An Invitation To Join Us & Build Temples Of Learning Jinvani (Gnan Mandirs)

Posted: 23.12.2010

Jain Brothers and sisters,

Jai Jinendra and happy holidays and new year.

 

AN INVITATION TO JOIN US & BUILD TEMPLES OF LEARNING JINVANI (GNAN MANDIRS)

Samyagdarśanjñānacāritrāṇi moksamārgah ̣ TS1.1

Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct all together constitute the path to liberation.

 

Over several millennia, Jainism and Jain traditions have made enormous contributions to Indian psyche and to the Indian-ness. The 3As of Jainism i.e. Ahinsa (non-violence), Anekant (Pluralism) and Aparigraha (non –possessiveness) can be an enormous force for enhancing the wellbeing of human society world-wide. Unfortunately, Jainism is least known and most misunderstood not only outside India but in India as well. This is even more so in places of higher learning such as in colleges and universities of the world. Study of Jainism has significantly lagged behind any other religion.  When Jain youths go to college, it is not easy to find colleges and universities that offer classes, teaching and research in Jainism.

In 2005 a major step was taken in this direction by a few concerned Jains to promote Jain education at academic campuses around the world.  We began with a dream and a promise. The dream was to bring Jain academic studies in limelight at global level and the promise was to create, innovate, and never give up until we have achieved it. International School for Jain Studies (ISJS) program stands as a leader and a role model in Jain academic education. This program is interconnected with JAINA’s goals and JAINA Academic Liaison Committee. Five (5) past presidents of  JAINA, Two (2) current Vice presidents, Four (4) recipients of  JAINA Ratan awards and many visionary leaders along with nearly a dozen academicians from that many universities in North America are actively involved with their full commitment, activism and support.

In this short span, this program has grown from only seven participants in first course offering to nearly nine course offerings  now  and 190 alumni of undergraduate, graduate, Post Docs and full time faculty (more than 120 from North America alone)  from 14 countries and 22 universities. During this period, ISJS has achieved some phenomenal success.  Profs. Padmanabh Jaini (UC Berkeley), Christopher Chapple (Loyola Marymount U), Anne Vallely (U of Ottawa) and Dipak Jain (Kellogg School of Business) have taught classes at this school.  Dr. Jeffrey Long (author of a college level text book on Jainism and Professor at Elizabethtown College, PA) will be teaching ISJS classes in 2011.  In August 2010, University of Ottawa organized a one full day seminar on Jainism. In October, Atlanta Jain Sangh hosted dinner cum “Meet and Greet” event for more than 40 academics teaching Jainism at various universities in North America.  Several universities are now offering regular courses in Jainism and more are being planned.  Some ISJS alumni are now enrolled in PhD programs and some return to India to study Prakrit and do their research work in Jainism.  A good number of research papers and books on Jainism have already started coming out. A few month ago, a set of 500 Jain books (some of them rare) were donated to Eastern Connecticut State University Library, in Willimantic, CT. This is just a beginning.

This program is a game changer and this initiative has already become an active agent of change in India as well as overseas. For more information please visit our website www.jainstudies.org . This and other such programs are truly the Jin Vani mandirs. While we have come this far, there is still much work to be done and we have a long way to go. To do this, we need your help.

In order to establish many Jin Vani (Gnan Mandirs) we need a much bigger and wider participation by the Jain community. To begin with, we need volunteers - dedicated Jains, who fully believe, subscribe and take co-ownership of the ISJS program and its growth. This core group will be the builders of Jain Gnan Mandirs around the globe and particularly in North America. This email is to seek such people. There is no age, gender and status bar but we need like minded people who are willing and committed to making a difference by their active participation. Today, we have a golden opportunity.

Please send your name, address, phone # and email address. Based on your level of expertise and interest, we will discuss what roles you can play and duties you can undertake. 

Thank you and Jai Jinendra.

 

Please contact:

Source/Info

Dr. Sulekh Jain

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