The Jain Education Fair, December 1, 2018 | Jain Studies

The Jain Education Fair, December 1, 2018

Event Date: 
Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 10:30am
Location: 
Environmental Science Building

The Jain Education Fair will occur on Saturday, December 1, 2018, 10:30am to 3 pm, in the Atrium of the EESAT Building. (Lunch will be provided.) Please encourage your students to attend and consider incentivizing them with extra credit. This event coordinating with the Jain Society of North Texas will be an opportunity for UNT students to observe features of an ancient Indian religion in the contemporary world. It will also be an opportunity to enjoy Indian music of the Jain tradition, as well as Indian food, and to hear the views of Jain young people concerning contemporary moral issues. Courses in the History of Religions as well as in Contemporary Environmental Issues and Bioethics are especially germane to the topics of the fair.

There will be live music performance, arts contest, essay-writing contest skits and other activities. Participants & winners will be recognized by UNT.

Essay topics that Jain students will present will include such topics as:

--How Jain Principles can contribute to lasting world peace

--How Jain principles can be applied to address the global warming

--Jain Ethics to eradicate poverty

--Jain Ethics to improve our environment

--Jainism and Civil Rights Movements around the world

--Jain Art and Architecture

--Antiquity of Jainism

--Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism

A Tour of the Zero Energy Lab at UNT (will occur at the conclusion of the event).



PAST EVENTS:

Jainism And The Environment

April 14, 2018

The University of North Texas

Welcome

We welcome you to this first major public event of the BhagwanAdinath Professorship in Jain Studies at the University of North Texas. Jainism is an ancient religion of India that is committed to non-violence. Itdecisively influenced the activism of Mahatma Gandhi, and through Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement in the United States. The purpose of this conference is to explore the significance of the Jain commitment to non-violencefor environmental ethics. The papers to be presented in this conference represent the work of established scholars in the field of Religion and Ecology, and in the areas of Jain History, Art, and Architecture, as well as the work of younger scholars who are opening new vistas of research in Jainism as it pertains to various areas of interest in contemporary Jain communities, particularly as they pertain to the environment. We intend this conference not simply to be the presentation of research but the venue for lively exchange of ideas that will stimulate further research and reflection upon the problems we face in an increasingly fragile environment and the resources in the religious traditions of the world to address these issues. We hope this conference will prove to be engaging and relevant, and the beginning of further explorations of the meaning of Jainism in contemporary life and thought.

George Alfred James,

Bhagwan Adinath Professor of Jain and Indic studies

University of North Texas

Cover Image: The Jain Symbol of the raised hand means stop. The word at the center of the raised hand is the word ahimsa which means non-violence. The symbol is an invitation to stop and reflect upon non-violence. It is an invitation to examine our intentions as well as our words and actions to determine whether they will cause harm to any living being, or whether they will encourage others towards harmful activity. The wheel in the center of the palm expresses the Jain view that if we are not careful orchoose ignore these considerations but perpetuate violent activities, then just as the wheel goes round and round, we will continue to go round and round through the cycles of birth and death.

Acknowledgements

For the funding, support, and organization of this conference we gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the Jain Education and Research Foundation (JERF), The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) the Department of Philosophy and Religion of the University of North Texas, and all those who contributed to the founding of the Bhagwan Adinath Profesorship in Jain Studies at the University of North Texas

Our Presenters

Brianne Donaldson: Postdoctoral Fellow in Jain Studies, Rice University

Brianne Donaldson'swork explores the religious, secular, and scientific foundations of socially-sanctioned violence toward plants, animals, and marginalized people. She is the author of Creaturely Cosmologies: Why Metaphysics Matters for Animal and Planetary Liberation (Lexington Books, 2015), and the forthcoming Insistent Life: Jain Foundations for Bioethics (Lexington Books, 2018, co-authored with Ana Bajzelj). She is the editor of the collections The Future of Meat Without Animals (Rowman and Littlefield International, 2016) and Beyond the Bifurcation of Nature: A Common World for Animals and the Environment (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014).

Vithal Potdar: Senior Research Associate,The Mythic Society,Bangalore, India.

Vithal D. Potdar received his PhD from the Department of Ancient Indian History & Epigraphy, Karnatak University, Dharwad (India) in 1995 on the topic " Public Finance in Early & Medieval Deccan (A study of system of economy from 6th to 13th century A.D.) for which he was the recipient of fellowship from Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He is engaged in the teaching and research in Indological studies since last 25 years. He has visited a couple of American universities in recent years for interactions relating to his academic interest with academicians in the U.S.A. Presently, he works as Senior Research Associate in the century old institute The Mythic Society in Bangalore

Nalini Rao:Associate Professor of World Art, Soka University of America

Nalini Rao, earned her PhD in Art History from UCLA and her PhD in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Mysore, India. She is Associate Professor of World Art at Soka University of America, CA.Her publications include:Boundaries and Transformations: Masterworks of Indian and South East Asian Sculptures from the collection of Dr and Mrs. William Price. 1997, Contours of Modernity: An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art. 2005.Royal Imagery and Networks of Power at Vijayanagara: A Study of Kingship in South India. 2010. Sangama: A Confluence of Art and Culture During the Vijayanagara Period. 2005.Sindhu-Sarasvati Civilization: New Perspectives, 2014, and others.

John Cort: Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions, Denison University

John Cort is Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, USA, where he also holds the Judy Gentili Chair in International Studies. He has taught at Denison for 27 years, and has also taught at Harvard and Columbia Universities. He is the author of many articles on the Jains, as well as Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India (2001), Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History (2010), and, with Lawrence A. Babb and Michael W. Meister, Desert Temples: Sacred Centers of Rajasthan in Historical, Art-Historical and Social Contexts (2008). He has edited Kendall W. Folkert. Scripture and Community: Collected Essays on the Jains (1993), Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History (1998), and, with Andrea Luithle-Hardenberg and Leslie C. Orr, Cooperation and Competition, Conflict and Contribution: The Jain Community, Colonialism and Jainological Scholarship (forthcoming). He is one of the co-associate editors of the forthcoming Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism. His research on the Jains has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright-Hays, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Asian Cultural Council, the Getty Grant Program, the American Philosophical Society, Denison University R. C. Good Fellowships, and the Denison University Research Foundation. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship

Pankaj Jain: Associate Professor, University of North Texas

Dr. Pankaj Jain is currently editing the Hinduism section for the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions and the volume Indian and Western Philosophical Concepts in Religion. He is also writing a book on the history of Jains and Hindus in the Americas. His two published books are Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India: Moving the Mountains (2017) and Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (2011). He is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas where he teaches courses on religions, cultures, ecologies, and films of India and Asia.

Chris Chapple: Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University

Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology and Director of the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University. He has published several books on Jainism, including an introductory overview in Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions (SUNY 1993), Yoga and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life (editor, Harvard, 2002), Reconciling Yogas: Haribhadra's Collection of Views on Yoga with a New Translation of the Yogadṛṣṭisamuccaya (SUNY 2003), and Yoga in Jainism (editor, Routledge, 2016). Chris serves as Academic Adviser to the International Summer School for Jain Studies in Delhi and is Associate Member of the Centre of Jaina Studies Centre at SOAS, University of London.

Anne Vallely: Associate Professor, University of Ottawa

Anne Vallely's area of research is in the field of Anthropology of Religion, with a specific focus on the Jain tradition. At the broadest level, she is interested in issues germane to the study of religion, and fundamental to the human condition, including suffering, death, healing, devotion and interactions with the nonhuman world.

Joshua Banis: University of North Texas, Sustainability Program Specialist, Fort Worth, TX

Joshua P. Banis was born in San Antonio, TX in 1985. Before coming to UNT he served in the United States Army as an Emergency Care Sergeant. He graduated from UNT in 2013 with a major in Religion and a minor in Philosophy, and received a MA in 2016 with a major in Applied Anthropology with a thesis on Religion and Ecology. He now works for a government agency as a Sustainability Program Specialist.

Chris Miller: PhD candidate in the Study of Religion, University of California, Davis.

Christopher Miller is a PhD candidate in the Study of Religion Graduate Program at UC Davis. His research focuses on modern yoga as well as the religious traditions of India in light of the natural world. He has a BS in Accounting as well as an MA in Comparative Theology from Loyola Marymount University, an MA in Religious Studies from UC Davis, and is a certified public accountant in the states of Hawaii and California. Christopher was the past recipient of the the Mellon Research Initiative in Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds Research Grant, the UC Davis Provost's Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and the Doshi Bridgebuilder Grant for his research and work with Tamil Nadu's surfing communities.

Joseph Tuminello: PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Texas.

Joey Tuminello is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of North Texas and an associate fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. His research focuses on the intersection of food, animal, and environmental philosophy, incorporating perspectives from pragmatism, Jainism, and hermeneutics. Beyond academia, Joey organizes international education initiatives with the nonprofit agricultural advocacy group Farm Forward.

Program

9:30am Welcome: David Holdeman, Dean

10:00-12:00noon

Session One

Jainism, Environmental History, and Built Environments

Brianne Donaldson: Postdoctoral Fellow in Jain Studies, Rice University

Jainism and Darwin: Evolution Beyond Orthodoxy

Short Q & A

Vithal Potdar: Senior Research Fellow, The Mythic Society, Bangalore

Jain Environmental Values as Embodied in Some Early Jaina Sites in Karnataka

Short Q & A

Nalini Rao: Associate Professor of World Art, Soka University of America

Social Role of Jain Architecture

Short Q & A

Open Panel and Audience Discussion

Lunch

12:00 1:30pm

1:30-3:30pm

Session Two

Jainism and Ecology Revisited

John Cort: Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions, Denison University

Why Does Jain Environmental History Matter?

Short Q&A

Pankaj Jain: Associate Professor,University of North Texas

The Episteme of "Environment" in Jainism: A Response to John Cort

Short Q & A

Chris Chapple:Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University

Jainism, Ecology, and Bioethics

Short Q&A

Open Panel and Audience Discussion

3:30-4:00pm Coffee

4:00-6:00pm

Session Three

Jainism and the Global Environment

Anne Vallely: Associate Professor,University of Ottawa

Liberation & Ecology: Revisiting Jain contributions to Environmental Thought

Short Q & A

Joshua Banis: Sustainability Program Specialist, Fort Worth TX

Sustainable Education: An Interfaith Climate Change Initiative

Short Q & A

Chris Miller: PhD candidate in the Study of Religion University of California, Davis.

Contemplative Pedagogy: A Novel Approach for Teaching Jainism and Ecology

Short Q & A

Joseph Tuminello: PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of North Texas.

Orthodox and Diaspora Jain Perspectives on Animal Ethics

Short Q & A

Open Panel and Audience Discussion

6:00-6:30pm

Devotional Music

7:00pm

Recognition Dinner

Donor Recognition: Anant Jain

Introduction of Keynote Speaker: Pankaj Jain

Key Note Address: Chris Chapple

Abstracts

Brianne Donaldson: Jainism and Darwin: Evolution Beyond Orthodoxy

Many contemporary Jains assert that the ancient tradition of Jainism is compatible with modern science. Some authors specifically attempt to demonstrate the early evolutionary insights of "Jaina biology" which, when compared to Darwin's 19th-century theory, may be partial, implicit, resonate with "Darwinian expressions," or offer a corrective to Darwin's account by redefining certain aspects of evolution altogether.

In this presentation, I explore three strategic arguments contemporary Jain authors have made for their tradition's compatibility with Darwin's theory of evolution, namely that the Jain view posits (1) biological resonances and epistemic flexibility, (2) the evolution of consciousness explained through karmic variation, and (3) the exceptional possibility of human omniscience. I will highlight persistent challenges within these arguments that undermine any easy comparison between the Jain worldview and Darwin's theory.

The Jain tradition does not speak in one voice regarding modern science. However, as Jain communities move and develop into new contexts with fresh concerns beyond ancient orthodoxies, we find a proliferation of divergent responses to claims such as Darwin's theory of evolution that keep the Jain tradition alive and changing in its own right.

Vithal Potdar: Jain Environmental Values as Embodied in Some Early Jaina Sites in Karnataka.

Religions in India and their values can be studied in different dimensions. In the study of Jainism, a new dimension has emerged with concern for the environment. This dimension in the study of Jainism is especially evident in the study Jain Art and Architecture. The fact that the primary aim of the Jain pilgrimage is spiritual edification is reflected in the sites that are most often selected for their pilgrimage centers (Tirtha-kshetra). Often these are mountain tops, secluded dales, or jungle-clearings, far from urban habitations. As such they are set in the midst of captivating natural scenery and peaceful surroundings, conducive to concentrated meditation and spiritual contemplation. In such sites Jain monks advocated the practice of Svadhyaya-Dharmasadhana, or the discipline of self-study towards the ultimate realization of Nirvana, totally based on an eco-friendly life-style. The Samavasarana concept associated with a 'divine audience hall' supports construction of an open-air theatrein a Jain monument. It advocated a boundary-less dissemination of knowledge to the disciples by a Jinain an eco-friendly built environment. This presentation will illustrate the ancient Jain relationship with the environment through a discussion of such pilgrimage sites as Sravanabelagola, Koppala, Mulgund, and Aihole.

Nalini Rao: Social Role of Jain Architecture

There have been numerous researches on Jain philosophy, religious beliefs and descriptions of Jain temples and iconography, but not much scholarly attention has been given to the social role of Jain temples and monasteries. The paper investigates into the embedded social and personal practices of Jain architecture in Sravanabelagola, Karnataka, that addressed people's actual values and commitments and provided shape and content to living traditions. It deals with Jain Digambara architecture in the context of promoting community values, of learning, ethics and gifting that were intricately tied to aesthetics that was educative in an experiential way.

Jain mathas or monasteries played a key role in the promotion of learning and public education, and these institutions, that centered around the Bhattarika or the celibate learned cleric, as well as the figure of Bahubali/ Gommateswara that became actualized through sculpture into a living force. Jain architectural tradition is historical, and is socially oriented to serve the community. It made a vital contribution to promote Jain texts and literature, provide a place for religious experience, invite philosophical debate, contributed to the flourishing of values of dana. Another significant aspect of Jain architecture at the site is its relation of architecture to its natural environment from the perspective of Jain experience and built environment. The paper also attempts to redefine the relation of free-standing sculpture to architecture from an aesthetic point, and ultimately within a natural environment that can be seen at the site. The sacredness that emanated was embedded in the landscape, people, their social (and religious) needs that was concretized in stone. It imparted a community identity to all denominations and groups and imparted a cohesiveness and social connectivity that became a part of culture.

John Cort:Why Does Jain Environmental History Matter?

In my presentation "Green Jainism? Notes and Queries toward a Possible Jain Environmental Ethic" at the Jainism and Ecology Conference two decades ago, which was subsequently published in volume Jainism and Ecology, I advanced a two-part argument. (1) That as of the late twentieth century, Jains had not yet developed a fully worked-out distinctively Jain environmental ethic. (2) I also took issue with claims found among some Jain writers, and strongly enunciated in "The Jain Declaration on Nature," that the Jain tradition has always been environmentalist.

I argued that there was no reason to expect the Jains of earlier centuries to have developed a clearly articulated response to the epistemes of "environment" and "environmentalism," since those epistemes are of recent origin. Second, I argued that without an operative episteme of "environment" and "environmentalism," it was problematic at best to talk of Jains as historically having been environmentalist.

In my presentation at UNT I return to these questions. I look at the role of the study of Jain environmental history in the task of developing a contemporary Jain environmental ethic. My presentation is intended less to advance a strongly argued single position, and instead to provide an occasion for some collective thinking by both scholars and engaged Jains about questions of the role of environmental history in grounding environmental ethics.

Pankaj Jain: The Episteme of "Environment" in Jainism: A Response to John Cort

The epistemological and hermeneutic methodologies that are applied by scholars, such as John Cort, on non-Western traditions such as Jainism are rooted in the Western categories. To do academic justice to Jainism and all other non-Western traditions, the Western categories must be fine-tuned by incorporating Indic terms in the English language such as Prakriti, Jiva, and Ahimsa. Western scholarship must also look at the living laboratories of ecological sensibilities in lives such as Gandhi that defy all neat categories of being an environmentalist or a philosopher or an activist. The nonviolence-based inspiration from Mahavir (Swami) to Mahatma (Gandhi) has continued into Martin (Luther King) and several other contemporary leaders such as Bahuguna and Mandela and it is high time that scholars of religion and ecology embrace this Ahimsak Ecology and not just Deep Ecology. Although no religion can claim to have anticipated our current environmental situation, Jain vegans are inspired by the Jain religious traditions and can be seen as a unique response to the contemporary problem of environmental crisis.

Chris Chapple: Jainism, Ecology, and Bioethics

The Jain premise that individual life forms pervade the earth down to the elemental level, paired with the requirement that all harm to life be minimized, predisposes Jainism to a friendliness toward life that lends to what in modern times is referred to as environmental ethics. Because all environments are suffused with life and because life must be honored, Jainism implicitly affirms the basic ideas of ecological ethics.

Since the rise of environmental awareness and concern after the 1984 Union Carbide industrial accident in Bhopal that took thousands of lives, several organizations have taken up the task of ecological advocacy in India, most notably the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi and the Centre for Environment Education in Ahmedabad. Neither organization focuses particularly on faith-based approaches to environmental advocacy. Most work undertaken by Jains on behalf of environmental issues has been championed by individuals, several of whom will be discussed in this article.

As noted above, environmental or ecological concerns did not enter the modern Indian lexicon until local disasters prompted a reconsideration of the prevailing Nehruvian drive toward India's industrialization following independence from British colonial rule in 1947. Though some concerns had been expressed by Gandhi and others regarding pollution of local water sources, this was not seen to be part of the broad systemic problems that have been revealed since the Bhopal disaster. Since that time, numerous campaigns have been aimed at cleaning India's rivers, improving air quality, and ensuring the integrity and vitality of the soil. Leaders within these movements include M. C. Mehta who campaigned successfully for the transition to less-polluting compressed natural gas auto-rickshaws and taxis in Delhi and other cities and Vandana Shiva, whose work on behalf of organic agriculture has reached millions of farmers throughout the subcontinent. Because of Jain involvement with numerous businesses, various attempts have been made to infuse business ethics with an ecological sensibility. This article will explore Jain involvement with select businesses at both the theoretical and practical level, examining the writings and work of the late jurist L. M. Singhvi, the late religious leader AcaryaTulsi, educator and activist Satish Kumar, contemporary ethicist Atul Shah, and the Chairman of the Indian Green Building Council, Prem C. Jain.

Anne Vallely: Liberation & Ecology: Revisiting Jain Contributions to Environmental Thought

Abstract: In the Harvard University Press volume Jainism & Ecology, I argued that North Atlantic Jain communities (especially of UK, US, Canada) are developing in distinctive ways that reflect their new cultural contexts and demographic realities. The sectarian identities of Svetambara and Digambara Jains, while still present, are often constrained to allow for the expression of the now more salient trans-sectarian identity marker of "Jain." And in a cultural context where renouncers and the renunciatory ideal are largely absent, the articulation of the central principle of ahimsa reflects a more this-worldly orientation. In particular, I argued that the symbolic associations around food (its consumption and non-consumption) are broadening. In the traditional moksha marg (path of liberation) discourse, food represents a condensed symbol of samsara that must be mastered and eventually renounced, and fasting (upwas) is the primary means by which to break free of all worldly attachments. I argued that among North Atlantic Jain communities, the renunciation of food is now more typically tied to environmentalist, animal rightist and healthy living associations. In this talk, I seek to develop some of these claims and nuance others. In particular, I will reconsider some of the ways the Jain moksha marg ideology is being retained, rather than supplanted, within the North Atlantic context and how it offers a distinctive, and important, voice in debates on environmental ethics and philosophy.

Joshua Banis: Sustainable Education: An Interfaith Climate Change Initiative

This paper is a study of religion and the environment in the Dallas-Fort WorthMetroplex. It explores the manner in which participants in religious communities define and interpret their religious duty toward nature. The study is based on literature focused on Interfaith dialogue as it pertains to the relationship of Religion and Ecology. Through an exploration of the historical development of this concern it explores how religious environmental ethics is utilized in contemporary religious environmental activism in differing communities. My participants address the topics of sustainability and climate change, religion and the environment, consumption, and advocacy. The voices are those of Christian, Buddhist, Baha'i, and Jain members of Texas Interfaith Power and Light a local chapter of a National Environmental group called Interfaith Power and Light that are all concerned with how our actions are affecting the environment.

Chris Miller: Contemplative Pedagogy: A Novel Approach for Teaching Jainism and Ecology

Using our summer graduate studies program with the International Summer School for Jain Studies (ISSJS) as a prism for experiential analysis, this paper surveys Jainism's elemental meditations and concomitant views of the natural world as found in various textual traditions including the ĀcārāṅgaSūtra, TattvārthaSūtra, and Jñānārṇāva. During our six-week program of study with ISJS, some students undertook various Jain-inspired contemplative practices from these and other texts, the outcomes of which I will share from my own travel journals. Given our current struggles to find the global and individual will to come to terms with anthropogenic climate change and the ever-increasing defilement of our shared earth, water, and air, we will together come to a greater appreciation for the affective, educational power of Jainism's prescribed elemental meditations and visions of earthly life. We will also see how these meditations might be used in the university setting to augment the study of Jainism and Ecology.

Joseph Tuminello: Orthodox and Diaspora Jain Perspectives on Animal Ethics

In this paper, I examine Jain ascetic, orthodox lay Jain, and diaspora Jain attitudes regarding treatment of animals. Jainism has recently garnered attention from scholars and laypersons because of the potential applicability of Jain thought to contemporary moral issues, particularly within animal and environmental ethics. While the principle of ahiṃsāis recognized within Buddhism and Hinduism, Jainism entails the strictest adherence to this principle in comparison with the other Indic traditions. At the same time, views regarding the importance of non-intervention differ among orthodox and diaspora Jains. This is especially true regarding the orthodox ascetic ideal and the way in which Jain values are interpreted and actualized by members of diaspora Jain communities.

The orthodox Jain ascetic perspective on the relationship between action/non-intervention and the achievement of mokṣa can appear counterintuitive from the standpoint of mainstream secular Western ethics. The ascetic perspective, however, is internally consistent with Jain metaphysics, and understanding this also helps to illuminate the ways in which diaspora Jainism has diverged from orthodox Jainism. Anthropologist Anne Vallely has argued that the interpretation of Jainism as compatible with environmentalism is "[...] largely a new diaspora development, and actually reflects a shift in ethical orientation away from a traditional orthodox liberation-centric ethos to a sociocentric or 'ecological' one." This paper builds on Vallely's work, examining three possible Jain perspectives on intervention on behalf of nonhuman animals, and emphasizing the ways that this shift in orientation has taken place regarding Jain animal ethics.

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