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Jain group in UK decides to serve all vegan Jain food at events!

Rajeshbhai of the Shree Digambar Jain Association(SDJA) attributes a couple of talks to the beginning of a change for the SDJA in the UK. Pravin Shah of the JAINA education committee  gave a talk in London at a SDJA event during Paryushan 2013 that convinced him and his wife Jyotiben to go fully vegan because  of the violence involved in dairy production and consumption. I happened to visit London soon afterwards and got to talk for the first time in Gujarati about veganism to this group, and was also invited by the Jain Vegans in the UK to speak about health aspects in English. Apparently the planning committee of SDJA became convinced to serve only Jain vegan food afterwards. No option of dairy, no compromise on taste. They worked with some caterers and voila.Here is the community enjoying lunch at a recent event.032

The Jain vegans group and others have been educating the Jain community much longer than the couple of years since Pravin uncle and my talk. And the Young Jains have served only vegan Jain food at their conventions for years. Another UK group, SCVP, has also catered vegan food at their events.

What will it take for JAINA, other US based Jain organizations and Indian organizations to follow their lead?  And  to shift away from styrofoam and plastic-ware too…. climate change is also a form of hinsa towards the planet!

Do you know the inside story of how Jain organizations have decided to serve vegan food? Please comment!

 

What does it take to make a commitment?

How do people actually decide to become vegan? Exposure to information about the meat and dairy industry, and in the case of already vegetarian Jains, focusing on the exploitation and violence in the diary industry?  Health aspects? By appealing to people’s identity and explaining history? By listening to talks by athletes, such as Kuntal Joisher, the first vegan to summit Mt. Everest, David Carter, football player known as the 300-lb vegan, Rich Roll, triathelte? Samples? Recipes? Peer support- talking amongst those with whom we most identify to overcome emotional blocks? Or is it recipes?  Recipes seem to be what is getting highest hits on this website

Examples abound from 2 recent events in the Bay area. From my own community, JCNC had a Vegan Day event last month and from the African American community, there was a Vegan Soul Fest event in Oakland.

Here’s a display board and pledge list created by Pranav Mehta:

And some of the photos from Vegan Soulfest are here:

What do you think is the best way to reach people? Comment please!

Use our critical reasoning skills, Jains!

Pranav Mehta discusses the recent origins of Jains avoiding potatos and presents the many reasons that dairy products entail violence too great for Jains to participate. Here is the audio version.

For the full text, click here jainism-milk

First Vegan to Climb Mt. Everest

 

Kuntal Joisher is the first vegan to summit Mt. Everest. He shared stories of his trials and tribulations and though not born Jain, he described  how his closest friends have been Jain and actually inspired his entree into veganism. He is pictured here giving credit to the generous sherpas that make these kind of treks possible, in his case averting frostbite, by the sherpa giving Kuntal his own warm gloves. He presents a compelling story about his motivation for veganism in the YouTube clips that follow. Search online for further details about his climbing!

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Leilani Farm Sanctuary and The Gardens- Vegan Sanctuaries In Hawaii

In Nov 2014 we were fortunate to have visited Maui, Hawaii. Through our friend Sarah we were introduced to Leilani Farm Sanctuary and The Gardens. Make sure to visit and support these beautiful and inspiring places. The pictures below are from Leilani Farm Sanctuary and the video is from The Gardens.

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Show your compassion this Thanksgiving by supporting animals at your local panjrapols!

Animal sanctuaries in the US, like panjrapols in India, protect, feed, and provide medical care to farm animals.  They

  • Rescue animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, turkeys and rabbits that would have been killed for food
  • Educate people and promote vegetarianism
  • Support laws that reduce animal suffering
  • During events such as Thanskgiving they heighten awareness of animal slaughter and hold events to instead support these animals

If you’d like to help, you can  

 

  • Visit them in person
    • Animal Place is in Grass Valley, northern CA.
    • Harvest Home Sanctuary is near Stockton, CA
    • Farm Sanctuary is in Watkins Glen, NY and Orland, CA.
    • THere are many other worthy organizations throughout the US but our familiarity is more with the ones in CA
  • You can send a check or donate online directly to the organization.

Compassion and World Vegan Day in Chicago

Jain Society of Metropolitan Chicago had great participation for the Compassion and Vegan Day on Nov 2nd 2014. Over 450 people participated in a vegan lunch followed by 250 people for the  speeches. Speakers included Dr. Alap whose vegan wedding is featured on this site and Monali, whose family is also featured in vegan Jain profiles. Food demos and discussions were also conucted. Many volunteers contributed to this very well organized events and all participants enjoyed the food!

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Vegan Cashew Pistachio Rolls for Diwali 2014

Last week, I was inspired by a post on the Jain Vegans list serve and an invitation to a neighborhood Diwali party to try making a sweet. Normally, I don’t invest the energy in making sweets because I want to eat more healthy. However, this seemed like a good opportunity to try something new and share both the result and the process with others.

While my rolling skills resulted in hearts rather than round rolls, and our use of vegan brown sugar resulted in a different color than the green that i imagined for the pistachio layer, they turned out pretty well.  I brought some to work and even my Scottish, Chinese and American co-workers seemed to enjoy them. Thanks to Jigna and Heena, who posted the recipe on plantshift.com!

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Why should a Jain renounce milk for Paryushan and Das Laxan?

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This photo depicts the story of Lord Mahavira meeting the angry serpent Chandakaushik whom he met while meditating in the forest. He is so filled with compassion that he does not harm the snake. When the snake bites him, milk issues forth from his foot. He is as filled with love for the snake as a mother is for her child.

 

One should not injure, subjugate, enslave, torture, or kill any living being including animals, plants, or insects — Respect for all living beings is Non-Violence. – Ächäränga SutraBhagawän Mahãvira

There are five acts or deeds, which should be known and avoided. They are:
• Tying animals where it could hurt them, or putting them in cages where there is no freedom
• Beating them with sticks or any other means
• Piercing their nose, ear, or amputating limbs or any part of the body
• Making them carry a heavy load
• Depriving them of food and shelter
Pratikraman Sutra, Lesson 7 on Non-violence

As Jains we have abstained from meat and eggs for thousands of years. Our practice of ahimsa has lacto-vegetarianism as a moral baseline.
So now, why vegan? Here we’ll cover the hinsa involved in milk products. We’ll do a separate post on eggs. On a Jain site, we hope we don’t have to explain what’s wrong with meat!

We can read the words as they’ve been passed down through Lord Mahavir’s  disciples and consider in modern times, would Lord Mahavir have told us it is OK to consume milk? Consider this question as you read the facts.

 

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Dairy Cowsconfined dairy cow

A cow raised for her milk is forcefully impregnated yearly, and her babies are taken away within few days. She is either pregnant or lactating 9 or 10 months out of every year only to have the cycle repeat once she gives birth.
Certain amounts of pus and blood are legally permissible in milk. We use this milk in pujä and other ritual.
Dairy cows are no longer vegetarian. Along with grains, they are fed unnatural, high-protein diets – which include dead chickens, pigs, and other animals.
Using powerful hormones, the cows are forced to produce 6 to 8 times as much milk as they naturally would. Also in spite of heavy use of antibiotics, these animals develop mastitis, open wounds and other infections.
A cow’s natural lifespan is about 20 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are slaughtered after only 4 or 5 years, and their meat turned into pet food or hamburgers. Or in India, their meat is exported.

Veal CalvesVeal

All calves are taken from their mothers within few days. Female calves become dairy cows and Male calves become veal. They are kept confined, many in dark, tiny crates, where they are kept almost completely immobilized so their flesh stays tender. They are slaughtered in about six months.

Transport and Slaughter

Nearly every adult cow around 5 years of age and almost every male baby cow will be shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed. When transported in hot weather, many cows collapse in the heat; in the cold, cows can freeze to the sides of the truck until workers pry them off with crowbars. Cows are shot in the head with a steel bolt gun meant to stun them, but often this fails to render them insensible to pain. Dairy cows may be conscious when they are shackled, hoisted, and cut. Continue reading

Please consider giving up dairy products this Paryushan

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The Jain Vegans Working Group issue a compelling plea based on the suffering and death involved in dairy product consumption. Please give up dairy products during this time that Jains traditionally fast, introspect, repent for past misdeeds, and make vows for spiritual purification. 

Paryushan, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness will begin very soon. During the festival, followers of the Jain faith traditionally fastrepent, and forgive. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables or eating after sunset.

As someone who has come across the activities of the Jain Vegans Working Group, you will be aware of how our consumption of dairy (organic or conventional) leads to the immense suffering and murder of innocent cows.

  • Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated by means of artificial insemination to stimulate milk production.
  • Calves are immediately separated from their mothers at birth.
  • Male calves are slaughtered soon after birth or sold on to be reared for veal or beef (they are of no other value to a dairy farmer)
  • Dairy cows will normally get slaughtered before the age of 7, even though they could live up to 20 years if given the chance.  This is because at around that age her milk yield drops, and it 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.

In light of all this, it seems reasonable that during Paryushan we as Jains should acknowledge and reflect on the suffering we have imposed on cows as a result of our consumption of dairy products.

Paryushan offers a perfect time to reflect on the actions we undertake in our daily lives and to make changes to our dietary habits.  So, in addition to the other activities you undertake, why not consider giving up dairy products this Paryushan