Peace Through Dialog 2007 - Nirmal Dosi : Bringing Jain Together

Posted: 14.02.2008
Updated on: 30.07.2015

Jaina Convention
Federation of Jain Associations In North America

 

Bringing Jain Together

 
Nirmal Dosi chairs JAINA Scholars Visitation Program. He is self educated in Jain philosophy and scriptures- including Tattvartha Sutra, Saman Suttam, Purusharta Sidyupaya, Chhadhala, Jin Dhammo and Ratna Karan Shrävakächär. He also plays Violin recites poetry in local events

Jain Scholars committee has been in dialogue with Jain centers in North America for developing programs to strengthen Unity. Centers in turn are keeping open dialogues with all members to bring together all sects. Working towards Jain Unity is much easier in North America than any other place. The rituals are different but the objective is the same - uplifting spiritually. Young Jains of America and Young Jain Professionals are interested in learning and adopting unified Jain teachings and conducts. Almost all of our centers are conducting programs with similar aim in mind. We have to stress that underneath the waves, deep down in the ocean, our knowledge and Scriptures are the same.

The followings are some of our centers valuable efforts in unity process, which can become part of a role model to unite all Jains:

1. Jain Association of Montreal.
Our samaj Jain Association of Montreal is very small in numbers. We are made up of Swetamber, Digamber, Sthanakvasi, Deravasi, but we are ONE and that is Jains. We live in harmony and we do our prayers, pooja together. We believe in "together we stand, divided we fall". We really enjoy celebrating our religious occasions together. Unity is our strength.
 Bipin Shah, bipin.prabha@yahoo.ca

2. Jain Center of Minnesota.
Promote and seek better understanding of the Jain religion's doctrine and beliefs. Provide academic, cultural and intellectual interchanges between the Jains, impart a basic understanding of the Jain philosophy to our children, celebrate auspicious Jain events and festivals. Our uniting force is Jain philosophy and communication through a common language English for benefit of adult and youth alike. Common Khsamapana Day is celebrated. Learned speakers from different traditions are invited.
Ram Gada,   Ramgada@gmail.com

3.  International Jain Sangh (US).
Promote teachings of Jainism by organizing spiritual, cultural, academic and charitable programs by following principles of Ahimsa (non violence) and Anekantvaad (respect for other's views). At Mahavir Jayanti celebrations, US takes pride in inviting and participation of monks and Nuns, and others for blessings and Pravachans to ensure the whole community is represented from all sects. US Souvenir Publication always reflects diversity of all sects through pictures and articles by various scholars and Sadhvis and monks -
Neelam Jain, jainneelam@hotmail.com

4. Jain Center of Greater Phoenix.
First and foremost I am Jain and then I could be Swetambar, Digambar or Sthanakvasi sect of follower. Jain center celebrates both Paryushana.
In our center there is a tradition for last 25 years that we do Pratikraman daily during Paryushana. It is a Gujarati Pratikraman, which has lots of stanzas from Samaysar and also from Shrimad Rajchandra's literature. We also have Hindi script of the same Pratikraman so any person wishing to perform Pratikraman can take active part. At the same time we also conduct traditional Pratikraman for some one who wants to perform it. We perform various Poojas and it is in power point presentation in Hindi with transliteration in English with meaning of stanza underneath in English. We stress the point of explanation of each and every ritual that we perform. Whole community gets involved whether it is Snatra Pooja or Dev Shästra Guru Pooja. We all participate together when a scholar visits irrespective of his/her sectarian belief. We have Swadhyaya and Yoga class in Hindi/ Gujarati/English.-
Kirit Gosalia, digjain@aol.com

5. Jain Center of Wisconsin.
We have been able to keep differences of various Jain sects to minimal and have had great success in unifying. The temple is designed as a center where all Jains can meet, support religious activities regardless of sects. We have Swetamber statues, Digambar statues and large plaques with Navkaar mantra. Other than Tirthankar's names no other names are permitted to be printed within the walls of the temple. On major events such as Mahavir Jayanti or Diwali we alter Pujas to reflect different sects and all participate equally. During Paryushana we invite Digambar scholars and during Das Laxana we invite Swetambar scholars. By reversing the scholar visitation not only we have better participation but allow us opportunity of learning messages from different view points. Kamal Shah, kamals@knkins.com

6. Jain Center - Las Vegas
Promoting oneness: In the spirit of promoting oneness, amongst all Jains, all the Sangh members were encouraged to do Samuhik Pratikraman in one group setting together. The bliss felt during the Samuhik Pratikraman and at the end when every Shravak and Shravika is joyously and compassionately requesting for Micchami Dukkadam and Khamat Khamana from each other. All our members did Samuhik Navkaar Mantra Jaap under Muni Amrendra Kumarji Maharaj -
Atul Gandhi, aumarihant@gmail.com

7. Jain Center of Connecticut, and Jain Center of Greater Hartford
Celebrated Paryushana and Dash Laxan holidays together and the attendees learned a lot about these two important holidays. Designed around Samvatsari or Khsamapana day, these holidays are celebrated separately by Jain members of Swetambar and Digambar traditions respectively. The members of the two Jain Centers come from different traditions. and the two centers decided to make it into a 17 day combined holiday. During the first seven days, Bhavnas were organized in the evenings in Easton, CT. Video taped lectures of Pujya Jinchandraji were enlightening for the attendees. A joint Bhavna evening was organized was held in Brookfield. For Das Laxan celebration, Ms. Tarla Doshi was invited. Daily morning and evening lectures were organized. Focus in the evening sessions was on Dash Laxan. Morning sessions focused on question/ answers and self improvement. The sessions also included Pratikraman, Mudra Vigyan and Reiki, responding to the specific interests of the attendees. Several Pooja were arranged at the Middletown temple, which uniquely included integrated poojas celebrating both traditions Arti's (Panch Parmeshthi, Adinath Bhagwan) and Mangal Divo were sung celebrating both traditions. The joint celebration by the two neighboring centers afforded the opportunity to learn in depth about different Jain traditions. Everyone was delighted to see that fundamental principles of Jainism are very similar in different sects, and special highlights of different sects should be revered and appreciated. Young Jains between the ages of 14 to 40 years put together various programs with the aim of bringing our youth together -
Yogesh Kamdar/Hans Maru,  yogeshkamdar@ml.com

8.  Jain Vishwa Bharati (NJ)
IT conducts 1 8 days of Paryushana and Das Laxana. The program includes Bhagwaan Mahaveer's Charitra Vanchan and readings from Kalpa Sutra. It is followed by daily lectures on Das Dharma. Daily Pratikraman and lectures on many soul searching topics are delivered by both Samanijis. Common Khsamapana Divas is celebrated. Samaniji have developed point scoring system for grading of various conducts. Both Samvatsari (Swetamber) and Alochana Path (Digamber) are incorporated in the program. -
Jay Duggar,  jdugar@dugargroup.com

9.  Jain Society of Metro Washington
Develop budget for activities respectful to all sects. Get scholars from all sects. Each tradition is well served in their ritual practices. Focus on Jain activities independent of Languages. -
Sushil Jain Sushiljain@aol.com

10.  Jain Society of Central Florida
Dehrasar design is such that all sect can carry out all function same time. We have every Sunday pathshala, Digamber Abhishek, Swetamber Abhishek and pooja. Gabhara designed such that all sects can have their worship. -
Shashikant Shah, depadasa@gmail.com

Challenges at our Centers
Jaina scholars committee has helped all centers to celebrate Paryushana. Except major centers which have 1 8 days of Paryushana and Das Laxana, all have Paryushana which are mostly conducted in Gujarati.

We could do the following to bring everyone together at all centers:

  1. Include programs in English for children, Young Jains and Young Jain Professionals
  2. Include part of program in Hindi for non- Gujarati population
  3. Lectures on Das Dharma as a part of daily lectures.
  4. Use Anant- Chaturdarshi or nearest Sunday to celebrate Khsamapana Divas for all Jains

At Major Centers we suggest to do the following:

  1. Read Kalpa Sutra and Bhagwaan's Charitra on daily basis during 10 days
  2. Lectures on Das Dharma during 8 days of Paryushana. Include part of lectures in Hindi, and English
  3. Use Anant- Chaturdarshi or nearest Sunday to celebrate Khsamapana Divas for all Jains

Suggestion for celebration of Paryushana and Das Laxana together for 10 days:

  • Start on Friday before Chaturthi and conclude on Next Sunday
  • This would include two full week ends.
  • This will include Chaturthi and Panchami - most sacred days.
  • Every day Vanchan of Kalpa Sutra and 24 Tirthankar's charitra
  • Everyday lectures on Das Dharma following Alochana Paath.
  • First Sunday we all celebrate Bhaqwaan's Janma Divas
  • Celebrate Khsamapana Divas by doing Samvatsari Pratikraman and Alochana Paath on Last Sunday including Tapasvi's Bahumaan.
  • Creatively incorporate Hindi, English, and Gujarati to bring all Jains together.
  • Invite scholars with varied expertise to enrich our self.