ISSJS 2009 Progress Report

Posted: 24.06.2009
Updated on: 03.07.2015


ISSJS 2009 Progress Report

  1. Mrs. Indu Jain, Chairman, Times of India group hosted a reception for the entire class (One month and two months) at her house.

  2. Later, a good size article appeared in Times of India about ISSJS under the title “ Jain Studies in times of conflict).


     


    Times News Network

    Jain Studies In Times Of Conflict

    IN a conflict-ridden world, where words like self-restraint and secularism are soon becoming elusive, the International School for Jain Studies (ISJS) has taken an initiative to spread the word of peace.

    Jainism, one of the ancient traditions of religion, philos­ophy and science, couldn't be more contemporary and rele­vant in the times we are living in. Taking its cue from there, what came up as an interesting theme of discussion at a recent meet of Jain scholars and students in the Capital, was that Jainism should not only be part of Indian and international academic studies, but it should also be pro­moted as a way of life.

    ISJS, formed in 2005, has just completed its first overseas one-month programme at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. In all, 17 students and scholars from three uni­versities of Bangkok and Tokyo attended the programme. Four summer schools have been organised to date, which has seen a steady increase in the number of participating students and scholars. Among its several other initiatives, ISJS is trying to institute scholarships for Jain scholars pursuing research.

    Shugan C Jain, director, International Summer School for Jain Studies (ISSJS), India, informed, "The reason behind the increasing participation is that we have been trying to address the inquisitiveness of foreign students." This year, 45 scholars and students from the US, Canada, Thailand, UK, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland will be attending a range of programmes. Padmanabha Jaini, pro­fessor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley, and a leading international scholar in Jain and Buddhist studies, will be teaching at ISSJS for a week and will also deliver several lectures (see box).

    Jaini, however, pointed out that Jainism should not be taught exclusively Instead, he said, it should be taught against a backdrop of Indian religion and culture. He fur­ther added that an integrated approach alone could help Jain studies to emerge as an academic discipline and also create opportunities in terms of jobs.

    At present, ISSJS will be conducting two study pro­grammes. The first is a month-long programme being held from May 24 to June 23 and the second is a two-month pro­gramme, which is being held from May 30 to July 19.

    Ezra Rashkow is here to attend a two-month course on Jain studies. All set to teach history at the University of Virginia, US, in the near future, Rashkow feels that the course will help him gain insight into the complexities of South Asian religion and history. What particularly inter­ests him is the element of Ahimsa that is the prevailing phi­losophy of Jain studies.

    Alden Hearn and Andersen Beckmann, both undergrad­uates from the North Carolina State University, US, are here to attend ISSJS' one-month programme. Students of religious studies, they feel that this programme will help them put things in perspective.

    Salvador Bolvoa, Jain scholar and entrepreneur, from the University of Tokyo, summed up the meet by saying that Jain scholars tend to restrict Jain studies to an elite group. He stressed that there was an urgent need to make it wide­ly available as well as application-oriented. He added, "There are certain values in Jainism that have a universal import and they need to be rendered into operational tools."

    On a concluding note, distinguished scholars present at the meet agreed that the core philosophy of Jain studies - Ahimsa (non-violence), Anekantavada (the multifaceted nature of truth) and Aparigraha (non-attachment to possessions) - should be practiced in the area of gover­nance. Also, it was noted that the Indian youth, in the spirit of Jainism, should be taught to look after one's home, workplace and government with equal commitment and concern. References were made to the Times Foundation's Sahabhagi (participatory governance) initiative which calls for active youth involvement. Also, thoughts were presented on future involvement of ISJS to realise the essence of Jain studies through active social and political participation.

    For more information visit www.jainstudies.org or write to svana@vsnl.com

     



  3. The One month long ISSJS 2009 just ended and the students are on their way to home. Tow month long program is in session and will end on July 22.

I am glad to inform you that we very successfully completed the program yesterday (June 22nd). The last two days I (delivered three lectures of 2 hours each and the fourth session was questions and answers. It was a very lively session and everyone including I enjoyed and learned a lot from this session. In the end we had a closing ceremony and distributed certificates of completion to all participants. No misses or dropouts this year.

Dr. Shugan Chand Jain

 

 
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Dr. Sulekh C. Jain