Is Jainism the Need of the 21st Century?
The inception of Jainism lies in the belief of purity of soul. The word Jain is derived from a Sanskrit word ji meaning ‘to conquer’. Jainism, thus, is conquering over self.
Jains, for many millennia, have believed in meditation, yoga, compassion for animals, vegetarianism, environmentalism, equal rights for all living beings, respect for other cultures and forgiveness among many other virtues. Laced with many virtues, Jainism is now also considered a way of life that many people out of India too are following.
When JAINA recently hosted its 20th biennial convention, themed ‘Celebrating Jain Religion in the 21st century’, it knew why it was doing so. Founded in 1981, JAINA, a non-profit umbrella organisation of more than 70 North American centres and temples in the USA and Canada, partnered with the Jain Centre of Southern California and Jain Centre for Los Angeles. The convention became a way to propagate the principals of Jainism in today world which needs it almost on an immediate basis.
Without any media suggesting us so, we keep experiencing the horrid lifestyles we are leading now. Keeping the various global mishaps and accidents aside, people have suddenly become short tempered, have low patience, are more prone to diseases than ever, etc. Jainism, they say, gives a solution to all these vices if practiced in daily lives.
“Can having a control over our tongues help some people?” “Can letting some common animals around us live happily solve some matters?” “Can not indulging in sensual pleasure help us?” “Can performing our duties well before asking for fundamental rights help a country grow?” among many others. Think and try to derive to an answer to such questions and you’d have understood the principals of Jainism, the need of this hour!
This incredibly successful convention was held in the founding city of Los Angeles from 4 to 7 July 2019, highlighting diverse topics related to the Jain Way of Life, along with devotion, compassion and transformation while creating many opportunities for exchange of ideas, dialogue and concerted actions on global issues. In addition to many cultural events and sessions on Jain principles and Jain virtues, the attendees also explored ways to promote devotion, compassion and transformation. It took eight months for the Conveyor, Mahesh Wadher, and Co-conveyors, Drs Jasvant Modi and Nitin Shah, along with the team to plan, design, and construct the convention centre space.
The 3,500 attendees also learnt the reason why Jainism is important in the 21st century. It is not just a religion but also a way of life, a concept a lot of people all around the world are showing interest to follow. Jainism allows you to form good habits and disciplined life, and teaches you the way to reach eternal happiness. Jains are among the most religious, educated, successful and richest group of people on this Earth because of their practices. They believe everything has a soul, and we with our habits can let each of them live peacefully.
Not just learning the principles and importance, this convention has also helped people making new friends, new business connections; not to forget many meeting someone special they had never met before.
A blessing in disguise, for sure!
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