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19.11.2005 ►Interfaith Ecology Seminar In Birmingham, UK

Published: 29.12.2005
Updated: 30.07.2015

A seminar on Ecology, the environment, sustainability and different faiths was held on 19th November 2005 at International Mahavir Jain Mission, Jain Ashram, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham UK.

Avinder Jain

Mr. Arvinder Jain agreed to organize this seminar at Jain Ashram when Dr.Chris Hewer an advisor on Inter-Faith relation Great Britain to the Bishop of Birmingham, UK contacted him who has been convening a group of people from different faiths Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs with an interest in questions of ecology, the environment and sustainability from the standpoint of different faiths.

The seminar was attended by the eminent scholars from various religion, ecologist, environmentalist, Chris Philpott, a Zen Buddhist ecologist from Leamington Spa, Claire Francis ecology advisor for the Church of England in London, David Shreeve, Chairman of the Conservation Foundation, Mary Williams, retired theologian and natural scientist from Solihull, Toby Howarth, successor of Dr Chris Hewer as Inter-Faith Advisor, Muhammad Imran, development education manager for Islamic Relief, Mohammed Amin, Muslim scholar, Sadaf Ali, Muslim Student, Gopinder Kaur, Sikh teacher, Soho Road Gurudwara, Birmingham, Peter Creagh, Lecturer from University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, President Treauserer and members of International Mahavir Jain mission.

Mr. Jain in his more than 90 minutes talk covered various perspectives of Jainism briefing with the fundamentals of Jainism, its origin, faiths and sects, significance of Jain symbols, trinity of Jainism, five vows, Teerthankaras, Jain literature.

In his talk he addressed how vital and important the conducts of Jainism are in today's world of science and technology and how relevant and scientific are Jain doctrines -Non-Violence (Ahimsa), Interdependence (parasparograho-jeevanam), Self-Reliance, relativity, anekantavad, forgiveness, vegetarianism, and does Jainism philosophy has any relation to ecology, the environment and sustainability and How the practice of Jainism faith can be significant in exploitation of natural resources without disturbing ecological balance?

He emphasized on Jainism philosophy of Interdependence (parasparograho-jeevanam) which is the fundamental natural phenomenon of symbiosis and mutual dependence that forms the basis of modern day science of ecology a holistic approach. (Holocoenotic concept) and relating it to the holocoenotic environmental complex proposed by W.D. Billings in 1952.

Arvinder talked about the ecological pyramid of organisms in Jainism universe and species concept and biogeochemical cycles and its relation to Jainism.

He concluded his talk quoting Dr. L.M. Singhvi's statement ‘Jainism is fundamental a religion of ecology and has turned ecology into a religion'. Ecology is the culture of interdependence and mutualism which includes the entire universe - the earth, solar system, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere and if the principles of Jainism self-restraint, an austere life style, non­violence, non-possessiveness, vegetarianism etc., is followed fully or to a certain extent, it can not only promote ecological conservation and sustainability but also can bring contentment, peace, inner happiness and joy in life.

He extended his acknowledgement to Acharya Mahaprajna for the inspiration and to co-author Dr. Renuka Jain, Scientist, Umeå University (Sweden) for her contribution on the scientific and ecological perspective on Jainism and helping in preparing the talk.

In this context the Hindu representative Mr. Suresh Pala presented Hinduism perspectives on the subject.

The discussion was continued over the vegetarian meal, which they all enjoyed.

Dr. Chris Hewer remarked that it was brilliant, thoroughly enjoyable and educational.

Co-authered by Dr. Renuka Jain, Umeå University (Sweden)

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