Zenji Nio - Standing up for Dalits & Untouchables
Babasaheb Ambedkar is the greatest champion Dalits have ever had. He said his supporters would "sacrifice everything" to use Buddhism to emancipate and empower Dalits -- and liberate them from the caste system. A great admirer of Babasaheb, Rev. Zenji Nio is the only India-connected Buddhist philanthropist to represent Buddhism at major events on the world stage, and was hailed by Times of India as "an eminent international thinker", by Hitavada as "a world-renowned Buddhist expert who travels the world promoting peace -- when he speaks, the world listens" and by a United Nations report as "a major figure in the Buddhist world". Having lectured alongside 14 major university professors, 3 Royal families, 10 Cabinet Ministers, 8 Senior Diplomats, 5 Padma Bhushan & Padma Shri Award-winners and invited to meet with 4 Prime Ministers & 2 Nobel Laureates, Nio also became the only Westerner to be given the highest honour of speaking at Deekshabhumi in Nagpur -- before millions of Dalits (Bahujans) at the sacred spot where Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism -- a seminal moment in the history of India and the cause of the Untouchables. Rev. Zenji Nio has also represented the World Buddhist Community at major forums and Official Govt. events in the US, Canada, Japan, India, Israel and worldwide -- and is unique in having lectured on Buddhism in every single Buddhist nation before every Buddhist demographic. Nio's lectures on Babasaheb Ambedkar at Nagpur University were called the "best lectures on the subject the university ever heard" by the esteemed faculty that presented him with a Special Award and Nio was also the keynote speaker on Ambedkar at the Times of India Conclave with Harvard University and Ambedkar International Mission Conference. Despite his busy schedule in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Canada and the US, Nio personally interacts with Ambedakarites of all backgrounds -- thereby having his finger on the pulse of the movement. When Rohith Vemula died, Rev. Zenji Nio conducted a special prayer service for him with his grieving mother in Nagpur, and has personally met with the top Ambedkarite influencers including the leader of the Bahujan movement - Japanese priest Bhante Sasai who admired Nio's expertise in Japanese Buddhism (as Nio has trained in many ancient temples of Japan from Kyoto to Koya-san).
Inspired by Ambedkar, Zenji Nio is also a fearless champion for human rights. In association with world-famous organizations linked to the great Nazi-Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, Nio organized and led landmark projects against Antisemitism - and was the first to involve an International Consortium of Multifaith leaders for the cause at both a National Conclave - as well as the 1st International Interfaith Commemoration of the Holocaust. Nio has also championed the marginalized -- and lent his support to the First Nations, Muslim & LGBTQ+ Communities as well as People with Disabilities (Zenji played a key role in getting Indian TV to broadcast the Paralympics which greatly boosted the confidence and success of Paralympic Athletes). In addition, Zenji was the first to give the issue of Kashmiri refugees a mainstream platform in North America -- and has raised millions for Indian charities -- from cleaning the environment to rural education -- never asking for even 1 dollar in return for his own Foundation.
Despite his totally selfless generosity to Hindu-run charities, Nio is often attacked by Hindutva Caste supremacists (termed "Mujahindus" by analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra) simply because Nio shows compassion for Dalits and Untouchables (Bahujans) -- having realized that most Hindus never want to even acknowledge, let alone address, the suffering of Dalits. While many moderate Hindus including the Indian PM Modi and FM Dr. Jaishankar have openly stated that Lord Buddha is "India's greatest ever Crown Jewel"-- and want India to be a beacon of morality and progress in the world -- there is unfortunately a very vocal group of 'Hindutva' revisionists and extremists/ Trads that have declared a propaganda war on Buddhism, Babasaheb, and all non-Hindu religions, in a crass and controversial way that even the Govt of India & moderate Hindus are embarrassed by. (There are many articles about the Hindutva Movement by the world's top media houses -- and even Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen -- that one can look up.) Furthermore, while most Hindus respect Lord Buddha and keep His statue in their homes, Hindutva trad extremists insult Lord Buddha in blasphemous ways -- as Buddhism is the cornerstone of the Ambedkarite Movement. The Hindutva Movement's most influential, controversial & hate-mongering ideologue Koenraad Elst (banned by every mainstream university worldwide) went so far as to urge Hindus to "Smash Buddha statues like the Taliban -- who 'showed the way' by Smashing the Bamiyan Buddhas" and not one Hindu objected -- instead, most joined this 'Mujahindutva' extremist in attacking Lord Buddha -- and Zenji Nio's team -- merely for supporting Ambedkarites, and giving an authentic voice to Buddhism. Such extremists taunt Dalits for being poor -- and also mock and cyber-bully them to the point of committing suicide. But Zenji Nio refuses to look the other way as he is inspired by such Lions among Men as Babasaheb Ambedkar and Simon Wiesenthal. Every major newspaper in the world has been profiling the plight of Dalits -- and caste supremacists are determined to slander anyone who challenges the 2000 year old social hierarchy of caste oppression. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/opinion/twitter-india-caste-trolls.html
The Govt of India wants to leverage Buddhism as India's soft power and Rev Zenji Nio is clearly the most well-connected Buddhist known to Indian influencers -- and in many ways, perhaps the only international Buddhist intricately familiar with what Dalits are dealing with in the new India. Zenji's teams in Japan, Taiwan and across Tiger Asia appreciate and reciprocate the Indian Govt's outreach to Buddhist nations -- but have been dismayed by the extent to which Hindutva trads and extremists attack and insult Dalits and Untouchables, their Champion Ambedkar, and their religion Buddhism. The Global Buddhist Diaspora, led by G7 Japan, thus has no choice but to redirect all India-based charitable funding, including a landmark project to clean up India's rivers -- and instead prioritize support for Dalits and Untouchables. For the best way to serve India is to empower and emancipate its most marginalized citizens. Japanese leaders like Ito Michiko even befriended the Dalit icon Phoolan Devi -- and the Japanese priest Bhante Sasai is the Leader of the Ambedkarite Movement in India. As Japan brought Buddhism back to India, and is India's closest ally, Zenji Nio's Tokyo based Foundation has decided to direct all resources and grants earmarked for India's poorest peoples strictly to Ambedkarite, Bahujan and Dalit initiatives. Empowering and emancipating Dalits is the surest way to serve India and humanity at large-- and many moderate Hindus including Cabinet Ministers & Diplomats support Nio's Mission in honor of India's greatest icons - Buddha and Babasaheb.
This Mission is noble and necessary - but not glamorous or trendy. Unfortunately, Caste Supremacists who want to maintain the 2000 year old status quo slander, cyber-bully and defame anyone who stands up for Dalits. Recently, they have teamed up with actual Neo-Nazis who resent Zenji Nio for combating antisemitism on an international scale -- and this diabolical team, indoctrinated in real Nazi ideology, is cyber-bullying the Dalit Lives Matter movement to uphold Caste oppression. (https://therevealer.org/hate-male/) However, Zenji Nio is blessed by Lord Buddha to have both the spiritual firepower as well as financial resources to not back down in the face of cyberbullies, Neo-Nazis and caste extremists -- and his international Buddhist network, led by economic superpower G7 Japan, is fully behind him in his bid to promote equal rights for Dalits. Soon enough, caste supremacists will realize they are on the wrong side of history. All Buddhists, all Indians, all moderate Hindus, all humanists, and all spiritual seekers know how oppressive the caste system is -- and why all those who stand against it, be it a Dalit in an Indian village, or a CEO in an office tower like Zenji Nio -- will be targeted and harassed. However, those who sit back and do nothing while evil flourishes -- are complicit by their silence. We dedicate our efforts towards the emancipation and empowerment of Dalits to Lord Buddha - and embrace the humanitarian spirit of Ambedkar in our activities. We also welcome support and suggestions from all in our efforts to stand up for the rights and dignity of Dalits and Untouchables -- despite the 2000 year old caste machinery that attacks all who seek reform. Our message to Dalits is "You are Not Alone", To see how you can help, please send us a message. Jai Bhim! Namo Amitabha! Namu Myoho Renge Kyo!