to Thai monk Venerable Maha Somboon until his death in October 2019.

Dr. Ambedkar was an intellectual and legal giant in India when it gained independence from British rule in 1947. He converted to Buddhism on October 14, 1956 after years of research into religion and social philosophy. With him, some 500,000 fellow Dalits took refuge in the Buddhadharma. Ambedkar died a few months later but left behind a number of influential texts and speeches that inspired a Dalit movement that continues to this day.

Ambedkar’s work to uplift the oppressed classes in India, both socially and politically, has also inspired scholars and activists around the world. Local and provincial governments around the world have started celebrating April 14 as Dr. BR Ambedkar’s Equality/Equity Day. Among those that started this tradition are the cities of Burnaby and Surrey in Canada, and the US states of Colorado, Maryland and Michigan.

Dr BR Ambedkar. At

Ambedkar saw that the biggest obstacle we face is self-delusion:

Two forces prevail in society: individualism and fraternity. Every individual always asks “Me and my neighbors, are we all brothers, are we even fiftieth cousins, am I their guardian, why should I do good to them?” Brotherhood is a force of opposite character. It consists of a feeling that leads an individual to identify with the good of others by which the good of others becomes for him a natural and necessary thing to be watched over, like all the physical conditions of our existence.

(The Indian Express)

See more

New statue plan for Wolverhampton Buddhist Temple (BBC)
New statue plan for Wolverhampton Buddhist Temple (Birmingham Live)
Ambedkar and his dhamma (The Indian Express)

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