Ambedkar's death happened a few months after his conversion to Buddhism, in which he also converted 500,000 of his supporters from the Dalit ("untouchable") caste. The revival of Buddhism in contemporary India through the Dalit Buddhist movement owes much to this event.
I expect the essay contains points of contention both for some Buddhists and some Marxists, but is a stirring and stimulating read nonetheless . Amedkar's concludes that "The differences are about the means. The end is common to both."
In relation to private property, Ambkar quotes from the Mahanidana Sutta:
"I have said that avarice is because of possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Where there is no possession of any sort or kind whatever by any one or anything, then there being no possession whatever, would there, owing to this cessation of possession, be any appearance of avarice? " 'There would not. Lord".
'Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of varice, to wit, possession.'
31. 'I have said that tenacity is the cause of possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Were there no tenacity of any sort or kind whatever shown by any one with respect to any thing, then there being whatever, would there owing to this cessation of tenacity, be any appearance of possession? ' 'There would not. Lord.'
'Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of possession, to wit tenacity. '"
Of course, the Buddha was talking about much more than physical possession or ownership and Marx's focus was on who own the means of production, but the point is a cogent one:
How much easier would the spiritual path be if there were no need for possessions, of knowing that it was not necessary to hoard property for the sake of the security of one's self or loved ones? If we could all live live like monks in the sense of knowing that one's basic material needs would be looked after for by the community in which one lives.
Imagine no possessions.....