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Discovering Jain Philosophy with All Your Senses

Course Number: 2006
Modern life’s formal education, Western religious and philosophical systems as well as medical and social sciences make us have the impression that our soul, mind and body work separately, do not quite affect each other, and that mind rules everything. In the popular imagination, philosophy and religion are the places for the mind whereas the gym or doctor’s office are the places for the body.

On the path to liberation, Jain dharma shows that soul, mind and body are integrated and that bodily conduct directly affects one’s incarnated spiritual journey. The field of the Anthropology of Senses, in its turn, has shown us that our engagement with specific material environments and practices – whether they are architectural aspects, icons, clothing, food, and other bodily aspects in daily life – shape our perceptions and conceptions about the world we live in, through processes of which we are not always aware, helping or preventing us from reaching true knowledge.

The combination of Jain philosophy, explanations, and practices within the framework of the Anthropology of Senses provides means for unveiling daily (perceived as natural) knowledge-obscuring practices, which lead us to distorted perceptions about life and what we are doing here. The course aims to lead participants to an auto-observation regarding how they learn what they learn by exploring how an Anthropology of the Senses both informs, and is informed by, Jain tradition.

Learning Area

Jain Philosophy, History and Anthropology