A publication of the Young Jains of America
Table of Contents “Aparigraha - A Philosophical Viewpoint” by Shweta Moonat...page 2 Jain Perspectives....page 3 “Attachment to the World” by Anisha Jain...page 5 Jain Recipes of the Month...page 6 “The Relevance of Jainism” by Sumeet Bhandari...page 7 “Actions & Aparigraha” by Finale P. Doshi...page 8 Shardule’s Education Corner...page 9 “Minimization of Objects” by Ajay Dagli...page 10 Educational Jain Sites....page 10 Paryushan Starter Kit • FAQ’s...page 11 • Dear Atma...page 12
Edited by Sheenika Shah (San Diego, CA) and Vaishali Shah (Chicago, IL)
“Career, Ambition, Obsession?” by Ami Doshi...page 13 “Non-possessive Packrats Anonymous” by Hetali Lodaya...page 14 YJA Donation Page...page 15
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Aparigraha - A Philosophical Viewpoint By Shweta Moonat (Boston, MA) Which of your possessions matter to you the most? Is it the gift you received from someone special or the one bought from your first salary?
sadness, love and hate, wealth and poverty. This is just a perception and one does not exist without the other. Once we have trained ourselves to think beyond these perceptions, we have attained what is called moksha.
With time, we tend to mold the principles according to our needs and we all know we have done Aparigraha or the idea of non-possessiveness is that to an extent that our self consciousness also one the five principles of Jainism and holds immense justifies the change. But isn’t change the only constant meaning in itself. Sub-consciously we do think about thing in this world? Then why not change ourselves “not possessing” things that we have but still we do. by changing our habits and our thinking and Aparigraha means giving up your worldly possessions spreading the word of Jainism across the world in its like wealth and property without attaching thoughts purest form. We do not need to give up everything in of what you have given up. The thoughts can order to do this. As it is we have molded the comprise of sadness or happiness. By giving up, one principles to our requirements. The adapting of nonshould not attach himself to the very thought of possessiveness comes only with a simple owning something. This does not only apply to understanding that nothing in life is consistent or materialistic things but also to the baggage that we immortal. Everything today is going to change carry within ourselves from the past. One should tomorrow, may it be things, status, money, relations or learn to detach himself/herself from the possessions situations- good of property, people and feelings. The point is, what or bad. It is just we have today can be someone else’s tomorrow; be it waste of time a house, money, family or someone you love the most. and energy to get possessed We have to give up the attributes of life that with worldly do not help us become what we are or what we should be. We keep them within our soul, mind, heart things and people and then and body and stop ourselves from attaining moksha get grief-stricken (the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth on losing them. and all of the suffering and limitation of worldly But this state of existence). According to our Tirthankars, moksha is mind is much attained when we attain Samyak Darshan, or true perception. It is then we remain in the nature of soul easier told than experienced. It without raag (attachment) and dwesh (repulsion) and takes a lot of thinking and understanding to achieve a have finally reached a state of knowledge, bliss and state of Non-possessiveness towards something. Life enlightenment. We confuse ourselves with ourselves and with what people want to see us as. Attachment should be taken as a journey and not a destination. There will be indefinite stations in the way and each leads us to different karmas and we keep moving station/ phase has something new and different to between birth, suffering and death. There are two sides of a coin; pleasure and suffering, happiness and show. Your best bet would be get the best out of every phase and dump the rest.
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
This section is to hear the views of other young Jains by asking a popular question regarding Jainism. Hope you enjoy this section and be able to understand other people’s perspectives. QUESTION OF THE MONTH: What is one thing you would like to change in your life to be less non-possessive? It does not necessarily have to be material items; it can be one's nature, personality, or way of life. Upasana Doshi (Waterloo, ON) says: “Over the last decade or so it seems as though cutting back on material assets and trying to live a simple life is becoming more and more popular. In recent times, however, I find that there is a new kind of self-possessiveness which has developed within people, and this notion is evident within individuals who have too many activities, goals, dreams, and as a result spread themselves too thin. The new trend is to try to do everything and anything, i.e. going to every party, trying to get on every project at work, and having multiple hobbies. The question we need to ask ourselves here is: how can we limit these so called “wants” that fill our daily lifestyles. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that one shouldn't have goals in life; however, I find that it is better if I try to learn to focus my energy into things I really want to do and activities which are aligned with my goals in life. This may mean that sometimes I may have to let go of certain opportunities that come my way and choose another opportunity, instead of trying to do both. Through this approach I can give my one hundred percent to the activities and opportunities I do choose and get more out of it rather than spreading myself too thin.”
Vaishali Shah (Chicago, IL) says:
It was just recently when my grandfather passed away right in front of my eyes. I had a self-realization at that point. Why do we have so many possessions in relationships, materials, and other worldly things, when in the end, we are leaving this world with nothing. My grandfather’s passing was one of the toughest situations for us to handle because it was the first death in our family and he meant a lot to us. He was the elder protecting our household even though he was unable to speak and move around much. His presence felt like a protection on our family. Him leaving us definitely taught me a life a lesson. My grandfather left me some unspoken words of wisdom that I will try to use in my everyday life. “Be happy in what you have, and you will never be unhappy.” This phrase is commonly heard, but it is definitely not used as much. As humans, we like to create our own problems and unhappiness. If we truly just learn to be happy in what we have, then we would see our lives from a different perspective. Instead of feeling bad for not get everything that we wish for, why not feel bad for the millions of starving families
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out there or those that are orphans and do not have a family and are living on the streets of India. If we give up our possessions of worldly attachments, and appreciate what we have in our lives, life would be as good as new each day. This is what I am trying to practice in my life each day. I am taking my life one day at a time, one hour at a time, maybe even one second at time. Life is very unpredictable. I do not know what I will be doing right after I finish writing this perspective. Each day I pray to God to thank him for what he has given me. I try my hardest not be upset about something that I might not have received, but instead look at the positive outcome for not having that want be fulfilled and turn my thoughts away from it. If I divert my thoughts from being possessive to being non-possessive and accepting things as they come along during my day, my day ends by smoothly and on a positive note. It can be hard at times, but I can only try and try and hopefully I will succeed. I can only wish the same for everyone!
Jyoti Mehta (UK) says:
In my experience, there is a very fine line between fasting and feasting. Indeed, in the English language, there is only a one letter difference to express these two opposites! A main impetus in my decision to become a vegan, in the spirit of fasting, was so that it would control my attachment to the taste of dairy. By automatically limiting what I could eat, I hoped it would be an act of Aparigraha – being less possessive and attached to my food. I soon however found myself feasting on vegan equivalents of all the food I had forsaken. Before I was a vegan I did not really like cake, but when I became a vegan, vegan cake became such a novelty that I acquired a taste!
My wish is to remain true to the spirit of my decision to become a vegan. I did not become unattached to cheese, only to become attached to soy cheese instead. This is not to say I shouldn’t enjoy the food I eat, but to always keep in check my attachment to my senses and refrain from over-indulgence. Through introspection, it is possible to monitor one’s intentions and emotions, and this will be a key tool in my efforts to control my attachments. I became a vegan to limit my attachment and yet I found loopholes. I hope I can close these loopholes - not only in my veganism, but in all the aspects of my life to which I apply the concept of Aparigraha.
Want to read similar articles? The Young Jains UK also publishes quarterly publications. For further details or to be a future editor, writer or publisher, please contact email@example.com. It was first published under the Editorship of Dr. Atul Shah, founder of Young Jains, and is now edited by Jyoti Mehta. Like any journal, magazine, or newspaper, it provides information, news, and knowledge to its readers.
http://www.youngjains.org.uk/ Visit a Jain Art Exhibit! Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection opening at the
Rubin Museum of Art Friday, September 18, 2009
http://www.rmanyc.org/ 150 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Attachment to the World By Anisha Jain
Have you ever signed on Facebook to take a break from work and find yourself still on Facebook two hours later? If yes, then
activity, it also includes abstaining from an excessive amount of clothes, jewelry, video games, and toys.
Jainism teaches all of its disciples to eventually detach themselves from this world and achieve moksh. As householders, many of us are not in any position to do this but there are certain steps we can all take to at least to follow the basic idea. you can understand how much First of all, we should all go through our of a shock and disappointment closets and take out everything that hasn’t been worn it is to realize how much time for at least 6 months to a year. You will have a lot you have wasted just checking out photos from some more room in your closet and you will feel good party and commenting on peoples’ status messages. knowing that you made someone else’s life better. Not to mention you have now accumulated a new Secondly, if you have a shelf of books or a library kind of stress to finish that project or study for that somewhere in the house, it may be nice to go through test tomorrow because you have even less time. the books that you know Don’t worry, this happens to everyone. If you you will not be needing are not addicted to Facebook, then maybe you enjoy anymore and donate them to a local library or a long conversations on the phone or text messaging. Maybe computer games or video games intrigue you children’s hospital. Lastly, with their irresistible challenge to beat the next level. if you like to use your Maybe the drama in Indian serials like ‘Choti Bahu’ garage or attic like a storage space like I do, commit you to the TV day after day in hopes of then spending a couple of learning the solution to the next conflict or mystery. afternoons cleaning it out We all have some sort of materialistic possession, is also a good way to free whether it is a computer, television, iPod, or cell phone, in which our ability to control ourselves is not yourself from some attachment. to our advantage. We all know “Well what’s the big deal if I have an pastimes such as computers, television, and video inclination to spend all of my time on something?” games, are a great way to take a break from a long Good question. The big deal is that through this process, we are attaching ourselves to the world more day of work or school. If possible though, it may be advantageous for you to be aware of how much time and more without even realizing it. With our excessive dependence on materialistic possessions, we you are spending in all of these activities. Just by begin to rely on them to satisfy an insatiable craving. being aware, you may find yourself indulging in these activities less. When we depend on something less, In order to control our desires and obsessions with our happiness no longer depends solely on that thing such inclinations, Aparigraha should be practiced. and we find true happiness from inside. This way, not The concept of Aparigraha can be defined as only will you be enjoying all of the pleasures in life, detachment from material objects, people, and but you will also be practicing Aparigraha, which will places; the practice of not collecting unnecessary items and avoiding over-indulgence. Aparigraha does lead to a more simple, peaceful and happy way of not only include preventing an addiction of a certain life.
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Jain Recipes of the Month
Try these yummy and vegan friendly recipes in your kitchen! Submitted by Parinda Shah from Chicago, IL (snacks) and Ami Doshi from Toronto, ON (Vegan Mayo) VEGAN CHEESE BISCUITS
VEGAN RICE KRISPIES TREATS
Ingredients • 2 ¼ cups all purpose baking mix (Bisquick or eggless pancake mix) • ½ cup shredded soy cheddar cheese • 2 Tbsp chopped herbs or Italian seasoning • ¼ cup soy sour cream (Tofutti Better than sour cream) • 2 Tbsp mustard • 1/3 cup soymilk
Ingredients • 1 cup light corn syrup • 1 cup sugar • 1 cup peanut butter • 6 cups Rice Krispies or 6 cups Cocoa Krispies cereal • 1 pkg vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
EASY CHOCOLATE VEGAN TRUFFLES Ingredients • 1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreo Cookies • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, softened • 1 pkg (8 oz) vegan semisweet chocolate chips or vegan chocolate bar (any dark chocolate >65%)
VEGAN MAYO Ingredients • 1 cup soy milk • 2 1/2 cups safflower oil • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard • 1 tablespoon agave nectar • 1 dash hot sauce • 1 tablespoon sea salt • fresh ground black pepper
Directions • Place corn syrup and sugar in 3-qt saucepan. Directions • Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar • Heat oven to 425°F. Combine baking mix, soy cheese and dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. herbs in a large bowl. Mix sour cream and mustard in small • Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. bowl. Gradually stir in soy milk. Add the wet mixture to • Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Press the baking mix mixture; stir just until moistened. mixture into 13 x 19 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. • Place dough on surface lightly dusted with additional baking Set aside. mix and knead the dough about 10 times. Separate dough • Melt chocolate chips in 1-qt saucepan over low heat, stirring into 2 inch balls approximately ½ an inch thick and place constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixure. them on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. • Let stand until firm. Cut into 2 x 1- inch bars when cool. • Bake 12 to 15 min. or until lightly browned. Serve warm with marinara sauce.
Directions • Take the Oreos and crush them by placing them in a ziplock bag and going over the bag with a rolling pin. Mix about 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate the balls for approximately 30 minutes. In the meantime, melt the chocolate. • Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet. You can top the truffles with sprinkles, coconut, nuts, a chocolate drizzle, or anything of your choice if you’d like. • Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
Directions • Place the soy milk in a blender, and with the belnder still running, slowly drizzle in the oil. • Continue adding the oil until it is all absorbed. • Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk in the vinegar, mustard, agave nectar, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. • The mayo will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
The Relevance of Jainism By Sumeet Bhandari (Phoenix, AZ) Yes, Jainism will always be relevant and contemporary in our lives today. Jainism has been ahead of time because the Tirthankaras (ford makers) had enlightenment or 'kevalgyana' which made them see everything like a film recording, just like a time machine. Jaati Smaran talks about remembering your previous birth, which is also relevant today. Today, people say that Mahavira, or any of the Tirthankaras, were in an underdeveloped world, where there was no electricity or modern gadgets. However, ‘Samayik’ (where one becomes closer to the soul by isolating ourselves from daily lives for 48 minutes) was practiced even when there was no watch, because they knew 48 minutes accurately. Jainism always talks about the theory of karma which also involves the basic common factor among all organisms, which is a single ‘cell.’ Every organism tries to acquire more cells or develop its own cells by mating, procreation or physical acquisition. Every organism also has lifeless cells such as ‘money,’ which helps him gain more cells. This process of acquiring more and more is called as Parigrah (accumulation). Jainism talks about non violence which means that we should try and destruct less in this universe, be content with what he have and learn to give rather than acquire. 'Aparigraha' is the essentially the opposite of parigrah which means to stop accumulating. When we talk about acquiring less it also means to ask for less and to be content with the minimal, which involves less destruction, violence and killing. We are taught to do without the worldly luxuries. Global warming also can be healed with this thought by doing away with unwanted luxuries, which produce carbon emissions.
Thus this practice of non-violence and acquiring less serve as practical solutions to major problems such as establishing world peace and combating global warming. Jainism used boiled water for drinking millions of years before packaged drinking water companies thought about hygienic water. Jains also practiced vegetarianism before many realized the health benefits of the lifestyle. Rishabhdeva, the first Tirthankara, taught us the reason to establish ourselves as a civilization. He taught us that we should help each other, cook food in a certain manner and establish a chaturvidh sangh (ford civilization) where saadhu, saadhvi, shraavak and shraavikas existed. We as laypeople are shraavaks and shraavikas. Those who take diksha, or renounce the world, are the saadhus or saints. Even today aparigraha is relevant because the more we accumulate, the more we want, but renouncing the world is very difficult. For example, Alexander the Great, on his death bed, requested his doctor to help him live one more day. However, the doctor said he could not. When Alexander said he would give his kingdom to him in return, the doctor still said he could not help him. If Alexander the Great had known the value of his kingdom was not worth a penny, then he would have not wasted his life by acquiring kingdoms. Thus, he requested to all that his palms would face upward toward the sky when he was laid out in his coffin, to look like a beggar, so that the world would know even ALEXANDER THE GREAT went EMPTY HANDED.
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Actions and Aparigraha by Finale Doshi-Velez
As a graduate student, aparigraha appears, on first glance, to be a solved problem:
there's only so much junk that one can acquire on a student stipend, and frequent moves provide incentive to minimize one's possessions. Moreover, not being hugely well-off is a socially-acceptable excuse for limiting one's possessions, even among more materially-minded friends. Grad student, did you say? No one minds if the plates don't match. End of story? Not quite. Like many, my first encounter with aparigraha was in connection with material objects, but this great vow provides much more toward happiness. I mentioned “sociallyacceptable” in the previous paragraph. As Jains, we probably aren't particularly attached to our toasters or televisions--but we're often attached to our image (a “sense of mineness” TS 7.12). For me, the toughest attachments are the expectations that stem from my actions. Rowdy children, slow lines; these daily “annoyances” rarely bother me, but when I act, I want to see results. I want appreciation if I sacrifice a weekend working. I want to see progress from students I tutor. When these expectations are not met--for example, if several people cancel lastminute at a dinner party--I often feel upset. Attachments to the results of one's actions can cause as much as--or perhaps more--suffering than attachments to material objects. The Yog-Saar text states, “When one has no expectations then there is no anxiety, and when there is no anxiety there is a healthy mind, and a healthy mind leads to the best kind of happiness” (communication with a friend). The concept of actions without expectations is prominent in Eastern thought, and ideas such as Karma-Yog (activity without expectation of results or personal gain) and Nishkam Karma (detached
involvement) are now common in Western self-help guides. Aparigraha has much to offer. A few weeks ago, a relative complained that a cousin never called. I replied, ``Can't you just accept him? There's no point in getting upset.'' I was fully aware of the irony of my words, yet powerless to control my frustration. I love my relatives. I wanted them to be happy. I'm sad when they aren't happy, and my attempts had failed to help. It's the same when people I love engage in unhealthy behaviors. These attachments are clearly the source of pain, but what I am to do? It seems heartless, even selfish, for me to ignore them; doesn't Jainism itself tell us to have compassion for all beings? Again, the key is separating the action from its result. Actions are for the actor's benefit, not the recipient (as suggested in TS 7.33). We do good deeds because they are right conduct. Truly unconditional compassion requires removing the conditions we place on ourselves as well as on others. By giving up these expectations, one of the more subtle forms of attachment, we are free to be happy, regardless of our circumstance. And isn't that our ultimate goal? If this article has misrepresented information or caused misunderstanding, I ask for forgiveness. Michchha Mi Dukkadam.
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Shardule’s Educational Corner By Shardule Shah (Philadelphia, PA) Jai Jinendra! Thanks for checking out the Education Corner. I am glad this Young Mind’s theme is aparigraha (nonpossessiveness) because it is one of the more undervalued aspects of Jainism.
knowledge than ever before. I do believe that many of us are harnessing that potential and engaging in dialogues with our friends about the world we live in. Definite benefits. But there is a limit to how much information we can intake at one time. That is why I think it is important to look at your technological possessions and evaluate your usage. That is a step towards aparigraha.
I have completely fallen prey to this ridiculousness. I am on G-mail all the time usually while using my phone or watching TV. Because of that, I recently decided to do something about it. I’m writing this article in the middle of a week-long experiment to try and change my habits. For the past three days and for the remainder of the week, I've only checked my e-mail and looked up necessary information for my job, graduate school applications, YJA, etc. It is a week and not a millennium, I know, but I need to start somewhere. I have to start limiting my dependence on multiple sources of technology as part of daily routine. Maybe as part of the next YM, I will report back to you on how it went! So far, it has been good. I feel as if I am going through a How did this happen? ‘technology detox’ program – call it 21st century Technological advances have been coming at a faster aparigraha. pace than ever before. In recent history, large advances in technology have come every 10 or 20 I do not mean to assail advances in technology. As years. For example: TV approximately around Jains, we believe in science and technology more 1880’s, Radio around 1895 and so on. However, than any other line of organized faith. In one form Blackberries, the iPhone, laptops, netbooks, and or another, we are working or are in school working much more have turned many of us into part of the towards advancements in medicine, technology, the 'What do I do with all of this information?' financial sector, business, education, etc. Ultimately, generation. I just think we need to be careful about how we juggle what we are given. Focusing your attention Information overload. on person-to-person interactions, books, and It's almost as if our brain does not know what to do introspection will lead you to a happier and healthier with everything and screams, 'Why is your life than will a constant focus on who ‘likes’ your Facebook account open on your laptop while most recent Facebook status. you're twittering from your iPhone and watching the Red Sox pound the Yankees on TV?' A friend recently sent me a poignant video. It is an interview of the comedian Louis CK by Conan O’Brien. The video is titled, “Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” His point is that people (myself included) are too stupid to recognize the beauty of the incredible world that we live in. But more importantly, how technologically advanced we have become, and consequently, how we react to not being satisfied with it. This directly connects with aparigraha because our desire for improved technology has brought about side effects which we could not have anticipated. Those are described below.
Some call it multitasking. I think it’s unsustainable. All we do is look at screens all day. TV! Computer! Cell phone display! True, we have more access to
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Minimization of Objects By Ajay Dagli (Detroit, MI)
In Jain Educational Series (JES) 401, Aparigraha is very simply defined as “complete renunciation of all sense of attachment...and it is the true way of life” (Shah, Pravin K. p. 59). In essence, we need to consider the larger picture of all the items that we possess as human beings. For working professionals, the best practice is to consider the minimization of objects that can create tremendous obstacles. These obstacles can include a total lack of focus on the task, assignment, or responsibility in the present moment. For me, that has been trying to minimize all the technology at my fingertips. Consider that many devices today have duplicate features that are highly complex to use, but require constant attention and focus to keep track of updates. This includes mobile devices, mp3 players, planners, gaming systems, and other hand-held computers. In the past, I was guilty of constantly monitoring my phone for both e-mail and Facebook updates, since I never had a PC to keep with me on my travels. However, that changed when I purchased a PC from my own sibling to keep track
of all my records. Essentially, I minimized my “obsession” with keeping track of status updates and e-mails to leave that to personal time in my schedule. As a result, I was able to focus on the task at hand with intense preparation, commitment, and dedication to really provide long-term benefits at work. Today, I use a PC to keep all my work, communication, and activity planning, while avoiding print-outs, thus providing an additional benefit to the ecological system. Another example is clothes and books that can be given away readily to charity organizations. The local Salvation Army has trucks that regularly contact our home to visit for pick-ups and such. This is also the case for home appliances, such as toaster ovens, miniature refrigerators, etc. that create a “duplicate” technology in your own home. In summary, we need to be readily able to focus on our present, while minimizing our need for unnecessary or “duplicate” features in the best sense.
EDUCATIONAL JAIN SITES JainLink (www.jainlink.org) offers on-line membership, contact search, newsletter, website, surveys, quizzes, contests and connection Jains in North America. Jainsamaj (www.jainsamaj.org) offers its visitors an excellent service with information about several temples, biographical information about Jain priests, and a matrimonial database.
Jain Spirit Magazine (www.jainspirit.com) is an international full color quarterly magazine promoting one of the oldest vegetarian and environment-friendly cultures in the world. Its website has subscription information available. Jainworld (www.jainworld.com) is an excellent
website that provides educational information, literature, recipes and a lot more all on one site.
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
PARYUSHAN STARTER KIT Paryushan FAQ’s
Adopted by Shardule Shah from: http://pluralism.org/resources/tradition/essays/jain4.php 1. What is Paryushana? Paryushana is the most important Jain religious observance of the year. For both Shvetambars, who observe the festival over a period of eight days, and Digambaras, for whom Das Lakshana lasts ten days, this is a time of intensive study, reflection, and purification. It takes place in the middle of the four-month rainy season in India, a time when monks and nuns cease moving about from place to place and stay with one community. Paryushana means, literally, "abiding" or "coming together." This year, Paryushana begins on Sunday, August 16th, and ends on Sunday, August 23rd.
you are responsible for. Additionally, try not getting angry for eight days. If someone has harmed you, show patience and demonstrate forgiveness. Make a vow to mediate for 10-15 minutes a day. Make a vow to leave Facebook for eight days. Try not walking on grass at all. 5. Tell me more about Samvatsari Pratikramana.
For Shvetambars, the final day of Paryushana is Samvatsari Pratikramana, which can loosely be translated as the "Annual Confession." The act of confessing any infringement of the five great vows (non-violence, non-stealing, lying, 2. What do Jains do during Paryushana? celibacy, and non-possessiveness) is part of the life of All Jains, from householders to monks/nuns, a devout Jain throughout the year. But on this day it take on various temporary vows of study and fasting. becomes the focus of the entire community. The ritual of asking forgiveness is widened in scope to In this respect, it bears comparison with periods of rigorous religious practice in other traditions such as include family and friends and, finally, all living beings. The culmination of confession is receiving the Christian observance of Lent. Paryushana concludes with a ritual of confession and forgiveness forgiveness from all living beings and also granting forgiveness to all beings. Samvatsari Pratikramana for the transgressions of the previous year – this generally takes about 2 hours but is very interactive ritual is called Samvatsari Pratikramana [more on so any feeling of, ‘I’m lost/bored’ is minimized. this below]. If you attend Samvatsari Pratikramana, 3. What is the purpose of taking a please simple white/cream-colored clothing. This temporary vow? emphasis is on simplicity and contemplation and not Vows enable you to practice self-control. In a gaudiness or outer beauty. The importance of attending Samvatsari society where we are addicted to everything from Taco Bell to “Gossip Girls” to shopping, self-control Pratikramana cannot be overstated. If you would like to know where one is taking place, e-mail YJA’s vows will make you a mentally stronger person. It Education Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call will prepare you for times when the fixtures you your local Jain Center. In addition, a link to a .pdf depend on every day are not there anymore. This YM’s theme is ‘Aparigraha’ (non-possessiveness) and version of ‘English Pratikramana’ is provided in this month’s YM. Reading ‘English Pratikramana’ taking a temporary vow is the very essence of during Samvatsari Pratikramana is a great way for aparigraha. 4. I already do Besna/Ekasna/Upvas, but it the meaning of the day to be reinforced. is very hard for me to limit when I eat. So, 6. What if I cannot attend Samvatsari Pratikramana? what other vows can I take? If, by absolutely unavoidable circumstances, There are infinite other ideas for vows you can take. What you cut from your life is completely you cannot perform Samvatsari Pratikramana on the up to you! Try abstaining from eating dairy products 29th, you can guide yourself through your temple’s Samvatsari Pratikramana using the English for eight days. Eating dairy is a form of himsa Pratikramana book on an alternate date (preferably (violence), so abstaining from milk, cheese, and ice between the 28th and 30th). cream will help to reduce the amount of violence
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
A column discussing prevalent youth issues Dear Atma, During Paryushan/Das Laskhana, I'd like to take Pacchkhan (a vow) to give up something for those 8/10 days but don't know how to do it. What do I do? Sincerely, Puzzled Jain Dear Puzzled Jain, If you don't know how to take Pacchkhan, there is a hotline where you can hear a recorded version. Just dial 1-866-611-5762 for the Jain Automated System for Mangalik and Pacchkan. Listening to Mangalik or taking the Pacchkan of your choice was never so easy! Whether it’s taking Navkarsi Pacchkhan (a vow to not eat until 48 minutes after sunrise to allow nighttime insects to clear out of visible spaces) or a self-made vow such as not eating dairy products or not raising your voice in anger for Paryushan/Das Lakshana, any vow can do wonders in regard to increasing your self-control and mental stamina.
Links for more information about Paryushan English Pratikraman If you wish to purchase a hard copy of the English Pratikraman.pdf, the cost is $1.00 + shipping. Please contact Mr. Pravin K. Shah (email@example.com) with your postal address and telephone number and we will mail it as soon as possible. To download the pdf for free, copy and paste this URL into your browser: http:// www.jaina.org/educationcommittee/ education_material/$$$PathashalaBooks/ $JainaEdu_JES931_EnglishPratikramanE 3V7_20071206.pdf Pacchkhan Vow Dial 1-866-611-5762 for the Jain Automated System for Mangalik and Pacchkan.
Please visit http://yja.org/paryushan2009/ for more educational resources!
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Career, Ambition, Obsession? By Ami Doshi (Toronto, ON) The principle of Aparigraha - has great importance in the today’s world. We are
and they will be in future. That begs the question: is that really the only thing that represents us?
There is nothing wrong about having pride in your work. However, there is a fine line between being proud and being obsessed. Management increasing our requirements and encourages employees to enjoy the company of their desires to the maximum, but yet no one is happy. co-workers even after work. The apparent reason is Why? studies show employees who tend to enjoy the Our desires are ever-growing and form a company of their co-workers after work have higher never-ending cycle. "The more you get, the productivity rate than those who do not. more you want, and the more your desires Slowly, I noticed him working longer hours, increase with every gain." This has been even and hanging out more with his co-workers. He was more evident for me with a recent series of events I drifting away from his friends and this had a negative experienced after graduating from college. impact on his When I was in college, my goal was to get personal good grades so I could find myself an awesome relationships. He internship with the eventual goal of landing a great was no longer full-time job. When it was about time for me to doing things that graduate, my next big wish was just to find ‘a job’ in once interested him the tough economic climate. or just enjoying Most of us found our first job within months simple things in of graduation, however, a friend of mine took a lot life. His desire and longer. He, thus, became lot more involved with the ambition to become successful became his obsession. search process. Eventually, when he did find a job, he Currently, he is doing great from a career felt that all of his wishes and desires at that time had perspective, and has received many awards while been accomplished. As I moving up the corporate ladder, but at what cost? mentioned, desires are We tend to think non-possessiveness is related ever-growing and form to material things. But it could be related to almost a never-ending cycle. anything we are involved with. It is important that The next step for him we ask ourselves are we overly ambitious/possessive was to move up the about something? Does it also have a deeper corporate ladder. meaning in our life. There is nothing wrong in being The job my ambitious and goal oriented, but it is equally friend had was very important to enjoy the simple parts of life. This may demanding and means we may have to push aside the promotion or required him to work award to consider the bigger picture of our lives. long hours, which is the nature of some jobs. 50 years from now, Furthermore, there was It will not matter what kind of car you drove, encouragement from What kind of house you lived in, the company to have How much you had in your bank account, that ‘company Nor what your clothes looked like; pride’ almost to the point where he was obsessed But the world may be a little better because with his work. Employees are trained to think that You were important in the life of a child the company and the role, represents who you are -Anonymous
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Non-possessive Packrats Anonymous by Hetali Lodaya
your sixth pair of jeans. Take satisfaction in the fact that your things are being put to good use. 3. Reuse and recycle. Yeah, I know. Some things you just CAN’T get rid of because they have sentimental value. A lot of the time, though, you can reorganize and shed some of your things in order to make the memories more accessible right, raise your right hand and the possessions less. Have bags of and say it – I am a Jain who memorabilia, tickets, programs, and other debris from your trip to Disney World? Make a can’t stop collecting stuff. scrapbook, and let go whatever doesn’t fit. All of Want to break the habit? I those t-shirts from camps and clubs taking up promise it’s doable – my space? Cut out the front designs and make a collection of stuff shrinks as we speak. In an really cool patchwork blanket out of them. It is effort to follow the principle of aparigraha, it’s very possible to decrease your possessive, pack-rat always useful to hang on to enough to remind you of the experience, and not so much that it’s tendencies by following these easy rules. silly and you never bother to look at it. 1.Question and answer. It’s really easy to talk yourself into buying that new watch (even though you already have two) or that new dress (hey, it’s India – Dadi’s buying, right?) But you have to keep the important points in mind – do I actually have an occasion to wear this? Is it really something that I’m going to grow into? When am I ever going to have time for that? If you can’t answer your questions, don’t go there.
If you’re looking at the title of this article and laughing nervously, it’s probably because it applies to you. That’s
2.Clean and distribute. You’ll never get rid of your stuff if you don’t go looking, and that means cleaning. If the idea of throwing away all that random stuff you find gives you the creeps, consider spreading the wealth instead. Surely your brother could use those three extra SAT prep books you never opened. The Salvation Army would be happy to take on
Feel better about your ability to resist the urge to collect? It’s much easier than it sounds. Take it from a pack-rat who knows – aparigraha is about having the things that you need, and understanding that even they are transient. In the end, your most important baggage is your soul, and watching what you collect helps keep it as light as possible.
YOUNGMINDS August 2009
Donate to YJA today and make a difference in youth lives! Jai Jinendra. This year, YJA continues to be active in bringing Jainism to the forefront for all youth across the country. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about what we are busy doing to make this a successful year. • • • • • •
Regional swadhyays by YJA scholars for youth of all ages and all sanghs so that every Jain youth will have a pathshala they can attend. Jain information Website as well as major upgrades to the yja.org Website so youth can gather information, interact with one another and stay connected. Seasonal social events that are balanced with Jain activities to keep members engaged. Annual YJA Ski Retreat Local events coordinated with our Regional Directors and Representatives, which will provide a forum for Jains to interact with one another and learn Jain values. JAINA convention 2009 and planning for YJA convention 2010.
With the support of donors like you, YJA has grown to be the largest Jain youth organization in the world. It is an honor to be a part of something that supports and inspires countless lives. Please consider supporting our eﬀorts with a donation today. Your contribution will provide critical support in nurturing the youth of our future. Thank you and Jai Jinendra.
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Please make your check payable to Young Jains of America and mail it to: Young Jains of America Sonia Ghelani 1319 Alto Drive Richardson, TX 75081