Buddhism slowly catching up in Hyderabad

by Rahul Devulapalli, TNN, Dec 4, 2012

HYDERABAD, India -- So what is common between Australian model Miranda Kerr, Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Techie B Rajkumar from Madhapur ?

They all took refuge in the teachings of the Buddha and embraced its philosophy to seek inner peace and strike a balance between their professional and personal life.

 "I have been following Buddhism for the past one year and I found it to be very simple and practical. Today, many young people like me are in search of peace and happiness and Buddhist philosophy to me is the answer to it," said B Rajkumar, a software employee of a multi-national firm in Madhapur, who reflects what hundreds of others are saying in Hyderabad.

From a few hundred faithfuls in 2002 to at least 30,000 followers now, Buddhism is fast making a comeback in the city and elsewhere in the state which is dotted with more than 150 Buddhist religious sites, including the popular Buddha statue in the middle of Hussainsagar, all reminding of a glorious past.

The religion was once very popular in the coastal regions of the state during 5th century BC with all three doctrines of Buddhism - Thervada, Mahayana and Vajrayana - practiced .

While Hinduism and Islam flourished in the later centuries , Buddhism was forgotten which historians attribute to destruction of important shrines and monasteries by Hindu and Muslim rulers during later years.

Monks double up as counsellors

The monastries may have never been rebuilt, but Buddhism is slowly becoming popular in the hearts of Hyderabadis, many monks and locals vouch. Interestingly , the number of recent followers consists of young people in their twenties and thirties. "Buddhism follows a middle path and not extremes which has even helped in my professional life. I exactly know how to deal with my noisy colleagues or unreasonable bosses in an affective way while retaining my calmness," said Raja Choudhury, who runs a job consultancy firm and recently had separated from his wife and kid.

"Vipassana (form of meditation ) helped me sort out my inner demons and now I am back with my wife and child. I am a very happy man," he said.

The reasons of moving towards Buddhist philosophy may vary from peer pressure, stressful professional lives, increasing relationship problems or a way to experience peace, say Buddhist monks of the city. The Ananda Budhha Vihara in Mahendra Hills, the largest Budhhist temple in the twin cities, sees a steady stream of visitors in the weekdays which may go up to a few hundreds during weekends. Interestingly, the monks here double up as counsellors .

"The visitors here come and discuss their problems which range from professional and family troubles, relationship issues to poor performance in academics or poor health. They seek advice on how to address the issue and we are more than happy to help them," K Sangharakshitha Maha Thero, founder chairman of Ananda Budhha Vihara Trust said.

"We get innumerable inquiries by the public on how to convert to Budhhism time and again, but we convince them that it is a way of life and conversion does not hold importance. One needs to just follow the principles and teaching of lord Budhha," he added . There are also an increasing number of those who want to lead a monastic life from the city, but the monks advise them to undertake sharna or monastic life for a temporary period which can be from a week to a few months. "Many in the city, including women are going for it," said Bhikku Khemachara, Chairman of Sidhhartha Budhha Vihara Trust, Bowenpally, highlighting a growing religious trend of search for peace in the city.

Rajesh Suthari, a telecom coordinator working with an MNC founded the Yuva Buddhist group about a year back. "We have been getting lot of enquires on how to practice Buddhism...... .Just by following the basic principles of Buddhism, many people are leading a stable professional and personal life while many are in control of their emotions by the Vipassana meditation programme ." Added Rajesh.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv