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The Jain Diaspora

The Jain Diaspora 06/18/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
Since the turn of the twentieth century, thousands of lay Jains—and some ascetics as well—have traveled, studied, worked, and eventually established their own thriving communities in Africa, North America, Europe, and elsewhere. Today, 250,000 to 300,000 Jains live outside of India, a number that only continues to rise.
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An Overview of Jain Meditation in the Yoga-śāstra

An Overview of Jain Meditation in the Yoga-śāstra 06/11/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
In the Yoga-śāstra of Hemacandra the meditative states of yoga involve a dialectic between degrees of states of “active engagement” (pravṛtti) with that which is external to the soul (the cosmos, the body, the mind and subtle body, etc.) and degrees of movement towards “withdrawn disengagement” (nivṛtti) from these.
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Welcome to the Engaged Jain Studies Podcast!

Welcome to the Engaged Jain Studies Podcast! 05/31/2024

By Taina Rodriguez-Berardi
Brought to you by Arihanta Institute, this new podcast series features leading figures in the fields of Jain Studies, Religious Studies, Vegan Studies, and Social Justice. Each episode explores topics that transcend personal spiritual growth, connecting philosophy, religion, and spirituality with the crucial task of societal wellbeing.
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A Response to Christspiracy: Jain Yoga as the Internalization of the Sacrifice

A Response to Christspiracy: Jain Yoga as the Internalization of the Sacrifice 05/23/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
Christspiracy has reinvigorated critical dialogue on the ethics of animal sacrifice and killing in religious traditions. Christspiracy does not mention the profound contributions of another ancient tradition that has vehemently opposed animal sacrifice for thousands of years: Jainism.
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Arihanta Institute at the 2024 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion

Arihanta Institute at the 2024 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion 05/15/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
Join Arihanta Institute! The AAR will also be hosting, for the first time ever since the pandemic, an online conference from June 25-27, 2024, to allow scholars who might not otherwise be able to participate in the AAR to present their research online.
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Meditative Layers of Consciousness in Jain Meditation

Meditative Layers of Consciousness in Jain Meditation 05/09/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Professor Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD examines the layered contemplative practices of Jain Yoga as articulated by Ācārya Suśīl Kumār, and reiterated by Dr. Parveen Jain.
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The Threefold Test for Nonviolence

The Threefold Test for Nonviolence 04/25/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
Ahiṃsā is the principal vow (vrata) in Jainism, a pledge made by all Jains—ascetic and lay—to refrain as much as possible from committing acts of violence. But what does it mean to commit an act of violence? What qualifies as acting in violation of the vow of ahiṃsā?
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The Vegan Studies Initiative at Arihanta Institute

The Vegan Studies Initiative at Arihanta Institute 04/21/2024

By Parveen Jain
The Vegan Studies Initiative at Arihanta Institute is a groundbreaking online program focused on promoting and enacting veganism as an expression of multispecies nonviolence. Please join us in pursuing a future dedicated to compassion and consideration for all!
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New Online Speaker Series: Voices in Vegan Studies

New Online Speaker Series: Voices in Vegan Studies 04/21/2024

Voices in Vegan Studies is a new online speaker series featuring premier scholars in the field of Vegan Studies.
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Jain Energistic (Meta)Physics & Phenomenology

Jain Energistic (Meta)Physics & Phenomenology 04/12/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
“Is it an illogical contradiction to propose that an entity both changes and remains the same over time?” “Is ‘changing sameness’ possible?” Here, we will see how Jain Dharma can answer this question and come to a conclusion that is coherent with the energistic physics of modern science.
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Understanding Saṃsāra

Understanding Saṃsāra 04/04/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
Saṃsāra is a noun derived from the Sanskrit root saṃ + √sṛ, meaning a “going or wandering through” (Monier-Williams). The term refers specifically to “wandering through” the cycle of rebirth and redeath, a process otherwise known as reincarnation, transmigration, and metempsychosis.
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Jain “Scientific Realism”

Jain “Scientific Realism” 03/21/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
In some ways, the Jain tradition can be thought of as a scientific exploration of reality that asks various “research questions.” The basic research question of the Jain tradition is “Mukti-marga,” the “path to liberation, which proposes the research question of “how can we live in such a way that we will free ourselves from suffering?”
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First Global Graduate Studies Concentration Focusing on Veganism

First Global Graduate Studies Concentration Focusing on Veganism 03/13/2024

Creators of Engaged Jain Studies discipline also add a concentration in Yoga Studies.
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Are Jains Vegan? What do Jain Scriptures Say About Dairy?

Are Jains Vegan? What do Jain Scriptures Say About Dairy? 03/07/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
What do Jain scriptures tell us about dairy consumption? And can Jain tradition change?
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The “Pluralistic” and “Non-theistic” Reality of Jains

The “Pluralistic” and “Non-theistic” Reality of Jains 03/04/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Social pluralism of the Jain tradition follows coherently from the Jain view of reality, or Jain “ontology,” or the study of what is “real” and what aspects of our perception are mentally constructed illusions.
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Sallekhanā, the Jain Fast Unto Death

Sallekhanā, the Jain Fast Unto Death 02/23/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
Sallekhanā literally means “thinning out” or “emaciating.” It is a terminal fast undertaken by both ascetics and laypersons. It is a legal and political topic of heated debate, and the issue remains sensitive for Jains and is integral to a holistic understanding of ritual in Jainism.
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What is “Jain Yoga”?

What is “Jain Yoga”? 02/14/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
You know what yoga is, but what is “Jain Yoga”?
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The “Intellectualization” of Jain Ethics

The “Intellectualization” of Jain Ethics 02/08/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
Without being a philosopher, or even someone interested in moral philosophy, one may still ask themselves questions about the starting ground of ethical behavior...This article attempts to describe how Jain ethics gazes outward towards others, inward towards oneself, and upward through a novel “intellectualization” of ethics.
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Modern Jainism Defined - Belief, History, Literature, & Facts - Arihanta Institute

Modern Jainism Defined - Belief, History, Literature, & Facts - Arihanta Institute 02/01/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
With a rich history dating back thousands of years, Jainism is not only a religion but a way of life that emphasizes non-violence, truth, and asceticism. In this article, I will explore some key aspects of Jainism, from its core beliefs and historical roots to its literature and some other fascinating facts.
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Enroll, Learn & Enjoy! Four New Courses for Spring Session 2024

Enroll, Learn & Enjoy! Four New Courses for Spring Session 2024 01/31/2024

Four exciting new self-paced online courses available for students to learn and enjoy starting, February 1st!
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Jain Dharma as Pluralistic

Jain Dharma as Pluralistic 01/26/2024

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Loosely defined, social pluralism is when a diverse society works towards common values by perceiving, valuing, and utilizing diversity as a source of social strength. Likewise, religious pluralism refers to valuing religious diversity as a source of societal strength, enhanced through interfaith dialogue, respect, and peacebuilding.
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What is the Jain Conception of Time?

What is the Jain Conception of Time? 01/18/2024

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
This blog entry is devoted to what we could call “cosmic time” rather than “mundane time.” Or, to put it another way, it is an elaboration of kalpas rather than kāla, of time cycles rather than the everyday passing of units of time.
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What is the Field of "Engaged Jain Studies" and Its Object, "Engaged Jainism"?

What is the Field of "Engaged Jain Studies" and Its Object, "Engaged Jainism"? 01/11/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD
In collaboration with our partners at Claremont School of Theology, we at Arihanta Institute have proudly established the academic discipline of Engaged Jain Studies, intended for the academic study of Engaged Jainism. But what exactly is "Engaged Jain Studies" and its object of study, "Engaged Jainism"?
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Jain Yoga and Dhyāna – From Contemplative Introspection to Blissful Meditation

Jain Yoga and Dhyāna – From Contemplative Introspection to Blissful Meditation 01/07/2024

By Parveen Jain
Yoga is an essential spiritual practice in all dharmic traditions. Although the faith-based yoga practices like Jain Yoga, Vedic Yoga and Buddhist Yoga may seem to vary in their specific implementations, the underlying principles are fairly standard.
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The History and Meaning of the Namokar Mantra: A Brief Summary of the Research of Gustav Roth

The History and Meaning of the Namokar Mantra: A Brief Summary of the Research of Gustav Roth 01/04/2024

By Christopher Miller, PhD, VP of Academic Affairs Professor of Jain and Yoga Studies Arihanta Institute
Two questions I often receive from students are: Where does the Namokar Mantra come from? What does it mean? If you also ask these questions, read on to find out more.
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Do Jains Believe in God?

Do Jains Believe in God? 12/21/2023

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD, Associate Professor, Arihanta Institute
“Do Jains believe in God?” requires some explanation as to what is meant by “God.” Our question inquires into the existence of a capital “G” god in Jainism, a singular supreme being with an origin and nature and prowess uniquely different from all other beings, even other gods.
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Jain Biophilia

Jain Biophilia 12/11/2023

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD Assistant Professor Arihanta Institute
Biophilia is a subset of environmental ethics and environmentalrnpsychology that underscores human dependence on nature in a way that is more than material and physical, but also contributes to our intellectual, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
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An Interview with Komal Jain

An Interview with Komal Jain 11/27/2023

By Komal Jain
I am a practicing Jain, and my native language is Hindi. I was born and raised in India, though I moved to the United States at the age of 9 where I completed my schooling and became proficient in English. During my school years, I struggled and always felt unlikely to succeed.
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An Interview with James Taylor

An Interview with James Taylor 11/27/2023

By James Taylor
My main areas of interest to write about are animal advocacy and vegan education, which I feel are topics of utmost importance. I endeavor to educate as many people as possible about veganism and animal rights, I feel that I can have the greatest impact on the most amount of suffering in the world.
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An Interview with Chaitanya Prakash

An Interview with Chaitanya Prakash 11/27/2023

By Chaitanya Prakash
I believe that Jainism's emphasis on embodying devotion and spirituality has the potential to bring about profound personal and collective transformation. I plan to integrate these teachings into my daily life and share their benefits with others. Through various community activities, workshops, and spiritual gatherings, I hope to create spaces for reflections, dialogues, and inner growth, fostering healing and wholeness among individuals and communities.
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An Interview with Jesse Weaver

An Interview with Jesse Weaver 11/26/2023

By Jesse Weaver
“To find a home in a spiritual tradition was not a straightforward process for me. Fortunately, in finding Jain Dharma I was finally able to articulate my worldview and build the foundation of my moral life which will inform my professional and personal future.”– Jesse Weaver
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Why Don’t Jains Eat Root Vegetables?

Why Don’t Jains Eat Root Vegetables? 11/20/2023

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
The traditional Jain diet excludes root vegetables such as onions, garlic, potatoes, and carrots. But why? Why do Jains avoid these vegetables and opt for others instead?
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Gandhi & Anekānta-vāda

Gandhi & Anekānta-vāda 11/15/2023

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Gandhi’s relationship to religion was immensely complex. Both in his political approach to end religious conflict and in his own personal spiritual attempts to understand the divinity in the World’s traditions, he sought to find equal value in all traditions, seeking constantly to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable differences between them.
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Arihanta Institute at the UK House of Commons: A Trip to Meet the British Jain Leaders

Arihanta Institute at the UK House of Commons: A Trip to Meet the British Jain Leaders 11/08/2023

By Parveen Jain
Recently, some of us from the Arihanta Institute team visited the UK to participate in the Ahimsa Day celebrations at the British House of Commons and met some of the prominent Jain leaders of the country. We had excellent meetings and were pleasantly surprised by the level of awareness of Arihanta Institute.
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What Does “Jai Jinendra” Mean?

What Does “Jai Jinendra” Mean? 11/07/2023

By Christopher Miller, PhD
Jains routinely say “Jai Jinendra” to one another when they meet. But where does this greeting come from, what does it mean, and why don’t Jains just say hello?
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The Rational Basis of The Jain Concept of Soul

The Rational Basis of The Jain Concept of Soul 06/14/2023

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Is there empirical evidence for the existence of an eternal soul? What data might be supplied by our senses, our experiences, that might provide justification for the existence of the soul?
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Lord Mahāvīra's Incredible Journey to Kevala-Jñāna

Lord Mahāvīra's Incredible Journey to Kevala-Jñāna 05/25/2023

By Parveen Jain
Lord Mahāvīra attained kevala-jñāna – the ultimate, unabridged, all-encompassing, uninhibited, and absolute wisdom, and had the revelation of tattva – the fundamental truth, in the thirteenth year of his ascetic life of extreme penance near the village of Jrambhika.
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Ahiṃsā and The Social Reforms Inspired by Lord Mahāvīra

Ahiṃsā and The Social Reforms Inspired by Lord Mahāvīra 05/24/2023

By Parveen Jain
The name of Lord Mahāvīra, the last jina of this era, immediately invokes the thought of ahiṃsā (nonviolence) – perhaps the most valuable gift ever granted to humanity. There is no one who has promoted the value of nonviolence more than him, and no one is more effective, thoughtful and kindhearted champion of comprehensive nonviolence.
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Understanding the Menace of Social Intolerance

Understanding the Menace of Social Intolerance 05/23/2023

By Parveen Jain
If all of us share universal values such as love, friendship, compassion, mutual respect, and other meritorious qualities, why is social intolerance on the rise, especially when we are all experiencing the havoc unleashed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
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Navpada Āyambila Oli The Penance for Self-Cultivation

Navpada Āyambila Oli The Penance for Self-Cultivation 05/22/2023

By Parveen Jain
The followers of the Jain tradition observe Navpada Āyambila Oli, also called Navpada Oli in short, two times every year. Each observation lasts for nine days. The dates are based on the Jain lunisolar calendar, called Vīra Nirvāṇa Saṁvat calendar.
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The Relevance of The Paryuṣaṇa Parva

The Relevance of The Paryuṣaṇa Parva 05/21/2023

By Parveen Jain
The Paryuṣaṇa Parva (festival) is the most auspicious festival for Jains. The festival has immense benefits for personal development, and thus, immeasurable value for the betterment of society. That is why it is called the king of all Jain festivals.
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Gandhi’s Jain Journey: The Role of Jain Thought and Practice in the Making of the Mahātma

Gandhi’s Jain Journey: The Role of Jain Thought and Practice in the Making of the Mahātma 07/12/2022

By Jeffery Long, PhD
Mahātma Gandhi had a number of important influences throughout his life. Critical among them is the Jain tradition and its teachings of nonviolence (ahiṃsā).
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Jainism and Sentient Rights

Jainism and Sentient Rights 07/12/2022

By Jonathan Dickstein, PhD
This question is not infrequently voiced to animal rights advocates. While there are some troublesome assumptions embedded in its phrasing – the cogency of the catch-all category “animals,” the curious isolation of human animals from the category “animals,” the cross-cultural plausibility and applicability of “rights”
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The Jain “Yoga of Non-violence”

The Jain “Yoga of Non-violence” 07/12/2022

By Cogen Bohanec, MA, PhD
Everyone has heard of yoga. But have you heard about Jain yoga? The purpose of Jain Yoga is to help one stop the inflow of karma (āśrava), and remove existing karma (nirjarā). “Good” karma is a means towards that end, and “bad” karma represents actions that move one away from that end.
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How Jain Philosophy Inspired Me to Become Vegan

How Jain Philosophy Inspired Me to Become Vegan 07/12/2022

By Christopher Miller, PhD
You will not find the word “vegan” in any Jain text, though in light of today’s animal rights struggles, climate change, and human wellbeing, the Jain tradition’s ethical principles obliged me to adopt a vegan lifestyle.
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