Inauguration of Jain Studies at CLU
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Posted by: Pooja Jain
PRATISTHA MAHOTSAV OF A JAIN
GNAN MANDIR AT
CLAREMONT LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
6, 2011 was a gorgeous day for all the Jains of the world and especially for
the Jains of North America. It was a nice, sunny day in Southern California.
Local Jain community members and Jains from all over America had arrived in
their festive costumes with great expectations on the occasion of "Pratistha
Mahotsav of a Jain Gnan Mandir” at Claremont, California (a suburb of Los
Angeles) . They were welcomed with a Jain, vegan breakfast as they were waiting
for the ceremonies to begin. The ceremony was in honor of the inauguration of
Jain studies program at a newly minted Claremont Lincoln University (CLU).
CLU is a new University formed by Claremont School of Theology (CST). Established
in 1885, CST is an institution of The United Methodist Church, situated in
Southern California among the prestigious Claremont Colleges.CST is a respected institution
for studies of Christianity, andJudaism
and Islam have been added under the auspices of Claremont Lincoln.. The school received a $50 million donation
from the Lincoln family of Arizona to start a program for world religions and
in May 2011, CLU was born. The first
religion CLU chose to partner with is the Jain dharma.
CLU is a one-of-a-kind academic institution that welcomes partners from
all religious and ethical traditions and they have begun their journey by
partnering with the International School of Jain Studies (ISJS) in India. Over
the last seven years, six Claremont students have gone to India to study the Jain
dharma at ISJS. At the initiative of one of these six students, who is now
pursuing her doctoral studies at Claremont, Jain studies has become an integral
part of the CLU by establishment of "ISJS
at Claremont Lincoln University”. This alliance is further strengthened by a
separate letter of understanding between JAINA and CLU in which JAINA has
pledged its full support to the establishment of a Jain studies program.
The understanding between ISJS and CLU is very ambitious and has 20
action items in it but for now the following three will be put on fast track:
Offer the first course on Jain dharma in the Fall of
Holding an annual international seminar on Jain dharma
at Claremont campus where Jain scholars and academics from all over the world
will be invited to present research papers, and
Establish distance education programs for Jain
studies. This initiative is expected to be "Open Source,” meaning it will be
available to anyone, anywhere and at any time.
The festivities of September 6 at Claremont were dignified and were a harbinger
of great things to come in the near future. The stage was decorated with two
large framed Jain art paintings, scores of Jain books donated by Jains of North
America and a tall brass lamp. In attendance were President Dr. Jerry Campbell,
Provost Dr. Philip Clayton, Mr. and Mrs. David Lincoln, many faculty members
and invited guests of Claremont School of Theology, ISJS Director Dr. Shugan
Jain, a large delegation of members of the Jain Center of Southern California
headed by Rajen Dhami, three Past Presidents of JAINA Dr. Sulekh Jain, Kirit
Daftary and Dilip Shah. The auspicious
event began with Manglacharn by Pramodaben Chitrabhanu. Dr. Christopher Chapple
made the opening remarks; Dr. Sulekh Jain spoke of ISJS and JAINA at Claremont
Lincoln University before the lamp lighting ceremony with the image of Goddess
Sarswati in the background.
Rabbi Mel Gottlieb gave the Jain community a warm welcome and Rajen
Dhami (Trustee of JCSC and Vice President of JAINA) noted the importance of the
new initiative and presented mementos from JCSC to Mr. David Lincoln who
thanked and welcomed the Jains. ISJS
alumna Amanda Pumhery spoke about the Jain symbol of the raised hand and Tim
Helton talked about the art of giving.
Dr. Shugan Jain spoke next about the philosophy of ISJS and hopes for
the alliance between ISJS and CLU. He presented specially created scarves for
the event to President Jerry Campbell, Provost Philip Clayton, Chair of Board
Mr. David Lincoln, CFO Lynn O’Leary-Archer and Brianne Donaldson Chair of Jain
Exploratory Committee at Claremont Lincoln. The traditional ceremony of yoking
symbolizes joining together and pairing of ISJS and Claremont of Lincoln was
Dr. John Cobb spoke of plurality, practice and possibilities as we go
forward. Dilip Shah spoke of the future plans and marveled at the commitment of
Claremont Lincoln to initiate distance learning studies of Jainism. President
Dr Campbell gave a heart-warming speech and appreciation for this new
The concluding remarks were by Brianne Donaldson, special assistant to
the Provost and Chair of Jain Exploratory Committee at Claremont Lincoln. Her
perspective on the Goddess Sarswati image that was on the screen during the
ceremony was indeed a moving experience for all present.
The Jain ceremony was followed by the convocation ceremony of CST that
included Pramodaben Chitrabhanu singing Maitri
Bhavnu Pavitra Jharnu.
Afterwards, all the guests and Claremont faculty were served a
vegetarian lunch on the lawn where vegan menu was also provided.
For more information:
Claremont School of Theology: www.cst.edu
Claremont Lincoln University: www.ClaremontLincoln.org.
International School of Jain Studies: