Category Archives: General

Climate Focused Jain Pratikraman: Recorded Guided Meditation with Text

As we prepare to observe Paryushan and Das Lakshan Parva for this year, here is a resource for those that may wish to practice a non traditional pratikraman. This guided meditation takes us through an application of our Jain values to the climate crisis, suggesting ways we can reflect on our actions and commit to making positive changes as individuals, in our communities and as world citizens. Going vegan and advocating for veganism on a large scale is an important part of the solution.

You can download the text of the pratikraman here.

From “Earthlings” to Ahimsa, An American Journey to Jainism

by Kenny F.

I was born in the state of North Carolina in the US. Every meal I had up until about four years ago had body parts, animal secretions or both in them. This is still seen as normal, especially in the south of the
country. You see, in the south, there is a whole culture, one where people proudly display stickers andlicense plates on their cars and trucks with pictures of happy pigs along with the word “barbeque”.
There are billboards on the sides of roads advertising things like steak, cheeseburgers, chicken, tacos, fish, milkshakes… On and on it goes, billboard after billboard after billboard, all of them screaming out to
us, “In the name of our profits and your desires, participate in this violence!”. The same message over and over again one after the other. Not only do we have billboards screaming these messages at us, but,
for some reason, the advertisers seem to think the more body parts and secretions they put between two slices of bread, the better these things they are advertising will be to those that consume them. In actuality, there is a culture of more (more violence/more harm) equals better, and many restaurants in the country are cashing in because of it.

About four years ago I went vegan. Why? I saw footage from a
film called “Earthlings”. This film is not for the faint of heart, as it dives deep into the dark details,showing us what goes on in the hidden places that the meat industry, dairy industry, and fishing industry
need to thrive. By the way, a little sidenote here about the dairy industry, something that is important to know: the meat industry and dairy industry are tied together, not exactly two separate industries as
many seem to think, they are pretty much one and the same. More here on that.

Now, back to the film… What changed my heart, the thing that went deep into me, was seeing a cow in a slaughter chute on her way into the area of the slaughterhouse where they put a bolt through her skull. Can you
imagine the fear she was experiencing, the trauma? I couldn’t help but think of the smells, the sounds, the things she saw, what was happening inside her mind and body because of all this. I didn’t know what
to do with what I was deeply experiencing due to this, so I did the only thing I knew to do, I paced the floor. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. My whole body felt like it was quaking. That day I
made the decision to never participate in any of these things again, and I never did. Fast forward to the year 2020. This is where Jainism enters the picture.

Continue reading

Vegan Chai at JCNC’s anniversary celebration and food: Great reviews!

A note from Pranav:


Hi All, I want to sincerely thank the Jcnc kitchen committee and volunteers to prepare vegan foods in sufficient quantity and for allowing the use of separate serving  table on this dhwaja ceremony day (Aug 4, 2018) . This time the volunteers decided to really educate the members on the availability
of vegan alternatives and quite a few people wanted to taste the vegan foods side by side with the dairy based foods. Afterwards, we informally reached out to them on the tables they were eating and they said they found vegan items more flavorful because milk/yogurt was actually diluting the original flavor of chaula sabzi as well as daal. Vegan Gattha was the most popular because people found the dairy version was actually too dull and watery. All in all, we noticed that just like a kid doesn’t like plain milk and want it flavored, Jcnc members realized that milk was working against the flavor of the base food and they would rather enjoy sabzi, daal, legumes etc without dairy. Below are few verbatim feedback from members who aren’t currently vegan themselves.
I sincerely request the food committee to make more menu items vegan as I think community is open to it.
Dhiral —- “vegan chaula sabzi tasted better because it felt more flavorful… if there was only one counter I would have rather enjoyed vegan chaula… “
Krinaben shah —- “loved the vegan version and I would go for it anytime”
Mudit khasgiwala —- “vegan dishes were more delicious and highly recommend to make more of those”
And here are some reviews of the vegan cha:



World Compassion, Vegan and Jivdaya Day Celebrated at Jain Centers Across US

On Sat Nov 1 and Sun Nov 2, seven Jain centers celebrated Compassion and Jivdaya on World Vegan Day. The Jain Centers of New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Detroit, Metropolitan Washington DC, Northern CA (JCNC) and Southern CA organized dynamic events including speakers, a film collage, and  a delicious lunch with additional food tastings at some centers.

Here’s the lunch that was served at JCNC:



Dal pasta,  salad, fruit medley, bean,guacamole, and salsa nachos, all root-free (Jain) and vegan. Lunch was a big hit and attendees numbered from 40-100 throughout the JCNC event.

Below are the six video’s from the event:

Continue reading

Join the Jains going Vegan this Paryushan!

I caught up with an old friend a few days ago about an initiative in my city to block backyard slaughter of animals ( that post will go up next). In the course of our conversation, he told me he has made a tradition of going vegan during paryushan. And that’s how a number of people got started on their vegan diets…

Sagar posts on the Jain Vegan list-serv:

Please consider giving up dairy products this Paryushana
As most of you will know, Paryushana, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness is due to begin at the end of August.

During this festival, members of the Jain faith traditionally fast and participate in pratikraman. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables.
In today’s complex society, the process of milk production causes far more suffering and killing than first meets the eye. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated by means of artificial insemination to stimulate milk production.

They are immediately separated from their offspring at birth.  Male calves are killed within hours of birth or sold on to be reared for veal or beef (they are of no other value to a dairy farmer), and their sisters are forced to go through the same agony and suffering as their mothers.

A dairy cow will normally get killed before the age of 10, even though she could live up to 30 years if given the chance.  This is because her milk yield drops after about 5 lactations, and it is not does not make financial sense for a farmer to keep her alive when he is able to obtain milk from her younger (and more productive) daughters.

[My addition to Sagar’s post, with the photo above is to show how they are treated like machines. It is also easy to see how infections, such as mastitis, are likely to develop in these mama cows, adding to their suffering].
It is an unfortunate truth that our consumption of milk and dairy products contributes to the killing and suffering cows. In light of this, it seems natural that Jains (and all adherents of Ahimsa) should acknowledge and consider the suffering caused to cows in the milk production when undertaking pratikramana.
So, in addition to the other activities you undertake this Paryushana, why not also consider giving up dairy products?

For hints and tips on how to avoid dairy products, beyond the resources on this site, you are invited to  e-mail and/or visit the Vegan Society website.

Vegan Jain Professional and Mom on the radio

Monali and her husband are both busy professionals raising 3 young children near Chicago. She grew up Jain and met him while they were studying environmental engineering . Like me, she became vegan  in college, seeing the connections between the violence in the egg and dairy industry  with that in the meat industry.  She saw that consumption of these animal products was  incompatible with her values of peace and non-violence, which were deeply held Jain values. Her husband went vegan too, the way they are raising their young children vegan is joyful and inspiring.

She was recently interviewed by James Bean of Spiritual Awakenings Radio, who is clearly well informed about Jainism and in tune with the spiritual basis of veganism from the perspective of many faiths . You’ll hear their thoughtful discussion about how people identify with their diets, what might help people to make positive changes and more! You can download an mp3 file of the interview  here.

Request for all vegan menu for the 16th Biennial JAINA convention

Yesterday, i sent a letter to the Convention Board members and the JAINA Executive Committee on behalf of a group of vegan Jain organizers, ranging in age from the 20s to the 70s, and an even larger and more diverse group of supporters consisting of leaders in the Jain community and community members from all across the US with a couple of participants from UK and Mumbai.  We continue to update the list of supporters and have gotten 9 more since yesterday!

Read the text of the petition and register your support here:

Our request: An all vegan menu at the convention.

The precedent: Catering for the London Young Jains Convention  has always been vegan and a recent JAINS UK convention has had all but 2 items catered completely vegan.

 The North American Jain convention history: Vegan lines (an option to eat vegan) an JAINA, YJP and YJP conventions for many years> the exact start is murky but maybe 1997. A good start but we can do better. Continue reading

Former JAINA president advocates clear view of veganism

Dilip Shah is a past president of JAINA, the federation of Jain organizations in North America. Because he is  a generation older than me, in keeping with Indian culture, I call him Dilip uncle.  Among his many other Jain activities, he has organized several trips to India to visit temples and historical sites,  as modern day pilgrimages for Jains in North America.

In 1998, fresh out of my family medicine residency with a couple of months off from work, I took a JAINA organized trip to the famous temple complex Sammet Shikar. I was  accompanied by my parents, my friends Hema and Manda who teach Nonviolent Communication, our family friend Pravin uncle, who heads the JAINA Education committee,  and a large group of people a generation older than me. I learned a lot about traditional ways of worship and travelling in India from them all.  I  and Pravin uncle were the only vegans on the trip. 

Since then, there has been more interest in veganism. The largest change has been among the Jains in their 20s, as evidenced by the demand for vegan food at conventions of Young Jains of America (YJA), and also, to some extent in their 30s and 40s and older. Incidentally, the Young Jains convention in the UK had all Jain vegan food in 1998 — the Brits were way ahead of us, as I don’t think we’ve yet had one JAINA convention with all vegan food.

Pravin uncle has incorporated more and more about veganism in his writings, in addition to his initial article about his visit to a dairy farm and how much of a difference going vegan has made in his cholesterol levels. But the older the Jain, it seems, the less receptive s/he has been to change.  It is in this context that Dilip uncle has written this excellect piece on Jainism and veganism.  Continue reading

Vegan Thanksgiving Prayer

This is a prayer that has been used at Vegan Thanksgiving Events.  I hope it is meaningful to you on this day.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Tonight we give thanks for the many lives that have contributed to our lives. We also ask for forgiveness from the living beings that we have harmed, intentionally and unintentionally in our food and in other activities of our life.

We give thanks for this vegan meal and the people who have labored to harvest, process, transport and prepare this meal for us. We thank all of our teachers in ancient and modern times who have taught us lessons beneficial for life.

We are grateful for our health and the opportunity to eat with others on this day. We aspire, with compassionate hearts, to use the energy that we gain from this meal and our friends to contribute to the peace and happiness of all living beings.

We hope that all the people of the world will avoid inflicting harm on animals and practice nonviolence and compassion. We express our sorrow at the suffering of all the turkeys and other animals that have died. May peace grow in ourselves and extend to all around us.


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