Monday, February 27, 2006
  Jain ritual
I don't know a whole lot about Jainism, but these pictures from one of their rituals/holy days which took place Feb 19 are absolutely gorgeous.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/4736362.stm

From what I've gathered visiting various websites, Jainism shares concepts with Hinduism and Buddhism. The idea of the world being a circle of birth and rebirth and that attachment to the mundane causes sufferring. Thus the average person strives to remove greed, lust, anger, etc. from his/her heart and strives to treat all with loving kindness. Sort of the same thing that all religions teach with varying emphasis. :)
 
Comments:
Do you think this emphasis can be determined by observing recent political/social events?

Do you think that if you are on a path that states WITHOUT A DOUBT that life is to be respected under EVERY circumstance (retalitation, capital punishment especially included) and that part of the practice was to sweep insects from under your feet so as not to harm them that if more people aligned themselves wiht this path that the world would be understandably going in a different direction?

Do you think Islam with its acceptance of "justifiable violence" (i.e. eye for eye, but better to forgive; capital punishment seen as exonoration for "sins") and anti-violence paths such as Jainism have the right to be mentioned in the same sentence?

I ask myself this every day.
 
Salaams B.A.

No, I don't think this emphasis can be determined by current events. Current events of different eras show that people ignore religious teachings no matter what religion. Whether it's Al-Qaeda, the Crusaders and the Inquisition, the Hindu Nationalists on rampage in Muslim Gujurat, from whom we get brutal tales of pregnant women whose bellies were slit open with a machete and their unborn infants murdered, to the Zen Buddhist Samurai who were hardly living up to the non-violent teachings of Buddhim.

I think that if people serioulsy followed any religion or if they followed a secular humanist agenda along Kantian lines such as I was brought up with (do nothing that if the entirety of humanity did it would result in an untenable society and do nothing that you would not want others to do unto you.) then the world would be in a much different place.

The problem is that people ignore their religions (or secular humanist morality) and let their emotions get the better of them.

The other issue you raise is more tricky -- that being the difference between those religions that preach a complete and total abstinence from violence or force of any kind and those that see self-defense as a reasonable justification for violent actions. I see these two formulations as being on a continuum -- with Machiavelli on one end, Christianity and Jainism (and other strictly pacifist religions) on the other, and religions such as Judaism and Islam somewhere in the middle.

I personally believe that Islam and Judaism fall a lot closer to Christianity and Jainism than a lot of people want to believe. For instance, sanctions of self-defense in the Qur'an are tempered with exhortations to mercy and justice (usually within the same verse). The Prophet rebuked a companion who burnt an anthill, forbade the killing of young birds because of the distress to the mother, and commended those who cared well for animals. He counselled that controlling one's anger is the greatest jihad. etc, etc, etc.

On a personal level, I reject strict pacifism. I see it as contrary to the nature of the universe. Animals kill for food. We are animals. Thus I am not a vegetarian. I have HUGE problems with the way mass-production of meat is being handled and buy organic, free range, etc when available, but I don't think that eating meat is unnatural, rather the opposite.

Similarly, if someone is coming to kill me and my family, I will fight back rather than allow it. Even if someone were coming to simply rape me and my kids, I would use violence before I allowed it. I see no evil in this. The evil lies in aggression.

I think, in fact, that this is where the similarity lies. The Jain who sweeps the ant out of the way is avoiding agression against the ant. The Qur'an teaches the same thing -- Allah does not love the aggressor. (2:190)

No, I'm not trying to say they are the same, but they are heading in the same direction -- a world where people are kind to one another and the rest of creation. How to get people to heed that message, well that's whole other question that I wish I had some good answers to.
 
Thanks so much for the response. I reread my comment and thought it came across a little aggressive. It certainly wasn't menat to be. I have said those things that you mention about Muhammad (saw) to every person who has come to me with what I came to you. I really needed to hear someone say it to me for once!

:)

Please visit me over at baraka.progressiveislam.org sometime.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
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