Claremont Lincoln University Opens - Starts With Study of Jainism

Posted: 22.09.2011

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India Journal


HISTORIC MILESTONE: Speakers, faculty and the Jain Community at the event on September 6.

BY K B NAIR

CLAREMONT, CA, 09/14/2011

The Claremont Lincoln University (CLU) was inaugurated on September 6 here in a dignified ceremony in the presence of faculty members from several institutions, community leaders, office bearers of International School for Jain Studies (ISJS) and the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA) from the US and India and a contingent of Jains from SoCal.

The convening partner of the new University is the Claremont School of Theology which comes from a long tradition of crossing boundaries in seminary education. The new University is designed to provide the highest quality education for religious leaders, scholars and professionals by immersing them in inter-religious curriculum and will welcome partners from all religions and ethical traditions. The first to join in this historic relationship is the Jain faith which was formally announced at the inauguration.

Dr. Sulekh Jain speaks on historic association of ISJS and JAINA with CL University

The University’s name honors artist and writer Joan and entrepreneur David Lincoln, in recognition of not only their financial gift of $50 million to establish CLU  but their thoughtfulness, humility and spirit in pursuit of a better world according to a spokesman of the new establishment.

The event commenced with a welcome address by Dr. Philip Clayton, Provost of Claremont Lincoln University who welcomed the audience and special guests from ISJS and JAINA from India and the US to the ‘birthday’ of the University and announced that and Letter of Understanding had been signed with JAINA to launch the historic partnership between CLU and the international Jain community.

This was immediately followed by a morning prayer by Pramoda Chitrabhanu, President of the Jain International Meditation Center in Mumbai and Director of the one in New York. Prof Dr. Christopher Chapple of Indic and Comparative Theology of LMU then traced the history of the religion from its beginnings and ended on a note stating he hoped its traditions and teachings would continue for another 2500 years.

Dr. Sulekh Jain Chairman Governing Council (ISJS) touched on the principles of Jainism which had influenced cultures in a big way in spite of it being a very small community. He also spoke on the growth of the Jain presence in the US which has grown to 125,000 in 30 years with 70 established places of worship. He added that ISJS was a creation of necessity to make good the shortage of teachers and students to promote Jain studies. He proceeded to outline some of the key programs of the ISJS

Rajen Dhami presents gifts to David Lincoln who donated $50 million to the University

Rajen Dhami, Trustee from the Jain Center of SoCal stated that it was committed to support the Jainism study program at CLU to ensure the growth and propagation of its philosophy of live, let live and anekantvada. He went on to touch on the history of the Jain Center and its various programs to promote the learning of Jainism through classes at the Centre and online education and extended an invitation to faculty and students to visit the Center and utilize its resources. He presented a painting of the Jain Bhilwara Temple, a replica of the Jain Center and a book of temples to David Lincoln.

David Lincoln, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Claremont Lincoln University whose generous gift helped establish the University expressed the need for cooperation and collaborations of secular organizations to solve world problems and hoped the University would help in this direction. Welcoming the Jain community to the fold he said the Institution would be very enhanced by its presence.

Dr. Shugan Jain, Chairman and MD of ISJS India reflected on the past seven years which had culminated in the association with the CLU. He welcomed those committed to Jain philosophy to the School and promised to extend its might and its resources and also provide any assistance in expanding its projects. Looking into the future, Dilip Shah, a Board member of ISJS added that Claremont Lincoln’s investment is indeed the biggest gift to Jainism and with the technology of today it opens many doors to promote its studies but that the work has just begun and it is up to them to come up with the material required to run its courses.

Others who also spoke were Rabbi Mel Gottlieb who welcomed the Jain Community, Amanda Pumphery who explained “The Raised Hand,” Tim Helton on The Art of Gift-Giving and Prof John Cobb on “Plurality, Practice and Possibilities”. Rev Jerry Campbell, President of Claremont Lincoln University ended the line of speakers with a warm welcome to its  partners in the relationship and added  he looked forward to many more associations in the future. 

Earlier in the program the lamp lighting ceremony was conducted by Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Rev Dr Jerry Campbell,David Lincoln, Dr Shugan Jain and Dr Sulekh Jain before which Brianne Donaldson explained the significance of the ritual. Scarves with monograms of both Institutions were also presented by Dr Shugan Jain to Dr Rev Jerry Campbell, Dr Philip Clayton, David Lincoln, Lynn O’Leary-Archer and Brianne Donaldson symbolically yoking the two establishments in their joint venture

Dr. Sulekh Jain, Chairman, Governing Council of ISJC told India Journal he was filled with joy with its association with CLU which he said is now the UN of religions with a mission to train leaders in different religions who would then go out and create a world of peace and harmony. He added that he would work hard to bring Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism to CLU as he feels the study of the Indian spiritual system will not be complete without the study of these three religions also.

When India Journal posed a question to David Lincoln on what prompted him to make his gift to start a inter-religious University he provided a very simple answer. He said “We need to learn how to get along with each other and that is the Golden Rule. So let us get all the religions working together and try to address the problems of the world, and religion is needed for that purpose.”

More information on Claremont Lincoln University is available at website www.claremontlincoln.org

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Claremont Lincoln University Opens - Starts With Study of Jainism