19.06.2018 ►Los Angeles ►JAIN LECTURESHIP AT UCSB

Posted: 11.07.2018
Updated on: 14.07.2018

Los Angeles: 19.06.2018

Hitting a new milestone, the Jain Community of Southern California  promoted Jainism to a new level after the signing of the Bhagvan Vimalnath Lectureship that took place at the Jain Center of Southern California auditorium here on June 19. The Jain Studies lectureship will be set up at the University of California, 

Santa Barbara and a class is most likely to start this fall. The signing event was done in the presence of donors Dr Jasvant and Meera Modi and Dr. Narendra and Rita Parson. Dr Nitin Shah, emcee, welcomed all and asked the women to recite the traditional prayer ‘Navkar Mantra’ for the auspicious occasion.
Shah then explained the significance of the ‘Mantra’. “It is the most significant chant in Jainism. This is the first prayer recited by the Jains while meditating. While reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to the Panch Parameshti or the Supreme Five: Arihant— those who have destroyed the four inimical karmas; Siddha - the liberated souls; Acharyas - the spiritual leaders or preceptors; Upadhayaya - preceptor of less advanced ascetics; Sadhu - the monks or sages in the world. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings whom they believe are spiritually evolved, as well as to remind the people of their ultimate goal which is liberation.
He then went on to explain the purpose of the get together and called the signing a huge success. “As you all know we are here for the signing ceremony of another ‘Tirthankar’ lecturer in Jain Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is an important meet. We have already raised $ 50000 dollars and the check has been presented to the University which will now match the fund. This has been the fastest lectureship we have ever signed. The sponsors are Dr Jasvant and Meera Modi and Dr Narendra and Rita Parson. Importantly, we have established seven Chairs, professorships and lectureships in California in the last three years and Jasvant Modi is the fundraiser for all of them and has made it his mission. This is a five year commitment of $50,000 per year.”
The guests at the event were Dr. John Majewski, Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts; Dr. Kathleen Moore, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies; 
Dr. Jose Cabezon, The XIVth Dalai Lama Professor in Tibetan Buddhism and Cultural Studies, Department of Religious Studies; and Nicole Klanfer, Managing Senior Director, Development and also invited esteemed donors to light the auspicious lamp.
Majewski said, “We have 22 departments and programs in the humanities and fine arts at UCSB, offering 29 different undergraduate degrees. Today, we are very proud to be associated with the Jain Center. It is an amazing opportunity for us to partner with the community to promote Jainism. Non-violence, tolerance and other principles of Jainism keep us deeply informed; hence, we are grateful to the donors and the Jain community of Los Angeles for what they have done for us.”
 Moore pointed out, “In my five years there has been no occasion like this one. We are a large leading department of religious studies in the world. This lectureship of Jain studies adds another spectrum to our perspective. We are proud to enhance the role of religion studies across California.”
Finally Cabezon said, “It is a great pleasure to add Jainism to other cultures at UCSB. During my teachings, Buddhism automatically connects with Jainism. They are like cousin religions. Hence,  looking forward to my classes.”
The signing ceremony followed with much enthusiasm with around 50 community members in attendance. 
Modi thanked UCSB guests for coming a long way for a better cause. He pointed, “This is a good milestone in our Jain cultural history, which will be inked in history. In the long run it is a good stepping stone. Sikh studies have progressed nicely since they started and have become widely successful and we hope that we follow the same path. The University has accepted our proposal and endowment funds. We all know that Jainism is a 5000 year old religion that teaches good principles of life. Let us practice them.”​

Santa Barbara and a class is most likely to start this fall. The signing event was done in the presence of donors

Dr Jasvant and Meera Modi and Dr. Narendra and Rita Parson. Dr Nitin Shah, emcee

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