JAINA News ►Mahavir Jayanti ►2011.04 Newsletter

Posted: 16.04.2011
Updated on: 30.07.2015

JAINA.org April 2011 Newsletter

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In This Newsletter...

  • The Birth of the Spiritual Leader Who Gave Us Ahimsa  - By: Gary Francione
  • Significance of Mahavir Jayanti Celebration, 2011 - By: F. J. Dalal
  • Chalo Houston - JAINA Convention - Houston July 1-4, 2011
  • Free JAINA Calendar
  • Innovative Jain Projects in North America - Poster Presentation At JAINA 2011 Convention, Houston TX - July 1-4 2011
  • Boy Scouts of America and JAINA
  • 108 Jain Stavans on YouTube
  • Rise of the Power Vegans - By: Joel Stein, Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov. 4, 2010
  • Jainism and Veganism: Ahimsa in the Modern World - By: Dilip V. Shah

I went to a 25th anniversary party recently.  Little known to the guests was that the delicious food catered was 100% vegan.  No one could tell the difference between Vegan and Non-Vegan Indian food. Over the past few years Veganism is taking hold.  Gurudev Chitrabhanuji is passionately encouraging YJA, JAINA, and Jain Centers to serve only Vegan meals at functions. Pravin Shah, Chairman of JAINA Education and Saurabh Dalal of Washington DC,  president of the local Vegetarian Society took up this cause a decade ago.  Joining them more recently is Prof. Gary Francione and JAINA's past president, Dilip Shah. This year JAINA established a Vegan Project team to educated Jains on this subject.  However, Jain Centers are very slow to embrace Veganism.  In this Mahavir Jayanti issue, there are two articles on this subject.  Share your thoughts.. at www.jaina.org forum.

Editor: Yogendra Jain, JAINA VP-NE/Long Range Planning Committee

Mahavir Jayanti - Saturday April 16th - Celebrate it!

The Birth of the Spiritual Leader Who Gave Us Ahimsa
(By: Gary Francione,  Distinguished Professor of Law and Philosophy  at Rutgers Univ.)

Although many are aware of the Buddha or the deities of Hinduism, few of us know anything about Mahavir (599-527 BCE), whose birth the Jain community around the world will celebrate on April 16. This celebration is known as Mahavir Jayanti. Read more...

Significance of Mahavir Jayanti Celebration, 2011
(By: F. J. Dalal)
Birthday Celebration of MAHAVIR, The Fou nder of Jainism according to Modern History, will be celebrated by JAINS and Others around the world.  Traditional Jains consider him as the 24th Tirthankar, The Purified Soul.  He came to the rescue of People in India, torn apart by Violence over 2500 years ago.  Battles were being fought amongst Kings and Animal Sacrifices were carried on by Hindus, The Religious People of Blind Faith.  He left the Kingdom and Family in search of Truth behind the Suffering of People. Read more..

Chalo Houston - JAINA Convention - Houston July 1-4, 2011
One of the greatest events for Jains worldwide is the JAINA Convention.  If you have not been to these in the past where as many as 6000 Jains attend, then you are missing an incredible event.  Your children will be awed by meeting 100’s of other kids their same age sharing the same values.  Young families will find many sessions which will strengthen their faith and knowledge in Jainism and help them raise their kids with a strong JWOL (Jain Way of Life) foundation. There are activities for people of all ages.  In India you would stretch to get their glimpse of great Jain scholars and monks.  However, here at the convention you can have one on one discussions with them.  It’s not all serious stuff.  The convention evenings are highly entertaining. This is expected to be one of the best planned and entertaining convention.  If you have never been to one - you must join this.  For more information, visit  Chalo Houston.

Free JAINA Calendar
Due to limited supply and merging of several databases to avoid wastage and duplication, some of you did not receive the JAINA Calendar.  Our apologies.  To insure that you do get it next time, be sure to update your profile on www.JAINA.org.

Innovative Jain Projects in North America - Poster Presentation
At JAINA 2011 Convention, Houston TX - July 1-4 2011
JAINA is inviting Jains of all ages to showcase their projects at the JAINA Conventions. Projects must be based on Jain and Jain Way of Life related topics and the project content must be author's or team's original work.
Sample projects can include: 1) Book, 2) Web site, 3) Community project, 4) Interfaith video, 5) Audio/Video content, 5) Jain Unity, 6) Unique Temple Architecture, 7) Board and Video Games, 8) Mobile/Web Applications, etc.  This is a tremendous opportunity to share your projects/accomplishments with over 4000 expected attendees.

Click here for more information.

Boy Scouts of America and JAINA
BEGIN THE ADVENTURE:  The program offers Awards, Emblems and Medals from ages 8 and above, spanning both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  Projects abound with potentials fulfilling both leadership and community service requirements for those seeking a well balanced High School portfolio.
Bring the best of both the JAIN principles and the Scouting experiences together to share the strengths for developing youth with confidence, character and excellent attitudes. REGISTER NOW. JOIN TODAY.
visit: www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/ReligiousAwards.aspx
visit: www.jaina.org/scouting
or contact: sanjay.jain(at)bmc.org

108 Jain Stavans on YouTube
Recently 108 Jain Stavan Videos were uploaded on Youtube.com. Below is the list of all the stavans, please click on the title to play the video. Alternatively, you can go to YouTube and search for Jain Stavans.

Did You Update Your On-Line Profile on http://www.jaina.org/link.asp?e=editors@herenow4u.de&job=@@email_job_id@@&ymlink=504097&finalurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ejainlink%2Eorg%2Fwww.JAINA.org?  
Over 4000  members have registered  and have updated their profile.  Welcome.  If you have not updated your profile, please register on-line.  Your profile is confidential and will be used in updating the next North America Jain Directory.

Rise of the Power Vegans
By: Joel Stein, Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov. 4, 2010
It used to be easy for moguls to flaunt their power. All they had to do was renovate the chalet in St. Moritz, buy the latest Gulfstream(GD) jet, lay off 5,000 employees, or marry a much younger Asian woman. By now, though, they've used up all the easy ways to distinguish themselves from the rest of us—which may be why a growing number of America's most powerful bosses have become vegan. Steve Wynn, Mort Zuckerman, Russell Simmons, and Bill Clinton are now using tempeh to assert their superiority. As are Ford Executive Chairman of the Board Bill Ford (F), Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, venture capitalist Joi Ito, Whole Foods Market (WFMI) Chief Executive Officer John Mackey, and Mike Tyson. Yes, Mike Tyson, a man who once chewed on human ear, is now vegan. His dietary habit isn't nearly as impressive as that of Alec Baldwin, though, who has found a way to be both vegan and fat at the same time. Read more...

Jainism and Veganism: Ahimsa in the Modern World
By: Dilip V. Shah, JAINA Past President
Veganism is embraced by some, misunderstood by some, and resisted by others in the Jain Community. The primary tenet of Jainism is Ahimsa, or non-violence. Bhagwan Mahavir’s message in the Acharanga Sutra is clear:  "all breathing, exist ing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.” The central philosophy of Jainism and veganism are not only similar but also complimentary and in pursuit of an Ahimsak life, Jains should respect and embrace veganism.

According to The Vegan Society of the U.K., "a vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals—no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk, pearl and other animal products.” Donald Watson of The Vegan Society, who combined the beginning and end of the word "vegetarian,” symbolizing that veganism is the logical conclusion of the vegetarian journey to avoid animal suffering and death, coined the word "vegan” in 1944.

Vegans recognize that as an ethical matter, milk, even "organic” or "hu mane” milk is inherently a product of violence. Some people believe that milk production in India is still humane but the truth is otherwise. If you are not sure about this, you should visit a dairy farm or read about it in Pravin K. Shah’s My Visit to a Dairy Farm, which is archived in the Jain collection at Harvard University and can be found at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/ahimsa/dairy.htm

The meat and milk industries are inextricably linked; they are two sides of the same violent coin. Cost of beef is subsidized by the sale of milk and leather. All livestock in a dairy farm are predestined for the slaughter house: new born male calves for veal within six months of birth and the remaining female cows by the age of five years w hen milk production starts to decrease. The natural life span of a cow is more than 20 years. Dairy cows are often fed ground up fish and bone, routinely injected with hormones, repeatedly impregnated for continuous milk production and separated from their calves very shortly after birth.  There can be no doubt that the production of dairy, however "humane” we may try to make it, will always involve violence to five-sensed creatures (Panchandriyas). Moreover, milk production is a tremendous burden on the environment; it takes a great deal of grain, water and energy to produce dairy products, and there are many harmful consequences of waste and pollution that result.

Some Jains point to scriptures, which indicates that Tirthankaras consumed some milk products. It must be remembered, however, at that time there was no intensive or "factory” farming. Moreover, at that time, there were no massive distribution systems or storage systems for grains and other agricu ltural products. So taking small amounts of locally produced fresh dairy products may have represented the minimum amount of Himsa necessary given conditions then. Cows were treated as revered members of the family and ox were used in farming.  The animals were not killed even when they stopped producing milk or stopped working in the fields.  We cannot be certain of all the conditions of those days but we know for sure that things are very different now.  According to Jain theory, milk and milk products are considered Vigayee or Maha-Vigavee and are prohibited during Aymbil. Therefore, eliminating (or minimizing) the use of milk or milk products is not a strange or alien concept to Jains.

There are now convenient and tasty substitutes for milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter and ghee, as well as alternatives to leather, silk, wool, pearls, etc.  American Dietetic Association has a position paper that explains how vegan diets help manage and reduce chro nic degenerative disease like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity and others. Although vegan ideals are becoming more common among Jain youth, the older, more tradition-minded generation resists it. We have to examine our himsa footprint in everything we consume. Vegan theory is closest to Jain ideals and a step ahead of just being vegetarian. Veganism is a natural expression and expansion of our highest ideals of Ahimsa. There is no other religion or philosophy that comes closer to the jain philosophy of non-violence as ethical veganism does. When we understand the true basis of their belief as Jiv Daya, we must develop respect for their commitment and embrace vegans as our soul mates.

For comments and contribution, please send to Contact us on www.jaina.org

www.JAINA.org is an on-line Jain community developed in collaboration with JAINA, Jain Centers, and YJA.

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