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Peacebuilding & Interfaith Dialogue in the Jain Tradition

Course Number: 1007
In this course we will explore how we can talk with others from different religious (or non-religious) traditions in a way that fosters friendship and mutual respect. We will discuss the Jain tradition’s many resources that further the goals of peacebuilding in a pluralistic society, and what it means to create social unity despite the diversity of perspectives in various belief systems. Given the history of interfaith conflict and violence in our world, the Jain tradition has much to offer in terms of how understanding the religious (or non-religious) “other” and how dialoguing with those who have fundamentally different beliefs can be a source of friendship, harmony, and strength, rather than conflict and disunity as it so often is.

We will also discuss how such interfaith dialogue can be understood not only in social terms, but in the Jain philosophical terms of anekānta-vāda, ahiṃsā, etc. such that interfaith interactions can be a means of our own personal spiritual development—as well as social unity at a time when people seem more polarized than ever. We will also give particular emphasis to how the Jain tradition has employed a shared framework of yoga to dialogue with other dharma traditions, and what this tells us today about the potential for interfaith, intercommunal peacebuilding from the perspective of the Jain tradition.

Learning Area

Social Justice