A note from Pranav:
A note from Pranav:
Paryushan and Das Lakshan parva are just around the corner. Starting on Friday, September 6th, Jains all over the world will increase their level of spiritual intensity.
My childhood Jain Centers included Norwood, Massachusetts and Houston, Texas. I now live in Massachusetts with my husband and four children and have been practicing veganism (food, clothing, even my car is leather-free) for 2 years. Last year, I attended a lecture in Mumbai where a Jain marajsaheb spoke to us about the dairy industry as it applies to Jainism. It inspired me to reach out to all of you.
As you may know, the Jain Center of Southern California decided this year not to allow dairy in the temple due to the incredible suffering animals go through in order to produce ghee/milk, etc. They made an inspirational video which is worth watching;
Unfortunately, many other Jain centers today still use dairy products (whether it is ghee in pooja or food served). In our private homes we must respect a person’s wish to do as he/she pleases. However, our Jain center is shared by a community of people seeking to observe and follow Jainism, and more specifically ahimsa. In order to follow ahimsa to the highest level, I ask that you observe a non-dairy practice for 18 days (September 6 – September 23). In addition to your individual practice, please sign a petition to end the use of dairy products in our Jain temples. This will magnify your good personal choices so that we can do better as a community.
The Jain Society of North Texas’ (JSNT) high school age youth (Pathshala Group 6), with the help of Joseph R. Otterbine,an M.S. Applied Environmental Anthropology Candidate from the University of North Texas, recently held the JSNT Environmental Fair. The Fair brought a Jain lens to bear on energy and electricity, veganism, transportation, water usage, and methane production. The youth decided on these topics and researched them thoroughly. They split into five groups and prepared presentations, visuals, and takeaways (e.g. vegan brownies [yummy!] , pamphlets, fact sheets, water usage calculator, etc.) for their booths at the fair.
The Fair started with time for the community to walk around and see the booths, followed by a presentation from Dr. Pankaj Jain (University of North Texas) on the topic of Dharma and Ecology.
After his short lecture the community members were urged to visit the five different presentations at the booths set up around the hall. The community was extremely receptive to the
youth’s efforts and proud of all the work that they had done in putting together all the intricacies of the Fair. When it came to the scheduled end of the Fair, some community membewer asked for more time to explore all the work that the youth had done!
This event was successful because the youth wanted to do it, and OWNED it!
This enthusiasm was palpable in their presentations, their attitudes, and interactions with the community. The Fair got the Jain Society of North Texas to look at environmental issues and how they, as Jains, are poised as natural environmentalists.
For a slide show of the event please see http://www.dfwjains.org/
and keep reading this post to hear more about about environmentalism and energy use in a state traditionally known for its economic dependence on oil from these amazing Jain students. And for more on veganism, methane and water use, see the next post… Continue reading
Madhu, Monty and Dr. Tushar write:
Working collaboratively with the help of the Jain Society of Toronto (JSOT), the non-profit group Towards Ahimsa Inc. (based out of Toronto, Canada) co-hosted a special event last month to celebrate the health and wellbeing of a plant based diet.Through a series of interactive activities and thought-provoking discussions a group of 70 senior community members learnt first hand the philosophical definition of ahimsa in Jainism in its relationship to diet.
Presenters included medical doctors & professional educators who started by defining the nature of a Plant Based or Vegan diet. They presented medical evidence regarding benefits to vascular disease, cancers, diabetes, blood pressure, weight control, and overall benefits to quality-of-life and mortality. They also discussed ways to optimize the vegan diet and how to easily obtain nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium and iron, and protein.
The talk was extremely well received with great questions and enthusiasm on the part of the seniors. One attendee even claimed she would become vegan from this point forward!