Dr. Ambedkar was a great theologian and scholar of Buddhism, and has studied all the major religions of the world in depth, including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism and many more for nearly 35 years. Know about 50 Ambedkar Quotes on Buddhism and the Buddha.
Dr. Ambedkar on Buddhism
Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) was one of the greatest philosophers in the world. He is considered the ‘Father of Modern India’, and was the most talented person in the history of India.
Dr. Ambedkar is considered a Bodhisattva and Spiritual Buddhist leader. The honorific Babasaheb (Marathi: “Respected Father”, “venerable”), first applied to him in 1927, because millions of Indians consider him the “greatest liberator”. Dr. Ambedkar was a multi-faceted scholar.
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar is one of the foremost polymaths in history. He was a politician, economist, anthropologist, jurist, theologian, historian, social reformer, lawyer, author, constitutionalist, sociologist, political scientist, feminist, environmentarian, educationist, social scientist, journalist, orator, professor, polyglot, linguist and so on.
- Wikipedia: Top 30 most influential Indians in the world; Lord Buddha tops while PM Modi is 7th rank (in Marathi)
Dr. Ambedkar is widely regarded as the most intelligent Indian of all time. He was born into an ‘untouchable’ Hindu dalit family, and due to caste system of Hinduism he had to endure immense injustice. In 1935, Babasaheb declared his renunciation of Hinduism and in 1956 converted to Buddhism along with millions of his followers. Ambedkar’s decision to convert to Buddhism was not personal; it was primarily a social act and emanated from his immense love for his people and his desire to free them from the yoke of Hinduism, caste system, and untouchability. After the emperor Ashoka the great, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has made the best contribution to Indian Buddhism.
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is highly respected in India. He has become one of the most inspiring personalities in the world. In India today, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has become more relevant and inspiring than Mahatma Gandhi. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi considers himself a ‘devotee of Ambedkar’. Dr Ambedkar was voted “the Greatest Indian” in 2012 by a poll organised by History TV18 and CNN IBN, ahead of 1st Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and deputy PM Vallabhbhai Patel.
Dr Ambedkar was a theologian and great scholar of Buddhism, and has studied all the major religions of the world in depth, including Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism and many more for nearly 35 years. ‘The Buddha and His Dhamma‘ is a famous book written by Dr. Ambedkar, which is the scripture of Indian Buddhists. What did Ambedkar say about Buddhism? In this article, you will know about 50 quotations by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar about Buddhism and Religion.
Dr Ambedkar’s Quotes on Buddhism
“Buddhism was a revolution. It was as great a revolution as the French Revolution. Though it began as a Religious revolution, it became more than Religious revolution. It became a Social and Political Revolution.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Religion of the Buddha gives freedom of thoughts and freedom of self-development to all…” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“All prophets have promised salvation. The Buddha is the one teacher who did not make any such promise. He made a sharp distinction between a moksha data (Giver of Salvation) and a marga data (Way Finder), one who gives salvation and one who only shows the way. He was only a marga data. Salvation must be sought by each for himself by his own effort.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
I am greatly surprised at the turn of mind of the Buddhist countries in South East Asia, towards communism. It means that they don’t understand what Buddhism is. I claim that Buddhism is a complete answer to Karl Marx and his Communism. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Our way is the way of the Buddha. We will go by our path; others should go by their path. We have found a new way. This is a day of hope. This is a way of success, of prosperity. This way is not something new. This path was not brought here from somewhere else. This path is from here, it is purely Indian. The Buddhist religion has been in India for two thousand years. Truly speaking, we regret that we did not become Buddhists before this. The principles spoken by Bhagvan Buddha are immortal. But the Buddha did not make a claim for this, however. There is an opportunity of making changes according to the times. Such open-mindedness is not found in any other religion. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
A religion which discriminates between one of its followers and another is partial and the religion which treats crores of its adherents worse than dogs and criminals and inflicts upon them insufferable disabilities is no religion at all. Religion is not the appellation of such an unjust order. Religion and slavery are incompatible. Buddha stood for social freedom, intellectual freedom, economic freedom and political freedom. He taught equality, equality not between man and man only, but between man and woman. The fundamental principle of Buddhism is equality… There was only one man who raised his voice against separatism and Untouchability and that was Lord Buddha. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
What is the original foundation of Buddhism? Other religions and the Buddhist religion are very different. In other religions, change will not occur, because those religions tell of a relationship between man and God. Other religions say that god created the world. God created the sky, wind, moon, everything. God did not leave anything left over for us to do. So we should worship God. According to the Christian religion, there is, after death, a Day of Judgment, and all depends on that judgment. There is no place for God and soul in the Buddhist religion. Bhagvan Buddha said there is suffering everywhere in the world. Ninety percent of mankind is distressed by sorrow. Suffering mankind should be freed from sorrow– this is the basic work of Buddhism. What did Karl Marx say that was different from the buddha’s sayings? [However,] what Bhagvan said, he did not say via a crazy, crooked path. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Even though Buddhism is almost extinct in India, yet it has given birth to a culture, which is far better and richer than the Brahmanic culture. When the question of the National flag and the National Emblem was being considered by the Constituent Assembly we could not find any suitable symbol from the Brahmanic culture. Ultimately, the Buddhist culture came to our rescue and we accepted the Wheel of Law (Dhamma Chakra) as the National Symbol.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Religion must mainly be a matter of principles only. It cannot be matter of rules. The moment it degenerates into rules, it ceases to be religion, as it kills the responsibility which is the essence of a true religious act. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Direct answer to the question as to why I am inclined towards Buddhism is that no religion can be compared to it. If a modern man who knows science must have a religion, the only religion he can have is the Religion of the Buddha.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Some people think that religion is not essential to society. I do not hold this view. I consider the foundation of religion to be essential to the life and practices of a society.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The sovereignty of scriptures of all religions must come to an end if we want to have a United integrated modern India.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I regard the Buddha’s Dhamma to be the best. No religion can be compared to it. If a modern man who knws science must have a religion, the only religion he can have is the Religion of the Buddha. This conviction has grown in me after thirty-five years of close study of all religions.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“In Dhamma there is no place for prayers, pilgrimages, rituals, ceremonies, or sacrifices.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The duty of a Buddhist is not merely to be a good Buddhist. His duty is to spread Buddhism. They must believe that to spread Buddhism is to serve mankind.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I firmly believe the Dhamma of the Buddha is the only true religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The fundamental principle of Buddhism is Equality.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I tell you, religion is for man and not man for religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I renounce Hinduism, which disfavors humanity and impedes the advancement and development of humanity because it is based on inequality, and adopt Buddhism as my religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Ambedkar Quotes on Buddha Dhamma
“I believe, my people will sacrifice everything to establish Buddhism in India…” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
The communists should study Buddhism, so that they might know how to remove the ills of humanity. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be sheer madness and false propaganda.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I do not want any blind followers. Those who come into the Buddhist religion should come with an understanding; they should consciously accept that religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Religion as a code of social molarity must recognise the fundamental tenets of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Unless a religion recognises these three fundamental principles of social life, religion will be boomed.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“With the education, intelligence, knowledge and experience that I have, it is not difficult for me to oppose or fight against any evil. But there is a mountain, colossal mountain of caste hierarchy; Brahmanical social order sitting on our heads. The question before us how to topple it down and blast it. It is for this reason that I wanted to acquaint you fully with the religion of Buddha.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
- Influence of Buddhism on Indian society (in Hindi)
“Religion is a very necessary thing for the progress of mankind. I know that a sect has appeared because of the writings of Karl Marx. According to their creed, religion means nothing at all. Religion is not important to them. They get breakfast in the morning, of bread, cream, butter, chicken legs, etc.; they get undisturbed sleep, they get to see movies and that’s all there is. This is their philosophy. I am not of that opinion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The Buddha wished his religion not to be encumbered with the dead wood of the past. He wanted that it should remain evergreen and serviceable at all times. That is why he gave liberty to his followers to chip and chop as the necessities is of the case required. No other religious teacher has shown search courage. They were afraid of permitting repair.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The history of India is nothing but a history of mortal conflict between Buddhism and Brahmanism (Hinduism).” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The Buddha did not claim any divinity for himself or for his Dhamma. It was discovered by man for man. It was not a revelation.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“I like the religion that teaches Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The Buddha was against violence. But he was also in favour of justice and we are justice required he permitted to use of force.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Buddha preached that the road to knowledge must be open to all — to males as well as to females.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Believe in the infallibility of books of Dhamma is not Dhamma.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“…The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have…” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“A people and their religion must be judged by social standards based on social ethics. No other standard would have any meaning if religion is held to be necessary good for the well-being of the people.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Dhamma is righteousness, which means right relations between human and human in all sphere of life. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Buddha was the greatest opponent of Chaturvarna [four varnas of Hinduism]. He not only preached against it, fought against it, but did everything to uproot it. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
The greatest thing the Buddha has done is to tell the world that the world cannot be reformed except by the reformation of the mind of man and the mind of the world. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“The teachings of Buddha are eternal, but even then Buddha did not proclaim them to be infallible. The religion of Buddha has the capacity to change according to times, a quality which no other religion can claim to have… Now what is the basis of Buddhism? If you study carefully, you will see that Buddhism is based on reason. There is an element of flexibility inherent in it, which is not found in any other religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Positively, my social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Let no one, however, say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my Master, the Buddha. In his philosophy, liberty and equality had a place. …
He gave the highest place to fraternity as the only real safeguard against the denial of liberty or equality or fraternity which was another name for brotherhood or humanity, which was again another name for religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Dr Ambedkar differentiates between ‘Dharma’ (Hinduism) and ‘Dhamma’ (Buddhism)
“The Vedic meaning of the word ‘Dharma‘ did not connote morality in any sense of the word. The Dharma as enunciated by the Brahmins meant nothing more than the performances of certain karmas or observances, i.e. Yagans, Yagas and sacrifices to Gods. The word Dhamma, as used by the Buddha, had nothing to do with ritual or observances. In place of Karma, Buddha substituted morality as the essence of Dhamma.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“You go on with your ideology, you go on with your ways of doing things. The Buddha‘s way, as I said, is a long way, perhaps some people may say, a tedious way. But I have no doubt about it that it is the surest way.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Hinduism is a religion which is not founded on morality. Morality is a separate force which is sustained by social necessities and not by injunction of Hindu religion. The religion of Buddha is morality. It is imbedded in religion. It is true that in Buddhism there is no God. In place of God there is morality. What God is to other religions, morality is to Buddhism.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Religion of the Buddha gives freedom of thoughts and freedom of self-development to all…” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“… But Buddha never arrogated to himself any such status. He was born as a son of man and was content to remain a common man and preached his gospel as a common man. He never claimed any supernatural origin or supernatural powers nor did he perform miracles to prove his supernatural powers. The Buddha made a clear distinction between a Margadata (Way Finder) and a Mokshadata (Giver of Salvation). Jesus, Mahommed and Krishna claimed for themselves the Mokshadata. The Buddha was satisfied with playing the role of a Margadata.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
“Buddha wanted his religion to remain evergreen and serviceable at all times. That is why he gave liberty to his followers to chip and chop as the necessities of the case required. No other religious teacher has shown such courage. They were afraid of permitting repair, because the liberty to repair may be used to demolish the structure they had reared. Buddha had no such fear. He was sure of his foundation. He knew that even the most violent iconoclast will not be able to destroy the core of His religion.” – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
I am a devotee of Gautama Buddha, Kabir and Mahatma Phule, and I worship of Learning, Self-Respect and Character. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar; Mumbai, October 28, 1954
Though, I was born a Hindu, I Solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
I may mention that this [The Buddha and His Dhamma] is one of the three books which will form a set for the proper understanding of Buddhism. The other books are: (i) Buddha and Karl Marx; and (ii) Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India. They are written out in parts. I hope to publish them soon. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
- I shall not act in a manner violating the principles and teachings of the Buddha.
- I shall follow the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha.
- I shall follow the ten paramitas prescribed by the Buddha
- I shall endeavour to follow the Noble Eightfold Path and practice compassion and loving-kindness in everyday life.
– Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
I will choose only the least harmful way for the country. And that is the greatest benefit I am conferring on the country by embracing Buddhism; for Buddhism is a part and parcel of Indian culture. I have taken care that my conversion will not harm the tradition of the culture and history of this land. – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
- Ambedkar’s Buddhism related news articles
- Graphic Novel | Deeksha: The Story Behind BR Ambedkar’s Conversion to Buddhism – Mint
- Ambedkar, Buddhism and Democracy – Christophe Jaffrelot
See also :
- 130 Inspirational Thoughts of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (in Marathi)
- ‘These’ are the 5 greatest Buddhists of the 20th century (in Marathi)
- 20 Most Popular People on Hindi Wikipedia of 2020; Know the rank of Buddha and Ambedkar
- Top 10 Most Popular Singers in India
- Top Ambedkar Quotes
- Read other articles
Articles are written on ‘Dhamma Bharat’ in Marathi, Hindi and English: