Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Jersey Jain Center Inaugurated with Pratisha Mahotsav

The Jain Center of New Jersey was inaugurated with a 10-day Pratisha Mahotsav bonanza, where thousands of devotees from across the country converged for several ceremonies and a lavish parade.

The highlight of the festivities was an extravagant procession, which took place July 4 and consisted of nine different floats and drew 5,000 people. Floats were decorated with German silver, flowers, American and Jain flags, had live music, dolis, with Pathsala children participating.

Cultural programs were a large part of the inauguration as well, with religious dances like garba and dandiya performed at the main entrance of temple. Other highlights included a “flower shower” from a helicopter, elaborate, robotic displays on the lives of Mahavir Swami and the five Kalyanaks.

Special activities for youth allowed them to ask philosophical questions and play “Jain Jeopardy.” Discussion groups included “Jainism in College,” “Peer Pressure,” and “Moksha in the Modern World.” College-aged volunteers supervised younger children as they played games and created Jain-inspired art.

The Jain Center acquired almost ten acres of land in Franklin Township in Somerset County, and the total area of the project is 51,000 sq. ft. The traditional derasar has a total area of about 6,000 sq. ft.

The address of the Franklin Township Derasar is 111 Cedar Grove Lane, Franklin Township, N.J. 08873.

Claremont Jain Conference Brings Religious Diversity to Bioethical Questions

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The conference seeks to bring the resources of Jainism, of the dharma traditions of India, and of the world's religious and spiritual traditions in general, to bear on the most difficult bioethical questions of our day. Its broad aim is to address such questions as: when does life begin, and when does it end? When is the quality of life so compromised that doctors should cease further interventions? What is informed consent? What constraints should apply to research on human subjects? And how can the sanctity of life be preserved?

Claremont Lincoln University is co-sponsoring the event with its local, national, and international Jain partners (the Jain Center of Southern California, the Federation of Jain Associations in North America, and the International School for Jain Studies), making the conference a rare joining of those who follow the tenets of this ancient tradition in practice, and those who contemplate it through speculative scholastics, at the international level.

In addition to having diversity in religious difference, and bringing Jain practice and scholarship together within the international purview, the conference will also have speakers coming from incredibly varied walks of occupational life; rabbis, independent researchers, authors, a president of a religious network, a talk show producer, a surgeon, a cardiologist, a former scientist, a neurologist, professors, students, and Jain nuns will all constitute the diverse body of this unique conference.

The Bioethics Conference will be the pilot conference for the Jain Studies Program at Claremont Lincoln University-one of a handful of programs on Jainism that exist in the entire US-which opened last fall, at the inauguration ceremony of the newly founded university. The diversity seen along the different lines of the conference manifests the vision of Claremont Lincoln University, which aims to educate its student body in an interdisciplinary, multicultural, and multireligious milieu.

Media Contact:
Lidiya Potapenko
Publicity Coordinator

Muslims help in Jain temple construction

Patna July 28 (IANS) In an example of communal harmony in India, Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan have helped in the construction of a Jain temple in Bhagalpur town of Bihar.

Mohammad Janeshar Akhtar even demolished a portion of his house Friday to enable the movement of a 70-foot long truck laden with a granite stone block, being carried for making an idol at the temple, officials said Saturday. Other Muslims helped widen the street so that the vehicle could reach the temple without much difficulty.

"In the holy month of Ramadan when a Muslim is supposed to do rightful things, I decided to help my Jain brothers. I thought that if I refuse to demolish the roof of my house, it will obstruct the construction of the statue," said Akhtar.

The granite block was 35 feet long, 9 feet wide and 5 feet tall and was loaded on the truck. It could not be negotiated through the narrow and congested street near Akhtar's house.

"I demolished a portion of my boundary wall and roof of my house after the truck carrying the huge granite block got stuck on the narrow road leading to the temple," he said.

Akhtar along with Mohammad Alam, both residents of Kabirpur, a Muslim locality in Bhagalpur, about 200 km from here, then helped members of Champapur Digambar Jain temple to move the truck with the granite block to the temple for constructing the statue of Vaspujya Bhagwan, a district police official said.

"After the news spread that the truck carrying granite stone for the temple was stuck near his house, Akhtar decided to demolish the wall and the roof of his house," police official said.

Aalam, another man from the community, requested his Muslim neighbours to help in widening the road, the officvial said.

Akhtar told IANS over telephone that when even after the demolition of the boundary wall of his house the truck could not move, he asked workers to demolish a portion of the roof also as it was blocking the truck.

"Local Muslim residents helped to widen the road... It was a positive development for social harmony," Alam said.

Bhagalpur town had a history of communal conflict. It witnessed one of the worst riots in the country, in which over 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in October 1989.

Early this year, some Muslims had helped in building a Hindu temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Bihar's Gaya district. Muslims not only donated money but were also involved in the construction of the temple.

Earlier, a Muslim had donated his land for a temple dedicated to god Shiva in Begusarai district. Mohammad Fakhrool Islam had given land for it in Muslim-dominated Bachwara village.

Over three decades ago, in the same village some Hindus had donated a piece of land for the construction of a mazar (a place where a saint is buried).

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