Buddhism and Marginality in Translation among Ambedkarites in East Asia

As Ambedkarite Buddhists have increasingly migrate outside India in the past thirty years, they interact with other Buddhist traditions and socio-political contexts that prompt new considerations of Buddhism and marginality. Ambedkar’s rationalist vision of Buddhism focused on social transformation, explicitly responding to caste-based discrimination in modern India. Ambedkarite Buddhists carry on this legacy while exploring further what Buddhism means to them. Over the past thirty years, they have found new inspiration and challenges through increased contact with Buddhists from Japan and Taiwan, and as Ambedkarites migrate to East Asia and beyond. When cross-cultural, inter-sectarian Buddhist encounters occur, what happens to the idea of social equality, which Ambedkarites historically viewed in terms of caste difference in India and now adjust to reckon with new experiences of ethnic difference? How do people reckon the idea of “Buddhism” function as a universal religion (valid for everyone) with the context-sensitive visions of equality and experiences of marginality as they move across cultural contexts?