ISJS, The Preferred Global Centre For Jain Studies

Posted: 13.04.2010
Updated on: 02.07.2015

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The unique experiment ‘ISJS’ to take the academic studies of Jainism to the universities of the world was launched in January 2005. in 2009 ISJS made significant progress and expanded its reach in India and abroad. The graph below shows the progress in terms of the participants who have benefitted by our International Summer School for Jain Studies (ISSJS) programs so far.

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Figure Scholars Enrolment in ISSJS
For 2010, registered and likely to attend

Originally the Indian program was designed for a two month summer stay in India at different places of interest for Jainism (and way of life) to provide a comprehensive and experiential exposure to the visiting scholars. A typical ISSJS program included over 100 class room lectures by eminent Jain scholars, visits to temples, monks and nuns, laity, rituals, pilgrim places and social welfare organizations run by Jains.

With the growing class sizes and diverse interests of the participants, the classes for 2009 ISSJS were split into two tiers; one for the starters (of four weeks duration) who had little exposure to Jain studies and the other for advanced graduates and faculty members (of seven weeks duration) who had prior good experience of Jain studies /research/ teaching. The two tier programs demonstrated greater interest and better learning of the participants in this strenuous program. In 2009 another program was started at Mahidol University Bangkok Thailand. It was a combined program for all the participants (starters to middle and faculty).

For 2010, another specially designed program for University of Ottawa, Canada was added, thus leading to four (4) stand alone ISSJS programs. In addition, based on the feedback from past participants, the 4 week Introduction to Jainism programs(for starters) and the 7 week advance Jainism program (for faculty and Graduate Scholars) were reduced to 3 weeks and 6 weeks respectively.

The response for admission for ISSJS2010 was overwhelming. Due to the physical facility constraints in India (in terms of accommodation), a significant number of applicants have been asked to wait for future. ISSJS2010 will be the biggest ever with a total of 60 undergraduate and graduate students, senior faculty and research scholars attending the programs.


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- Living beings help each other -

 

The year 2009 was also dedicated by ISJS to network the Indian university systems with the ISSJS program and to provide a linkage to the already developed network of foreign universities for exchange of Jain scholarship.

The following new initiatives were successfully launched and implemented in 2009-10:

  1. Holding of Ten National seminars at Indian Universities on ‘Social Consciousness and Jainism’.

  2. Establishment of an offshore ISJS campus at Mahidol University Bangkok Thailand

  3. Inviting Jain scholars from Abroad to teach at ISJS programs in India.

  4. Setting up the year round Ecumenical and Research Centre at Varanasi

  5. ISSJS alumni scaling new heights.

  6. Miscellaneous.

 

     

a. Holding Ten National Seminars on Social Consciousness and Jainism in India (from February 15th to March 8th 2010).

The year 2009-10 was dedicated to network ISJS with the Indian universities. The reason was to develop an international network of universities either engaged in Jain studies now or are keen to do so in near future. The objective was to create a corpus of knowledge and researchers for international exchange and build a faculty resource base for ISSJS programs. Accordingly it was decided to organize a series of ten national seminars on Social Consciousness and Jainism as per schedule given below. The topics were chosen to build a corpus of knowledge on the subject to negate/counter some prevailing perception that Jainism as a religion mostly emphasizes detachment only and hence of little practical value for day to day life.

 

Place

Institution/University

Coordinator

Papers

Participants

Theme read

Jaipur

Rajasthan University Centre for Advanced Studies

Prof. Kusum Jain

6

50

Phil, History

Nagpur

RTS Nagpur University

Prof. B. C. Jain, Mrs Manju Jain

6

80

History, health

Mumbai

Mumbai University

Prof. M. Katarnikar

8

50

Phil, M/Eco

Mumbai

Somaiya Vidhya Vihar

Dr. Geeta Mehta

10

60

Orgs, Eco, phil

Bangalore

Jain University

Prof. Choodamani

10

65

Art, ethics

Chennai

Univ of Madras

Prof. Priya Jain

10

70

Orgs, social

Indore

Kunda Kunda Gyanpeeth

Prof. Anupam Jain

8

50

Eco/M/Social

Varanasi

Parshwanath Vidhyapeeth

Dr. S.P.Pandey

10

50

Phil, ethics

Moradabad

T. Mahaveer Univ,

Prof. R.C.Mittal

6

75

Sc. & religion

Delhi

LBS Sanskrit Vidhyapeeth

Prof. V.S.Jain

10

60

Phil, org, edu

 

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- Non violence is the supreme spiritual virtue -


These seminars were appreciated by all (participating universities, experts presenting the papers and attendees including local Jain luminaries) as the subjects chosen were unique and met the current needs of all. These seminars resulted in many universities showing keen interest in extending cooperation with ISJS and seeking its assistance in providing them international exposure and enhance Jain studies at their universities.

All the papers presented at the above Seminars are being compiled for publication by year end.

These seminars also provided encouragement to new and young scholars to conduct further research in Jainism. Three scholarships of Rs 50000 each per annum were also instituted by Jain community to support PhD students for conducting research on Jain archaeology and history outside India.

Formal agreements of cooperation with six Universities have been made already. As a result, ISSJS2010 Classes will be conducted and participants housed at two of the Universities (Somaiya Vidhya Vihar Mumbai University and Teerthankar Mahaveer University). In 2011, ISJS is also planning to hold ISSJS 2011 classes at University of Madras as well.

b. An offshore ISSJS campus at Mahidol University Bangkok Thailand

For the first time a four week ISSJS program in 2009 was conducted at Mahidol University in Bangkok Thailand, at their Dept of Rural Development and languages. Director of the department, Prof. Sophona Srichampa coordinated the program and offered all facilities of the university to ISSJS. The program was inaugurated by India’s Ambassador to Thailand. Also a month long exhibition of famous Jain temples in the world was organized there. Seventeen (17) participants from all over Thailand attended the program. The academic lectures and discussions were also supplemented with visits to local Jain temples and performing the pujas there. The program was appreciated by all resulting in the second ISSJS at the same university will be organized from April 25th to May 15th 2010.

c. Inviting Jain scholars from ABROAD to teach at ISSJS programs.

In 2009, Prof. P.S.Jaini (Professor Emeritus University of California Berkley USA), a distinguished Jain scholar, was invited to teach at ISSJS2009. He spent a fortnight at ISSJS2009 teaching for a full week and also conducting seminars at Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Mumbai for Jain and academic communities. His lectures were greatly appreciated by ISSJS2009 participants as well as the attendees of the seminars. ISJS benefitted tremendously from his gift of time and knowledge to ISSJS program.

In 2010, ISJS has invited a world famous academician and a management guru, Prof. Dipak Jain, ex Dean of Kellogg School of Business (North Western University Chicago, USA). He will be teaching the classes on and also deliver Public Lecture on 5th June, 2010 in New Delhi.

d. Establishment of the Year Round Ecumenical and Research Centre at Varanasi, U.P. India

ISJS and Parshwanath Vidyapeeth have now established the first Centre of Excellence where scholars from abroad can come, spend short periods of a week to several months and utilize the boarding-lodging library and academic ambience at Parshwanath Vidyapeeth for study, research, field work, write books and papers as well as interact with ISJS faculty for mutual benefit. Director ISJS has been appointed as its Chairman. Prof S. L. Jain, ex Dean Faculty of Arts Banaras Hindu University, has been appointed as the director of this centre. More such centres at Mumbai, Moradabad, Hastinapur and Indore are in planning stages.

 

- Forgiveness is the jewel of braves -

 

 

e. Significant Achievements Of ISSJS Alumni

  • Prof Natalia Zheleznova, ISSJS2007 alumnus was decorated by Kunda Nunda Bharati, New Delhi with their highest award (and most valued Rs 500,000) on March 7th 2010. The award was presented by Ms. Sonia Gandhi for her research on Acharya ‘Kunda Kunda’. She is a research scholar at Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia.
  • Dr Nathan Loewen, an alumnus of ISSJS2007, completed his PhD from McGill and is a faculty member at the same university and a local college. He returns to ISSJS2010 for further research.
  • Dr Andrea Jain ISSJS2006, alumnus successfully completed her PhD and joins Indiana University of USA as a faculty.

  • Dr Pankaj Jain ISSJS2006, alumnus joins University of North Texas as faculty member.

  • Ms. Leah Costello, ISSJS2009 alumnus delivering motivating lectures and getting ISSJS programs recognized by her university.

  • Ms. Ellen Gough, ISSJS2008 alumnus, was awarded the best MA paper by SOAS of University of London, U.K. in March, 2010. She is now enrolled in PhD program at Yale University in USA.

  • Ms Kathleen Awahoshi, an ISSJS2007 alumnus, successfully launched her CD on Navakar mantra.

  • Some ISSJS alumni are nominating ISSJS as their preferred centre of education for prestigious scholarships.


f. Miscellaneous

  • American Institute of Indian Studies regularly brings large batches of Students and faculty from American universities to ISJS for a day long orientation on Jainism. This year two batches of 28 each from Universities of Colorado and North Carolina State benefitted from ISJS programs.

  • Revised ISJS Study Notes with ten more papers (a total of about 600 Pages) are being published.

  • In March 2010, ISJS cosponsored Conference on Jain Yoga at SOAS, University of London. European academicians and students evinced keen interest to get benefit from ISJS.

  • Several journals, like Jin Manjari and Arhat Vachan carried special editions of papers by ISSJS alumni.

  • By the time we finish our ISSJS2010 programs, we will have 180 alumni from 20 universities of fifteen countries attended and benefitted from ISSJS programs.

ISJS is getting recognized in the academic community world over for Jain Studies. The niche of ISJS continues to be its experiential approach in understanding and enhancing Jain academic studies. We are continually striving for academic excellence.

ISJS looks for your continued patronage and enthusiastic support for its activities to make Jain principles of Ahinsa, Aparigraha and Anekanta make a positive contribution to humanity at large. This will be the biggest prabhavana of Lord Mahavira’s doctrine.

 

Jai Jinendra

Shugan C. Jain

- An act performed never goes waste -


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