President's Message

Dear Sadharmik brothers and sisters,
Pranam & Jai Jinendra!

Over the past 10 years, some visionaries and philanthropic Jains have worked with leading universities in North America to establish Centers for Jain Studies on their campuses and many more are in the pipeline. The last two months alone have seen the launch of several new programs. A total of nearly $12 million has been pledged and raised by the Jain community to date. This is really an amazing work North American Jain Community is doing in the field of Jain studies. JAINA is thankful for everyone who has worked and donated to bring Jainism in academia.

The auspicious Parv of Paryushan/Das Lakshana is just two weeks from now. Every year we celebrate the festival with the community visiting Jain centers, performing puja, bhakti, various events, and Pratikraman. This year, we have to celebrate it while staying at home. JAINA will be conducting daily virtual Lectures of Scholars for everyone to get the laabh from their home. The daily lectures will be delivered by Dr. Jitendra Shah in Hindi, Dr. Kumarpal Desai in Gujarati, and Dr. Bipin Doshi in English from August 15th to 22nd. More details are given below.

JAINA will also conduct virtual Aloyana on August 22nd and various Pratikramans on August 22nd and 23rd for different time zones. Details are given below.

Jain Education and Research Foundation in collaboration with FIU and JCSF has organized Acharya Mahaprajna Birth Centenary Lecture Series on Science of Nonviolence. Details are given below.

Read about Dr. Neeta Jain, President of International Ahimsa Foundation, who was featured in 2020 Power of Diversity under Asian 100 for serving more than 25 years through the principles of Jainism by promoting peace and non-violence through her foundation. She is the first Indian American elected official in the city to serve as Democratic district leader in New York’s 25th Assembly District.

As per the statistics, nearly 80% of hate crimes in the US are against religious and racial minorities, including their houses of worship & religious institutions, and they are projected to increase. JAINA requests all the Jain centers to be careful against any such crimes and take appropriate measures. The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service facilitates a virtual forum to Protect the Places of Worship on August 13 & 27. The forum information and registration details are given below.

During the upcoming Paryushan/Das Lakshana Parva, the JAINA- Mangalam application is the best source for having the Paryushan in a normal way without missing any activity, like Pravachan, Pratikraman, Bhakti Sangeet, etc. You can now listen/watch lectures from many Jain scholars and other religious videos in JAINA-Mangalam application which is compatible with iOS as well as Android. Read more about the latest projects of the Media Committee and Women’s Committee under JAINA Committee updates.

Recently, the Jain Society of Central Florida donated 69 Chromebook to Seminole County Public School, while the Jain Center of Greater Phoenix held a successful Food Drive (drive-through) on July 18.

Read the continuation of the Jain story, Vajrakumar, from the previous newsletter.

Sincerely,
Mahesh Wadher
JAINA President

Jain Academic Programs See a Surge of Interest in North America

Jain philosophy and the Jain identity, until recently, was largely unheard of in North America, even within the academic community. This stark lack of knowledge about Jain Dharma and its possible misinterpretation motivated some visionary and philanthropic Jains to work with leading universities in the US and Canada and establish Centers for Jain Studies at their campuses.

Over the past ten years, this commitment has resulted in the establishment of Academic Centers and programs for Jain Studies in at least 18 universities with many more in the pipeline. The last two months alone have seen the launch of several new programs. What makes this partnership even more creditable is that the academic institution, in every one of these programs, has contributed and matched more than 50% of the required financial resources. Additionally, nearly all the Academic Centers and programs have been named after a Tirthankara or a Jain Saint. A total of nearly $12 million has been pledged and raised by the Jain community to date.

Below are the six recently established Academic Programs.

  1. Bhagwan Vimalnath Endowed Chair in Jain Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).
  2. Bhagwan Suvidhinath Endowed Chair in Jain Studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
  3. Bhagwan Shitalnath Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Jain Studies at the University of Toronto, Canada.
  4. Shrimad Rajchandra Fellowships in Jain Studies. This is to support Ph.D. students for Jain Studies at the University of California at Riverside.
  5. Dr. Shailendra Palvia Endowed Jain Scholar Speaker Series at Long Island University Post, Brookville, NY (LIU).
  6. Bhagwan Ajitnath Endowed Professorship in Jain Studies at California State University, Northridge, California (CSUN).

Read more about each of these and other programs established so far here .

 
DAILY LECTURES DURING PARYUSHAN 2020

Paryushan is the most pious festival for Jains. During the 8 days of this religious festival, all Jains undertake Tap, Jaap, and Pratikraman per their ability for the purpose of destroying Paap Karma and collecting some Punya Karma. During the Paryushan, the subject of the first three days’ lectures are dedicated to “Amari Pravartana” consisting of:

  1. Observance of Ahimsa - or practicing Non-Violence.
  2. Sadharmik Vatsalya - Caring for all other Jains.
  3. Kshamapana – or Forgiveness/Forbearance.
  4. Attham Tap, or fasting for three consecutive days.
  5. Chaitya Paripati – Visiting other nearby Temples and asserting that they run smoothly.

The remaining five days will be the reading from the ‘Kalpasutra’ describing in detail the last 27 Bhava/lives of Bhagwan Mahavira. The life stories of the Vitrag Bhagwan is a journey from Atma to Parmatma or the transformation from ordinary to perfection. Additionally, there will be a discussion of the lives of other Tirthankaras too.

Kalpasutra is an unlimited treasure of bliss – just hearing the words it burns our bad Karma. For this reason, during Paryushan days, it is beneficial to listen to and internalize the message for self-upliftment.

Dr. Jitendra Shah of Ahmedabad will deliver the daily Paryushan lectures in Hindi on Zoom every morning during Paryushan at 8:00 AM PST; 11:00 AM EST.

Dr. Shah has been coming regularly to the US for Paryushan swadhyas for the last 18 years, conducting 10-day Tattvarth Shibirs for 200+ attendees in Ahemdabad for the last 13 years and teaching Jain Shastras to many Sadhu Bhagavantas and Sadhvijis. Under his leadership, scores of students have obtained Ph.D. in Jainism. He is also the former Director of the L. D. Institute of Jainology.

Dr. Kumarpal Desai will deliver daily Lectures in Gujarati at 8:00 AM PST and 11:00 AM EST.

Kumarpalbhai has contributed a lot in the field of literature, education, reporting, and religious discourses. He has penned over 150 books in Gujarati, Hindi and English. For his national reporting, he received the Acharya Tulsi award. He has promoted Jain Dharma nationally and internationally by his more than 25 trips to foreign lands including the US, UK, Kenya, and Antwerp. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai Awarded him “JAIN RATNA” and President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has Awarded him “PADMA SHRI” award. Collaborating with 100 scholars, he has edited and published 5 of the 20 volumes of Jain Viswa Kosh ( Encyclopedia).

Online Mini-course on Fundamentals of Jain Philosophy During Paryushan 2020



Login details for Lectures and Pratikramans will be provided next week.

VIRTUAL SAMVATSARI PRATIKRAMAN AUGUST 22 & 23, 2020

Due to COVID-19, we have to celebrate the auspicious festival of Paryushan and Das Lakshana at home unlike every year at the Jain centers. JAINA is organizing below virtual Pratikramans and Aloyana on Zoom for people to do Pratikraman at home. Kindly forward this message to everyone so they can join. Please note, joining details will be provided soon.

Pratikraman By Date Time (West Coast) Time (East Coast)
English Dr. Nitin Shah August 22, 2020 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm 5:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Swetambar Dr. Jitendra B Shah August 22, 2020 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sthanakwasi Mahendra Khandhar August 22, 2020 4:00 PM -
Sthanakwasi Siddarth Sanghani August 22, 2020 - 4:00 PM
Sthanakwasi Aloyana - August 22, 2020 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM 2:00 PM & 5:00 PM
Achal Gach Pratikraman Mulchand Gala, Lankesh Haria, Umang Gala August 23, 2020 - 4:00 PM
Acharya Mahaprajna Birth Centenary

Acharya Mahaprajna Birth Centenary Lecture Series

SUNDAY, AUGUST 02, 2020 at 11:00AM -12:30PM
@ ONLINE ZOOM 


Jai Jinendra,

JERF in collaboration with FIU and JCSF has organized Acharya Mahaprajna Birth Centenary Lecture Series. The 5th Lecture is on Sunday, August 02, 2020, at EST 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM on Science of Non-Violence. Please take advantage of these lecture series in your safe spaces at home on a distance Zoom platform. The link is in the flyer with details of our honorable guest speaker- Prof. Rajmal Jain.
One click link to the webinar-  https://us04web.zoom.us/j/8527118880
PASSWORD-1008

 
Venue
ONLINE-ZOOM

Sponsors
Jain Education and Research Foundation.

Co-Sponsors

FIU-Department of Religious Studies
JAIN CENTER OF SOUTH FLORIDA

Deep Surana
JERF President

JERF EC & BOARD MEMBERS
 
REGISTER
Dr. Neeta Jain, IAF President, in 2020 Power of Diversity: Asian 100

Dr. Neeta Jain, President of International Ahimsa Foundation, was featured in 2020 Power of Diversity under Asian 100, the list of the most influential Asian Americans in New York politics and policy. ‘Neeta Jain has served New York City residents for more than 25 years through the principles of Jainism, the Indian religion, by promoting peace and non-violence through her foundation. Jain served as Democratic district leader in New York’s 25th Assembly District making her the first Indian American elected official in the city, and is president of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Democratic Club of Queens.’

Dr. Neeta Jain is very active in the Jain Community and politically in New York as well as in the Democratic party at high levels of Congress. She was instrumental in working with Carolyn Maloney to get the Diwali Stamp passed, working on Gandhi Jayanti 150 years recognition in Congress, trying to get Diwali as a Holiday in New York City, and hosting multiple Mahavir Jayanti celebrations in the Indian Consulate in New York among many other volunteer work for religious and political causes.

Hate Crimes Against the Worship Places are Projected to Increase

As of 2019, nearly 80% of hate crimes in the US are against religious and racial minorities, including their houses of worship & religious institutions.

The Protecting Places of Worship Forum, facilitated by the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, will educate faith leaders on hate crimes laws and statistics; how to prevent and respond to hate crimes that target houses of worship and religious institutions; and how to secure places of worship leveraging resources and best practices from government agencies.

Speakers include representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Per federal policy, this session will not be recorded or posted.

JAINA would like to request all the Jain centers to be careful against any such crimes and take appropriate measures.

Those interested can attend this virtual Forum on August 13 or August 27. Please find more information on the forum and registration details here.

 
Jain Center Latest News
Jain Society of Central Florida

With help from center members, Jain Society of Central Florida donated 69 Chromebook to Seminole County Public School (SCPS). The donation from JSOCF is in co-ordination with JAINA, Sarva Mangal Family Trust, and Anekant Community Center. JSCF is grateful to the center members for their generous donation, which was appreciated by the needy families Tim Harper, CTO of SCPS, was very happy with this donation.

Jain Center of Greater Phoenix

Jain Center of Greater Phoenix (JCGP) held a Food Drive (drive-through) on 18-Jul which was a huge success. JCGP thanks 25+ families who donated via cash or in-kind. The center collected more than 1800 lbs. of non-perishable food & 400 lbs. of cleaning supplies, worth approx. $3,000/- and donated the same to St Mary’s Food Bank. The generous donation will assist more than 150 local families who are facing hunger and hardship during this pandemic.

JCGP thanks all volunteers who executed this food drive with all safety precautions in the midst of a 3-digit temperature and a pandemic.

JAINA Committee Updates

JAINA Media Committee

JAINA Media Committee has created a highly successful Television show which was broadcast locally and internationally for 10 years on Sahara One TV Channel. Committee produced more than 250 episodes of the show. This endeavor was blessed and supported by Pujya Gurudev Chitrabhanuji, Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai, Bandhu Triputi Maharaj, Saman Shrutpragyaji, and Others.

With the world going virtual, the committee launched a mobile app ‘JAINA-Mangalam’ in 2017. This is a 24/7 Jain Channel where you can watch every Jain religion-related audio-video material anytime anywhere in the world with just one click.

At present, due to COVID-19 and lockdowns, it is not convenient to visit temples. The app is the best source for having the Paryushan in a normal way without missing any activity, like Pravachan, Pratikraman, Bhakti Sangeet, etc. This is a free app available on Android and iOS platforms under the title of JAINA- Mangalam.

Read more about the JAINA Media committee, their work, and other projects here.


JAINA Women’s Committee


Since its establishment in 2015, The committee has achieved many milestones. It has women’s groups at most of the major centers. We also receive inquiries from various centers for advice on forming a group on a regular basis.

In April 2020, Mamta Shaha - the Chairperson was invited to say the Jain prayer in the International Interfaith Meeting for Hope and Solidarity. Similarly, in 2019, she was invited to Women Leadership Retreat by Religions for Peace in Baltimore and to their 10th World Council held in Lindau Germany. She is also appointed on the International Women’s Coordinating Committee of Religions for Peace.

Read more about the JAINA Women’s Committee, their work, and other projects here.

Jain Story: Vajrakumar (Continue…)

Acharya Sinhgiri requested a prominent Jain shravak to take care of Vajrakumar and to make sure that he was taught Jain religious teachings since he had the potential of being a great Acharya in the future. The shravak brought Vajrakumar home and told his wife what Acharya Sinhgiri wanted them to do. She was a very religious woman and happily agreed to the wishes of the acharya. She loved the boy so much that she would not let him go anywhere without her. She always took him to the Upashray to see the Sadhvis. Even though he was little, he listened to and memorized all the scriptures the nuns were reciting. By the time, he was three years old, he had learned up to eleven Anga Agams. He was respectful to everybody and spoke very intelligently.

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