Jain Studies and Research at FIU

Published: 01.12.2012
Updated: 02.07.2015

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FIU Miami



Jain Studies at FIU

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_01.jpgThere is a good response from students to the courses related to Jainism. We have an environment at FIU where we can smell fragrance of Jainism in the academic programs of the University. Through in person, online and various electives courses almost 500 students are taking courses with Jain content every year at FIU. The reception of Jain teachings by the students is exciting. From 2011 one online course related to comparative Jainism has been started and one more online course "Introduction to Jainism" is going to start soon from Spring 2013.

Research in Jain Studies

Research in Jain meditation is initiated at FIU. Samani Unnata Pragya started off with a pilot project on the benefits of Preksha Meditation (PM) at FIU in 2011. The subjects were of two groups, students with learning disability and without learning disability. Pre and post test were conducted to analyze their pulmonary function and cognitive skills. Subjects were students of the university and keen in meditation.

The results showed both groups were equally receptive to PM and showed a significant improvement in their peak flow measures. The cognitive skills did improve in some aspect, but it does need a longer durational study with a bigger cohort to explore the results.

Steven Vose Joins FIU in Jan 2013

Steven Vose Joins FIU as Assistant Professor under Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship of Jain Studies in Jan 2013.

Steven Vose, one of the brightest among the young Jain scholars in the western world, has accepted the offer of a faculty position under Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship in the Department of Religious Studies at FIU. His appointment starts in Jan 2013. Vose has a master's degree from Harvard and is finishing up his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania on "Jain Monks as Political Leaders in Sultanate-era Gujarat". Vose is a versatile linguist, being fluent in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Gujrati and old Gujarati and conversant in Hindi, Nepali and French. A summa-cum-laude student, Vose has won many awards, honors and fellowships in his field of study.

Research Project in Preksha Meditation

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_02.jpgThe present research aims to analyze the impact of Preksha Meditation on the cognitive abilities and pulmonary functions of students. Pre- and post-meditation tests are taken to analyze the benefits of PM on the subjects. The research team includes Dr. Devendra Mehta, Samani Dr. Chaitanya Pragya, Samani Unnata Pragya and Students from FIU.

There are 25 students enrolled in the project. Students will meditate for two months, three days a week. One experimental and other control group are guided with two different types of PM. The research is carried as blind experiments where in the subjects are not told about the meditation benefits nor are they told in which category they belong to.

The meditation sessions, guided by Samaniji, are gradually increased in duration from 15 mins to 25 mins each. The pre-and post- test includes simple buzzing exercise, the peak flow test, Spirometry test, memory test, Corners CPT test. The research will be repeated again in spring. The students are enjoying the sessions, experiencing relief from stress and an overall feeling of wellbeing. Expert statistician will undertake the data analysis. The research received the research funds from Rajiv and Latika Jain and is also supported by the Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship of Jain Studies and the Department of Religious Studies, FIU.

Lecture at FAU on "Justified Violence"

Noemi Marin, Director of Peace Studies, at FAU invited Samaniji for a lecture on Jain concept of violence and nonviolence. Samani Unnata Pragya delivered a lecture exploring the issue of "Justified Violence" and its healing component solidified by the enlightenment of Bhagwan Mahavir. The lecture raised awareness and furthered the connections between different US universities to promote Jain studies.

Summer Study Abroad Program

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_03.jpgTwelve graduate and undergraduate students from FIU visited JVBU and ISSJS India this summer for a six week course on Jainism. Sharing his experiences Logan Backman, a graduate student, writes:

"Compared to other great cultural, philosophical and religious traditions of India, Jainism has received surprisingly little scholarly attention until very recently, and, even now, programs such as these remain exceedingly rare. I am, therefore, incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with important Jain religious leaders, to spend time observing the daily lives of Jain monks and nuns and to experience the incredible hospitality and friendship of Jain families. These are worlds of experience that most non-Jains will never know.

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_04.jpgThe experiences I had this summer, both inside and outside of the classroom, have enlarged my world-view. As a student of Indian religions I am certain I will return to India many times in my life, but these programs provided a wonderful introduction to the richness and diversity of Indian culture. The summer heat in India can be intense and some people will experience moments of profound

culture shock, as well. Nevertheless, I would recommend both JVBU and ISSJS programs to anyone with an adventurous spirit who longs for a glimpse of Indian life and religion not seen by the average tourist. For me, it was unforgettable."

  

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_05.jpgBhagwan Mahavir Senior Research Fellowship

Under BMJR Summer Fellowship program one of the senior fellows, Prof. Manuel Gomez of FIU Law School spent time in India researching "Internal Conflict Resolution among Jain Diamond Trading Community in Gujarat". The summer research program, which is subsidized by the Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship at FIU, has become very popular among the FIU community and we hope to expand the opportunities further in future.

 

Visit to Kundkund Jnanapeeth, Indore

Kundkund Jnanapeeth in Indore, India is one of the foremost center in the world in the field of Jain scholarship and research. Samani Dr. Chaitanya Pragya was invited by Prof. Anupam Jain, Director of Kundkund Jnanapeeth Indore, to deliver a lecture on the "Development of Jain Studies and Research at FIU" on 6/12/2012. The session was presided by Prof. A A. Abbasi, the Former President of Ahilyadevi University, Indore. Prof. Pradipakumar Singh and Prof. Prakash Kasliwal welcomed Samaniji and Prof. Abbasi. Other esteemed members of KJP were present at this occasion.

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_06.jpgIn her talk Samaniji expressed her observations about the Jain Studies at FIU and also described the response of FIU students to Jain studies and research. In the words of one student "teaching Jainism in western universities is extremely benevolent and time effective because the western religious culture seems to be very superficial and void and lack the intensity to understand the religions." In her concluding remarks, Dr. Chaitanya Prajna said that Jain people and organizations should find an efficient, organized way to share their universal values and philosophy with people of the world through education. With some kind of infrastructure or collective effort Jains can enlighten westerners about the time-effective principles of Jainism and its overall belief towards harmony and non-violence. Those concepts are very popular in the western world today, particularly because atheism is rising and people are seeking a new morality that works in today's world. In today's world more fights are being fought over religion and in the name of religion than bringing peace to the world in the name of religion. A religion like Jainism propagates peace, tolerance, and prosperity. This is essential if we are to move forward in today's globalized society.

After the talk the dignitaries presented their views on the need of Jain studies in modern times and showed their full cooperation to enhance Jain studies and research activity started at FIU.

Lecture on "Jain Meditation" by Samani Unnata Pragya

http://www.herenow4u.net/fileadmin/v3media/downloads/pdfs/FIU_Jain_Education/Jain_Studies_and_Research_at_FIU_07.jpgOn Nov 6, 2012, the Center of Spirituality at FIU organized a lecture by Samani Unnata Pragya on the topic "Jain Meditation". The lecture was one in the series of lectures organized by the Center of Spirituality FIU. Jain Meditation, an ancient meditational practice, has assisted innumerable souls to accomplish enlightenment. The audience was eager to know about the ancient practice and also as to how did it survive from the ancient India to the modern times.

Samani Unnata Pragya delivered an explanation of Jain meditation and explained how the ancient practice can be relevant in the modern times. The lecture was accompanied by guided meditation session. Both the students and non-students in the audience were very appreciative of the meditation session, which gave them new insights into the wisdom and practices of ancient India.

Sources

JERF Newsletter 2012-03

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anupam Jain
  2. Bhagwan Mahavir
  3. Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship Of Jain Studies
  4. Chaitanya
  5. Cooperation
  6. Devendra
  7. Environment
  8. FIU
  9. Gujarat
  10. ISSJS
  11. Indore
  12. JERF
  13. JVBU
  14. Jainism
  15. Kundkund
  16. Mahavir
  17. Meditation
  18. Miami
  19. Non-violence
  20. Nonviolence
  21. Pragya
  22. Prajna
  23. Prakrit
  24. Preksha
  25. Preksha Meditation
  26. Samani
  27. Samani Dr. Chaitanya Pragya
  28. Samani Unnata Pragya
  29. Sanskrit
  30. Steven Vose
  31. Tolerance
  32. Violence
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