Buddhism's African odyssey - A generational journey
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Buddhism’s African odyssey – A generational journey

On June 8, 2024, reported a significant shift in the Amituofo Care Center’s (ACC) mission.

After two decades of focusing on caring for and educating orphans across Africa, ACC is poised to commence its true diffusion of across the continent.

The establishment of a practice center in Madagascar marks a new phase, distinct from the orphanages ACC has built in Namibia, Mozambique, and other countries.

This initiative aims to integrate Buddhism into African over the next few generations, making it a native tradition.

ACC founder Venerable Hui Li, who started his in Malawi in 2004, envisions a future where African people relate directly to .

The goal is to authentically enculturate the Buddhist , particularly and bhikkhunis, into African norms.

This diffusion is comparable to Buddhism’s historical spread from to and from to the West, adapting to local cultures.

The theological basis for this objective draws on Buddhism’s missionary tradition, exemplified by the Ashokan Edicts in the 3rd century BCE.

Buddhism’s unique lies in its , dialogue-oriented approach to new cultures, which has led to distinct such as and .

The doctrine of skilful means (upaya) urges Buddhists to adapt their practices to diverse cultural contexts, resonating with Africa’s rich cultural .

ACC’s new initiative, the Ubuntu and Interconnection project, will be documented in a forthcoming film and YouTube shorts.

This project emphasizes the philosophical and inter-cultural aspects of Buddhism’s integration into African life.

It explores how African people value in their daily lives and envision localized Buddhist practices.

The project’s name, “Ubuntu and Interconnection,” reflects the profound similarity between the African concept of “ubuntu” (in Zulu, “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”) and the Buddhist notion of radical interconnectedness.

This project, including an interview with South Africa’s consul-general in Hong Kong, Mojalefa Mogono, highlights how “I am because you, and we, are” Buddhist ideas like ’s Net.

It underscores the shared human experience of and the collective journey towards liberation.

“Ubuntu and Interconnection” will capture ACC’s pioneering efforts, revealing the challenges and progress in making Buddhism an integral part of African spiritual life.

References

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Rangjung Yeshe Institute - NP
Thubten Norbu Ling - Santa Fe
Institute of Buddhist Studies - US
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