ISSJS - International Summer School for Jain Studies - Student's Review

Posted: 28.08.2005
Updated on: 02.07.2015

Student's Review On First Annual International Summer School for Jain Studies

Jai Jinendra! What an honour it is to be writing! As you know, the first annual International Summer School for Jain Studies took place this summer in several cities in India, including Delhi, Jaipur, Ladnun, and Indore.

Eight scholars, including myself, from the United States and Canada participated in the enriching program during June and July 2005. It was a complete success! Many of us have plans to teach Jainism as part of our curriculum and have made special speaking arrangements regarding our experiences this summer. All of us will continue studying Jainism upon returning to our respective universities and will return to India to further our research.

The curriculum from the International Summer School for Jain Studies was vast and covered a lot of material. We were able to study with some of the most prominent and well known scholars in Jainism, who taught us Jain philosophy, ontology, epistemology, science, mathematics, art and sculpture, karma theory, ascetic life, and others to name a few. We also had the honour of spending hours with some of the most auspicious and beloved Jain acharyas, gurus, monks (munis), and nuns (sadvis) from each sect. I appreciated the wide-variety of scholarship, as the North American scholars are now capable of accessing knowledge that was previously unknown in their respective academia.

Beyond the curriculum, the scholars engaged, interacted, and learned from the Jain perspective. We were living the Jain lifestyle! The scholars, though many of them already are, became full Jain vegetarians and adopted the custom of not eating after sunset. We were asked to refrain from smoking, alcohol, and gambling during this time. I found this lifestyle to be very rewarding!

I particularly valued learning about the Jain vows. Three of them I found to be of greatest importance - ahimsa, aparigraha, and anekantvada. Living a life of non-violence, non-possession, and non-absolutism has always been a motivation of mine, and now I have words to put with these philosophies. I have further understood these concepts through the Jain perspective, and have noticed how researching Jainism has augmented my previous understanding.

The most evident idea I have realized on my voyage to the land of Lord Mahavir is that we are all involved in a process of purification, and that Jainism is more than a religion—it is a way of living, in which we honour and value life, perspective, honesty, and purity. Jainism is part of each idea, action, task, and interaction. Upon the graduation event of the Summer School, I realized that it was not an end at all but a very powerful beginning!

Ms. Laura Newberry,, Claremont University, California, USA
15 Aug. 2005, New Delhi,

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