IN MEMORY OF REV. AMITA SUVIDYA GAUTAM
Suvidya died in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 28 April 2021 after suffering from a fever.
The Amida Order has been supporting the Ambedkarite community for more than a decade. When Dharmavidya and Prasada were invited to spend time in Delhi they saw a way to engage as Buddhists and to contribute in a way to improve the lives of some of the people they encountered. The Amida Delhi project developed into a thriving community over time. Modgala, Sahishnu, and a number of trained volunteers would spend some time teaching English to the women and children. In addition, they would hold services and teach the Dharma from a Pureland perspective.
Suando, and then her husband Suvidya, along with Sudoshin met Sahishnu and was inspired by her. He took her to a Buddhist book store where they found all sorts of Buddhist books in Hindi. From then on, Suvidya carried on helping Sahishnu, agreeing to everything that she asked for even if he didn’t understand a word that she was saying.
Suvidya was born into the lowest caste in India. I have come to discover that we do not know his actual birthday because members of the dalit community do not register their birth with the registry office. He was given this date as his birthday because when he ordained in the Amida Order we tried, in vain, to issue him a visa to travel to England to train at the Buddhist House. In order for us to apply for a visa he needed a passport and in order for him to apply for a passport, he needed a date of birth. This situation is not uncommon amongst the poorest of the poor.
Suando and Sudoshin were equally inspired and ordained as gankonens. The situation for women in the Amida Delhi community is one of the worst I’ve come across. Suando does not have any documentation to prove her existence nor was she taught how to read or write. When Sahishnu met Suvidya and Suando they would move from place to place. Suvidya was always working, doing anything for anyone just to keep a roof over their heads. It was hand to mouth existence like none we have seen in the West.
He admired and respected what Sahishnu and Modgala were doing as priests and ordained as a Buddhist priest in 2014 in the Order of Amida Buddha. As a gankonen, Suando supported him in his duties, and she and Sudoshin would have been ordained as ministers too, had women been permitted by their own community to lead as well as having fair knowledge of English. The three of them devoted their lives to care for the poor in their community.
On behalf of the Amida Order, I wish to express our gratitude to Suvidya
for all the love and compassion that he showed the world. We shall keep his gentle and loving spirit alive in our memories of him. –Susthama
We are appealing for funding support to Suvidya’s family. His youngest son has expressed a wish to carry on in Suvidya’s footsteps and to support the Amida Delhi community. Every little bit helps and we would like to do whatever we can to support him and the Amida Delhi community.
If you would like to make a donation, we would be very grateful.