International School Of Jain Studies (ISJS) - Today

Posted: 24.09.2010
Updated on: 12.11.2010



International Summer School for Jain Studies

ISSJS

 


Vision & mission of ISJS

ISJS seeks to be the most complete and comprehensive resource available to facilitate the establishment and promotion of Jain academic studies at universities and research institutions within India and around the world so that Jain academic studies occupy a respectable position within academia. 

 

Preamble

  • Jain academic studies in India and in universities around the world have significantly lagged behind those of other religions.
  • Many Jain academic institutions in India need an invigorated mission, renewed dynamism and a sense of purpose for their existence.
  • There are very few younger Jain scholars being trained to take the place of the increasingly aging group of established Jain scholars.
  • Jainism is the least known and most misunderstood spiritual tradition in academia and in the general public.
  • Before the establishment of ISJS, there was not any concerted effort on the part of the Jain community to promote Jain academic studies.
  • It is, therefore, important to make ISJS a permanent and preeminent entity as there is nothing like it in the Jain community and the need for ISJS is clear.
  • ISJS is built upon collaboration, cooperation, and support of a large number of institutions and individuals in India as well as abroad.
  • ISJS is not a university or a college. It has no teaching faculty of its own. It does not award any degrees. Rather, ISJS seeks to use the resources and infrastructure of all its supporting organizations. It does not compete with any institution or organization.
  • By making India a classroom, ISJS provides an experiential introduction to Jainism and its culture. ISJS supplements textual knowledge but also provides a unique cultural context in which further textual knowledge may be acquired.
  • Since its inception, ISJS has been and will continue to strive for improvements and excellence in offering quality education to scholars and students in India and around the world about Jainism.
  • ISJS is non-denominational, non-sectarian and secular in its approach. It does not preach or proselytize.
  • The main emphasis of ISJS is on increasing the awareness, knowledge, and interest about Jainism among scholars, teachers and students.

 

Why Should Foreign Universities Be Interested in the Study of Jainism?

Given instant connectivity in communication, commerce, travel, etc., the world has, indeed, become a global village. But our global village confronts many important issues involving pluralism, democracy, ecology, terrorism and violence, nationalism, human rights, disease and other health matters, etc. We are confronted with enormous challenges and we have a shared responsibility to address these issues.

Jainism provides an important way to think about these challenges. Three important principles of Jainism are: (1) ahimsa, or the principle of nonviolence; (2) anekantavada, or the principle that truth is complex and we must try to understand truth in all its dimensions as well as to tolerate differences in a peaceful manner; and (3) aparigraha, or the principle that our attachment to material wealth must be moderated so as to avoid conflict with others.

Jainism, along with Hinduism and Buddhism, originated in India. Although Hinduism and Buddhism are studied extensively in academic institutions in India and abroad, Jainism is not. One unfortunate result of this is that scholars have not focused on Jain principles as a way of addressing the challenges we face. Given the emerging importance of India on the world scene, and the increased interest in Indian spiritual, religious, moral, cultural traditions, ISJS provides an opportunity for scholars to have a cultural encounter with Jainism that will enrich their understanding of this ancient tradition and assist them in their efforts to think seriously about the role that Jain principles can play in bringing peace, harmony, and prosperity to all in our global village.

 

What does ISJS offer in India to foreign scholars?

  • A network of at least ten Indian and foreign universities, many Jain institutions and organizations, Jain professionals in different fields and disciplines, monks and nuns of all sects of Jainism, and top Indian scholars, both Jain and non-Jain.
  • Facilities and resources to learn every aspect of the Jain spiritual tradition, as well as allied areas such as yoga and meditation, and to learn or to further study in the Hindi, Gujarati, Sanskrit and Prakrit languages.
  • A residential center available year round for scholars from abroad.
  • An opportunity for faculty and  graduate and undergraduate  students to do field work and research.
  • An opportunity to collaborate with Indian Jain and non-Jain scholars for joint research, teaching, seminars and publications.
  • An opportunity for qualified undergraduate and graduate students to do some or all of their graduate program in an Indian university.
  •  An  environment that provides and facilitates free and open interaction, exchange, and dialog among scholars from many backgrounds, interests, countries, universities of the world in a  truly international setting..
  • Attractive financial assistance and complete hospitality in India  to foreign students and  scholars to travel to India to pursue their study and  research interests and to attend ISJS organized programs during each summer  
  • Assistance in facilitating collaboration with Indian scholars in order to prepare proposals to secure funding for research.
  • A resource for the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI), and colleges and universities from North America to become familiar with Jain culture as well as  in ISJS programs that last one to six weeks or more.
  • A resource to assist and facilitate the Indian study-abroad programs of North American universities.

 
What does ISJS offer to foreign scholars outside India?

  • Financial resources to organize and attend seminars and conferences on Jainism at universities throughout the world.
  • Donation or assistance with the purchase or acquisition of book on Jainism by foreign scholars and institutions.
  • Assistance to foreign teaching faculty so that they can start offering and teaching introductory level courses in Jainism at their universities.
  • A group of Jain scholars from India, North America, and the United Kingdom who are available to visit other universities and colleges.
  • A connection with the Jain community and Jain institutions, their temples and gatherings in North America, Europe and Asia. 
  • Access to a large pool of resources of the Jain community such as e-library, JAINA library, many Jain portals, data banks of Jain academics, and various Jain publications.
  • Assistance to create Jain study/teaching centers and academic positions in Jainology at universities outside India
  • Assistance so that scholars and students can attend Jain community functions, conventions (JAINA, YJA), seminars, festivals and religious events.
  • Organization and funding of a gathering, business meeting, and dinner of Jain academics in conjunction with the annual AAR conference. 
  • Access to several Indian publishers, magazines and institutions to publish or present  their materials in India.

 

 What does ISJS offer to Indian scholars and institutions in India?

  • Prior to ISJS, there was little communication and cooperation among Jain academics and institutions in India. ISJS has been and is continuing to strive to be a platform for cooperation, communication, exchange and research for Jain academics and Jain institutions in India.
  • ISJS is a conduit and a catalyst in energizing Jain scholars to learn and refresh their knowledge.
  • ISJS is working to train Indian Jain faculty and scholars to share their knowledge with foreign scholars using modern teaching methods, computer technology, and interactive discussion.
  • ISJS is developing training courses and workshops for young scholars so that we assure that Jain academic studies will continue in India. These courses and workshops will be taught by established Jain scholars. ISJS brings foreign and Indian scholars in face to face contacts, dialog, and the sharing of knowledge.
  • ISJS has started sending Indian Jain scholars to teach in other countries.
  • Several Jain scholars find participation in ISJS programs to be inspiring and motivating for their own pursuit of advance scholarship in Jainology.
  • ISJS has provided an opportunity for Jain professionals to share how they lead a Jain way of life.
  • By establishing the first year-round residential research facility at the Center in Indology at PVRI in Varanasi, ISJS is setting an example of reviving Indian Jain institutions. ISJS has a long-term plan to establish other Centers in other parts of India.
  • ISJS is also working to ensure that Indian Jain academic publications in English merit international recognition and wider distribution.

 

Where is ISJS today?

  • ISJS has been in existence for six years.
  • Approximately 190 foreign scholars and students constitute its alumni community. 
  • Several ISJS graduate student alumni have completed their Ph.D. programs.
  • Participants have come from 22 universities of the U.S.A, Canada, U.K, Belgium, Czech Republic, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Cuba, Thailand, Slovenia, South Korea, and Singapore.
  • In 2010, ISJS offered three stand alone programs in India and one program in Thailand. This will expand to six or more stand alone programs in India in 2011 and two in Thailand.
  • An extensive and well-researched collection and compilation of study notes on a wide range of subjects and topics related to Jainism have been made available free on ISJS web site: www.jainstudies.org
  • In addition to teaching programs in summer through the International Summer School of Jain Studies, ISJS has started holding special one-day seminars on Jainism and Social Consciousness. Ten such seminars were held in India and one at the University of Ottawa on August 27, 2010. A series of seminars on Science and Spirituality is planned for late 2010.
  • To train and prepare teaching faculty for ISJS, a three-day teaching program is planned in late 2010 for existing and potential ISJS faculty.
  • ISJS is also in the process of establishing and awarding scholarships in India to Indian and foreign students to pursue the Ph.D. degree in Jainism.
  • Regular courses are now offered in Jainism at a number of universities in U.S.A. and Canada and this number is expected to increase. Before the establishment of ISJS, the number of such courses was very small.
  • With the backing and inspiration of ISJS, Mrs. Manju Jain of Nagpur, has funded a two-year research project on Jainism and its antiquity. This work is being done by a well-known scholar of archeology and history.
  • Throughout the year regularly, ISJS welcomes and provides introductory lectures lasting a half or whole day about Jainism to visiting or touring classes (usually 30-50 students and accompanying faculty) from American and Canadian universities.
  • ISJS is also negotiating with a couple of Universities and Institutions in India to establish Departments or Centers for Advance Study of Jainism at those institutions.    

Admission 2011

DETAILS OF LEVEL III PROGRAMS

As you know ISJS 2010 was an inspiring experience with overall satisfaction for all attending, organizing and funding individuals and organizations. Inspired by this experience, ISJS is now gearing up to significantly enhance its offerings in 2011 by providing three levels of programs namely
Level I For beginners and intermediate students and scholars interested in studying Jainism
Level II For advanced and serious scholars and faculty members of Jainism
Level III Specialized one week modules in meditation, art, and study of holy Jain texts in Sanskrit and Prakrit.

I am attaching an electronic version of the Information bulletin giving details of all the programs for your perusal. I am also sending by mail five copies of the printed brochure for your use and necessary action as you deem fit. Should you need more, please let me know? Also I request you to please email your preferred postal address, if different from the university.

I seek your enthusiastic support in advertising this program and sending the suitable candidates for these programs. Our website www.jainstudies.org will be ready with this downloadable brochure, application form and detailed information about ISJS and the program by September 25th 2010.

Since Level III modules are new, I am giving a brief description of each module for your follow up. These modules are offered based on very strong interest expressed by participants of various ISSJS programs.

ISSJS2011-SA ►Meditation camp
Acarya Dr Shivmuniji, chief acarya of Shraman sangh (Sthankavasi Jains), has developed this program based on Jain meditation practices. It had been already attended by several thousand persons, including myself over the last fifteen years. This year our alumni Prof Kragh and his scholar wife Mrs Kate Kragh, who attended ISSJS2010-6W also attended this program and spent the next week with Acaryaji. We all found this as an extremely beneficial program which contributed to overall well being both mentally and physically. This is a residential program involving theory and practice of Jain meditation. I personally recommend this for our alumni, serious philosophy /religious scholars and alumni of ISSJS. This module had been developed in English.

ISSJS2011-SB ► Study of Jain art and holy places.
This module involves visits to important Jain centres in Delhi, UP, MP and Rajasthan. Places like Ahinsa sthal, Dadabari, Smarak, Lal Mandir in Delhi, Hastinapur temple complex, Mathura Jain museum, Gwalior fort and golden temple, Sonagir, Devgarh and Lalitpur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Ranakpur and Dilwara will be visited. An expert in Jain art with deep knowledge of these places and Jain art will be the tour guide. Those willing to visit Shravanabelagola and Ellora caves after the program shall be offered assistance in visiting these places on their own. Students /scholars of Indian art and history and practical experience of Jainism will find this program very attractive.

ISSJS2011-SC ► Study a holy Jain text in Prakrit (Uttradhyana or Dasavaikalika)
This program aims to teach Prakrit language through the medium of an important Jain holy text. Uttradhyayan is a comprehensive Jain text and considered as the last sermons of Mahavira. It is the most read text by Svetambar Jains. Dasavaikalika, on the other hand is a brief text covering the entire Jain philosophy and practice developed by Acarya Sayyambhava in 4th century BC. It is very suitable in today’s fast food and instant learning environment. This text also is highly revered by Svetambar Jains. A learned Jain scholar with authority in Prakrit and Jain philosophy will teach this module. Scholars, faculty members and ISSJS alumni will find this module very rewarding.

ISSJS2011-SD ► Learning Sanskrit through Ratna Karanda Shravakacara.
This program is similar to SC but focus on Sanskrit language. Ratna Karanda Shravakacara is the one of the most revered texts of Digambar Jains composed by Ac Samant Bhadra (revered by both Svetambar and Digambar Jains) in 3rd century AD. This is perhaps one of the most respected texts that serve as a comprehensive text on the conduct of householders. Its study helps us in answering lots of present day issues and also practices of Jain tenets easily. A learned Jain scholar with authority in Sanskrit will teach this module. Scholars, faculty members and ISSJS alumni will find this module very rewarding.

I request you to please encourage your students, colleagues and others to apply and get benefitted by participating in one or many of the above programs. I feel these programs can be an excellent add on experiential study program for your students and collegues. As always I am available at svana(at)vsnl.com to attend to your queries and support your effort to make ISSJS2011 complimentary to your own mission of enhancing Jain studies in the universities.

Share this page on: