Buddhism Becoming Increasingly Popular Among City Youth
Jeevan Kumar Durgam THE NEW INIDAN EXPRESS
HYDERABAD : Buddhism, the globally-spread religion, is now slowly
gaining popularity among the youth of Hyderabad. Young students and
employees, especially those in the information technology sector, are
showing greater interest in the teachings of the Buddha.
not call Buddhism a religion. It is the greatest philosophy of life
which helps us achieve enlightenment through Vipassana (meditation),”
says Devendar, who works for a multinational company in the city. He is a
frequent visitor to the two major Buddha Viharas in the city.
young employees like Devendar started practising Buddhism and became
active members of Yuva Buddhist Group (YBG)of Hyderabad which was
founded by a city youth, Rajesh Suthari, to promote Buddhism in the
YBG organises various activities to reach out to the local
youth and teach them Buddhism. Its members also guide those who want to
learn more about Buddhism. Two major Buddhist temples in the city,
Ananda Buddha Vihara Trust at Mahendra Hills and Siddhartha Buddha
Vihara Trust at New Bowenpally, both in Secunderabad, are now the new
weekend destinations for many young students and employees.
monks there teach the basic tenets of Buddhism to visitors who are not
only interested in learning about the religion but also want to convert
themselves to Buddhism. Both the Viharas have been witnessing a
consistent growth in the number of visitors for the past few years.
there are very few Telugu people among the followers. Though the YBG
has many active Telugu members, their number is far less when it comes
to the activities at Viharas.
Citing the reason, Pragya Chouhan,
a member of YBG, said, “Often their parents do not accept it. And some
don’t understand the language of the monks here.” These factors are
keeping them away from direct participation in our activities at
Viharas, but they are very much interested in Buddha’s teachings despite
their absence, she added.
Not surprisingly, a majority of the
visitors to Viharas are from the north-eastern states and the western
state of Maharashtra where Buddhism has a strong base. The Marathi
population in the city, which is the hardcore follower of Ambedkarite
Buddhism, is the major stakeholder in any activity at the two Viharas in
Existing for more than two decades in the city,
the Viharas are attracting even foreign visitors. Many students from
countries like Burma, Nepal and Thailand, who are based in the city,
visit the Viharas frequently.
“Meeting hundreds of Buddhists
here is a great experience for me as I have not met a single person at
my university who talked about Buddhism so far,” said Shoon Le, a
student from Burma who is studying MSc (Computers) at Osmania
However, Buddhist monks are finding it difficult to
promote the religion with the very few Bhantejis (monks) in the city.
Head monks like Bhikku Khemachara, chairman of Sidharth Buddha Vihara
Trust, are always busy visiting various places across the country. “It
will be better if there are more Bhantejis at Viharas,” said Sangeeta, a
member of Yuva Buddhist Group.