Donation of a Jaina Research Library to CfJS.FU

Posted: 26.04.2012
Updated on: 30.07.2015

In April 2012, Center for Jaina Studies at Freie Universität Berlin (CfJS.FU) received a donation of several hundreds of books, journals and magazines on Jainism and related fields of Indology by Pierre Paul Amiel. Mr. Amiel is a renowned expert in Jainism  and author of several books and papers on Jain religion from Nice, France. It is due to his work that knowledge on Jainism was spread among French public. To support Jaina studies in Berlin he gave his complete library and archive on Jainism to CfJS.FU. In conjunction with an earlier donation of books by Prof. Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah from Bangalore, these books will form a valuable research library.

His generous donation is a good reason to give tribute to Pierre Paul Amiel and his significant contribution of spreading the knowledge of Jain religion and faith to a broad audience in the western world, epecially in France, where Jainism is nearly unknown.

Dr. Sulekh Chand Jain writes about Mr. Amiel in his essay titled Jains Today In The World - Pierre Paul Amiel, France:

In 1993, in the course of the biennial convention of JAINA in Pittsburgh, Mr. Pierre Amiel was introduced to me. For many years he was already in communication with Dr. S.A.B. Kumar, the editor of Jain magazine "Jinamañjari in Canada. Dr. Kumar invited Mr. Amiel to take part in that convention. Pierre Amiel who had before numerous contacts with Mr. Satish Kumar Jain, Secretary general of "Ahiṁsā International" in New Delhi, was highly impressed by the JAINA convention. In America, he also attended the "pratiṣṭha' of the temple at Bartlett (Illinois) and met the Bhattaraka Davendra Keerti Ji from Humcha.

Passionate about India and its spirituality, Pierre Amiel has shown a profound interest in the religions of that country and especially in Jainism. On his own he studied several Indian languages, established contacts with many prominent Jains throughout the world, met several in the U.K., U.S.A. Canada, visited their homes, stayed with them, watched with keenness their rituals and life styles, attended Jain functions and conventions, collected a good library of Jain literature and also did research in several prominent libraries in Europe.

He also researched Jainism extensively through several travels and by perusing the English literature on the matter. Year after year, his collection of books and publications on Jainism increased that gave him access to precious information. He has taken part in various study groups and written articles about Jainism in several magazines. Till several years ago, before his moving into an apartment, he named his house in France "La Jaina".

 

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Pierre Paul Amiel

 

In 1991, in a special issue of „Ahimsa Voice - Shraman Sahitya Sansthan“ (November-July 1991, p. 125-126) on an international Jain convention in the USA in July - August 1991, Pierre Paul amiel was introduced as a Patron Member:

Mr. Pierre Amiel, a French national, has deep faith in Jainism and Bhagwan Mahavir and keen interest in Jaina studies. He aspires to collect Jain literature and publish some of that, within his resources, in French language. He aspires to establish a Jain Centre at his place of working - Metz, in France.

He was born on 28th September, 1931 in Paris. Due to the 2nd World War, while child Amiel was 5, his parents lived in South of France, where his grand parents lived. He was a brilliant student in the Primary School, thereafter studied in a Catholic grammar school where he studied Latin, Greek and English as foreign languages. At the University level education, he studied Law and obtained Master in Law degree, he though had earlier preferred to further his English studies and become an English teacher.

As customary in France, he was thereafter obliged to do the compulsory military service, whereafter he was appointed as Local Government Officer. His first duty was in a city town in central France. He was later on appointed Deputy Secretary General in the town of Melun, which lies in the south of Paris. This period was a pleasant one for him as he got married. He has two sons of the age of 24 and 20 respectively from his wife.

Mr. Amiel rose to the position of Secretary General of the city of Beauvais, which is 60 Kms. south of Paris and worked there during 1966 to 1976. Since 1976 he is Secretary General of the local district of Metz, which is in the extreme east of France. He will be retiring from service by the end of 1991. After retirement from service he will involve himself more deeply with the spiritual duties.

Mr. Amiel evinced interest in Trade Union activities and has been a national leader in a local officers independent Trade Union. He has been Vice-President of a European Union in the same sector. He has been a Law Teacher for 4 years - administrative and constitutional law being special studies. He is Chevalier of the French Order of Merit and Officer in the French Order of Education (Academics Latins).

The faculty of CfJS.FU as well as the members of the Advisory Board express their gratitude to Pierre Paul Amiel for his contribute to support Jaina studies in Berlin. Thank you so much Pierre!

 

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Pierre Amiel visiting Mahavira, Asian Arts Museum, Nice, France, 2010

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