A publication by the Young Jains of America
WELCOME TO THE FEBRUARY 2009 ISSUE OF YOUNG MINDS… Happy New Year! We want to extend a warm welcome to all those who are reading this publication. Young Minds is a quarterly publication dedicated to discussing relevant and engaging topics among the Jain youth. The November 2008 issue of Young Minds was quite a success. The issue focused on one of Jainism!s central tenets: ahimsa, or non-violence. We explored vegetarianism, environmentalism and non-violence of thought. In this exciting issue our theme is truthfulness and non-stealing. Many of our executive board members have contributed their time and hard work to discuss another central belief in Jainism. Back by popular demand, we have a vegetarian recipe to share, a thoughtful question posed in our Dear Atma column, regional updates and more! I hope this publication is an educational experience and fun-filled for you! The Young Jains of America Executive Board would like to thank you for your continuous support and participation! Sincerely, Sheenika Shah and Vaishali Shah
TABLE OF CONTENTS 10 Ways to be Jain in the New Year…page 3 Food Corner…page 4 “Observing Truthfulness and Non-stealing” by Sejal Shah…page 5 Dear Atma…page 6 “Truthfulness” by Kunal Shah…page 7 Jain Perspectives…page 8 “The Intent Aspect of Stealing” by Paras Shah…page 10 Regional Updates…page 11 Shardule!s Educational Corner…page 14 Donate to YJA!...page 15
10 Ways to be Jain in the New Year 1. Practice healthy living. Avoid junk food and eat healthier such as organic, vegan, or raw food. 2. When buying food for a group, purchase only all-vegetarian food. 3. When taking a friend/client/boss out to a restaurant (or even suggesting a place for a group to go), find a nice allvegetarian restaurant in the area and go there. It's undeniably Jain to support all-vegetarian establishments. 4. Donate to your favorite charity. 5. Clean out your closet. Give your lightly used items to the needy, and reduce unnecessary possessions. This also forces you to reduce attachment. 6. Practice mindfulness. Be present and active when you are completing tasks. 7. Use compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs. CFL bulbs use less energy compared to incandescent bulbs and significantly reduce carbon emissions. 8. Practice Anekantavad: When making a group decision give every viewpoint equal weight. 9. Eliminate anger, ego, deceit and greed from our day-to-day lives. 10. Stop and think before you act, thus observing the principles of Ahimsa better.
It’s time for another Jain recipe! All the ingredients are Jain and are available at a nearby grocery store. Try it at home, and let us know at email@example.com how it turned out. We will be waiting to hear back! Good cooking to all!
MEXICAN TOSTADAS INGREDIENTS: For the Tostadas: • • • • •
1 1/2-cup corn flour 1-cup all-purpose flour 1/2-tbsp. oil Salt Water
Mix both flours. Mix salt and oil. Make the dough using water. Leave for 10 minutes. Knead again and divide into 18-20 balls. Roll 4-inch size tostadas. Deep fry in oil.
Remove excess oil on a paper towel.
churn in the mixture. Mix vinegar and salt.
For the Green Sauce:
For the topping:
• • • •
100 grams green tomatoes 2-tsp. vinegar 5-6 green chillies Salt
Mix chopped tomatoes and green chilies. Cook in a pot with the water for 5 minutes. Cool and
• • • • • • • • •
1 big can of the pinto beans (32 oz.) 2-tsp. red chili powder 1-tsp. cumin seeds powder 100 grams peas 1-tbsp oil Grated cheese 1-cup lettuce leaves Bell Peppers Chopped Tomatoes
PREPARATION: Boil peas in salted water. Heat oil in a frying pan. Mix chopped bell pepper, beans, peas, salt, red chili powder and cumin seeds powder. Stir and remove. Take corn tostada and spread the topping with grated cheese. Pour green sauce and sprinkle chopped lettuce leaves and tomatoes.
OBSERVING TRUTHFULNESS AND NON-STEALING by Sejal Shah Truthfulness and non-stealing are important parts of our Jain dharma. Both are part of the five rules of conduct and needed in order to achieve Moksha. We have always been taught that honesty is the best policy and stealing is wrong. But what we have not been reminded is that asking others to steal or lie for us is just as wrong. If you encourage others to steal or lie, you might as well have committed the act yourself. Therefore, we must observe truthfulness and non-stealing fully in order to find Moksha.
or for us. Another valuable story comes to mind about a father and daughter: a man decided to sneak into his neighbor!s field and steal some wheat. "If I take just a little from each field, no one will notice," he told himself, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but it will add up to a nice pile of wheat for me." So he waited for the darkest night, when thick clouds lay over the moon, and he crept out of his house. He took his youngest daughter with him. "Daughter," he whispered, â&#x20AC;&#x153;you must stand guard, and call out if anyone see me." The man entered into the first field to begin reaping, and before long the child called out, "Father, someone sees you!" The man looked around, but saw no one so he gathered his stolen wheat and moved on to the second field. "Father someone sees you!" the child cried again. The man stopped and looked all around, but once again he saw no one. He gathered more wheat and moved to a third field. A little while passed and the daughter cried out, "Father someone sees you!" the man stopped his reaping, looked around and once again saw no one. "Why in the world do you keep saying someone sees me?" he angrily asked his daughter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I've looked everywhere, and I don't see anyone." "Father," murmured the child, "someone sees you from above." This story shows that a wrong act attempted with no one around still counts because we are witness to it and so are our Tirthankaras.
Truthfulness is always telling the truth and never preventing others from telling the truth. I once heard a great story about truthfulness: a little boy named Dusty pockets a toy from a local store, evades the alarm bell, and then is entangled in a web of lies to conceal his deed from his parents and friends. Bothered by his conscience, he is visited in the night by an angel, who rings her tiny bell to speak to the boy: School bells, doorbells and church bells, too Wherever you go and whatever you do Let all bells be a reminder to you Your heart and words must always ring true. Ringing bells have new meaning to the little boy and he notices them everywhere. This should also inspire us to listen to the signs around us as our Tirthankaras lead us to Moksha. Stealing also comes at a price. We should not steal or involve anyone in stealing with
A column discussing prevalent youth issues Dear Atma is a column where people can ask various questions about Jainism, education, spirituality and personal issues. All questions submitted will be strictly confidential. We would love to hear your thoughts and questions and be able to help you. Feel free to e-mail us questions at firstname.lastname@example.org for the next issue. Dear Atma: Who/What determines who becomes a Tirthankara? Thanks, Tirthankara Wonderer Dear Tirthankara Wonderer: Revised from jainworld.com: During the middle of each Jain time cycle (Kalchakra), twenty-four souls become Tirthankaras. They are humans like us who rise to that level. At some point, during one of the human rebirths of the soul, while accumulating different karmas, these special souls also get a karma called Tirthankar Nam Karma in the last 3rd of their life by performing one or more of 20 special austerities. Tirthankar Nam Karma matures in the soul!s final life and leads the person to become a Tirthankara. http://www.yja.org
TRUTHFULNESS by Kunal Shah Truthfulness is a trait everyone should strive to achieve. It will not only make one feel better, but it increases transparency in relationships developing stronger bonds. If one is truthful with friends, family, and their own self on a regular basis, there will be less doubt from people in regards to your statements and actions. This respect you are given from truthfulness will bring happiness in your life and it will make telling the truth easier. Truth is not only something spoken; truthfulness can also be conveyed through actions. One can be sincere in their actions by following through with what they say by their actions. This sense of truthfulness will increase your rapport. This will also increase trust. People will be able to trust you to follow through with your responsibilities. Non-stealing is a core principle of any religion. There is no need to take something that does not belong to you. This has become blatantly obvious in the wake of the recent financial troubles of Bernie Madoff. He stole $50 billion from his investors, many of them who had given him their life savings. Now many of them have lost all their money, and Madoff is about to go to jail. This just proves that stealing accomplishes nothing except the negative effects for anyone involved, and even associated. Stealing takes away a sense of accomplishment. There is a certain pride that one gets from gaining something from their merit instead of taking a shortcut. Stealing essentially steals away the sense of accomplishment from the wrong doer.
Want the Young Jains of America 2010 Conference to be hosted in your city? YJA IS NOW ACCEPTING BIDS FOR YJA 2010 CONFERENCE! Please contact email@example.com to receive detailed information on bid packets. Bid packets will also be available to download on www.yja.org!
Make YJA 2010 a memorable experience in YOUR hometown! http://www.yja.org
JAIN PERSPECTIVES This section is to hear the views of other young Jains. We randomly pick five people and ask a question regarding Jainism. Hope you enjoy this section and be able to understand other people’s perspectives. This edition we asked our Executive Board members to respond to this edition’s question.
Question: How have you seen truthfulness or non-stealing in a good or bad way in your everyday life? Sonia Shah from Boston, Massachusetts says, “I have seen non-stealing in a good way in my recent trip to India. Everyone knows there are a lot of poor people and beggars on the streets of India. One time my family was in a rikshaw and a five-yearold girl came next to us to ask for some money. We try to donate to these little kids when we are in India. As we were handing the money over to the girl, another girl pushes her out of the way and grabs it instead. Then she looks at the girl on floor, and decides to help her up and give her the money. Even though she has no money, and is so desperate, and once tried stealing it, she still gave it to her. This was a sad but happy moment at the same time.” Mitesh Shah from Atlanta, Georgia says, “One time I was grocery shopping and finished through the checkout. As I walked out of the store, I noticed that the clerk gave me too much change back. I went back into the store and talked to the clerk. I returned the extra change to the clerk. She was really grateful to me for returning the extra money.”
Ami Doshi from Toronto, Canada says, “I was talking to one of my Persian friends and she told me a story of a poor eight year old boy in Iran. The young boy had stolen a loaf of bread from a baker shop because he had not eaten for days. The law in Iran is very strict against stealing. Age and gender are not taken under consideration in Iran. The eight-year-old boy had to go through the same punishment as an adult. The punishment was to cut the hands from which you stole something with. Unfortunately, the boy had his hands cut off because he stole to stop his hunger.”
Paras Shah from Austin, Texas, “Truthfulness is an imperative part of my life. A prime example of truthfulness leading to a good deed can be derived from a childhood story of mine. My first night driving in the car, I decided to pull my car into the car wash, and get a cleanup done before a bowling event. I stopped at the hand wash and asked the cashier for four quarters, not realizing I had handed him a twenty-dollar bill. He immediately looked at me and said, "Sir, you handed me a twenty" and returned my proper change.” Sonia Ghelani from Dallas, Texas says, “Truthfulness shows courage and bravery in people. Sometimes, the truth is the hardest thing to say, but lying always seems to cause more stress and problems in the long run. A few years ago, I remember telling my dad that I had returned some books back to my friend, while they were actually sitting in the trunk of my car. I figured since I was going to return them to her later that day, I could just save myself some trouble by fudging the timeline a bit. As my luck would have it, I had to run some errands and was unable to see her. To top it off, my friend called asking for the books while I was out. My dad told her that I had already dropped them off at her dorm. She went down to the dorm desk to retrieve the books to study for a mid-term only to find them missing. The next day I received a very un-happy call from my friend who ended not doing well on her exam and asking me where the books were. If only I had told my dad that truth, my friend would not have trusted that I had returned the books. Needless to say she hasn't lent me anything since.” Suraj Devraj from Los Angeles, California says, “I believe that truthfulness can be bad if it has a negative result or ends in harming someone. For example, if someone is asking to be protected and their whereabouts are revealed ending in their injury or harm. I would consider this a negative result of truthfulness. However, in most cases honesty is the best policy. In regards to non-stealing, I always believe stealing is wrong. I cannot see a reason why one should take that which is not theirs, when in most cases by merely asking people will likely share or in doing so you are giving them the opportunity to be generous.”
THE INTENT ASPECT OF STEALING By Paras Shah Steal - transitive verb take something furtively: to take or get something secretly, surreptitiously, or through trickery. By definition, stealing seems pretty rough. But this definition leaves out an important aspect of stealing: the intent. Often times, the intent to steal is as vicious as the action of stealing. In a world polluted with individuals like Bernard Madoff, the investor who ran a 50 billion dollar Ponzi scheme, the world!s citizens must take another look within and define what “truthfulness” and “stealing” actually mean. For many high school seniors this time of the year is filled with college applications. This means applying to the college one would like to attend, and listing extracurricular activities. Ask yourself, did I really spend 30 hours a week for 10 weeks volunteering at the animal shelter while being president of the Red Cross Club, Student Body, and was the presiding valedictorian? Something as little as noting “Class President” on your college application, when one really is not, is not just lying, but stealing. Potentially stealing someone!s rightful seat in the university, as well as stealing someone else!s credential can be gut wrenching and heartbreaking for the unfortunate one on the negative side of the event. But more importantly, you are not telling the truth. Not only does this example give way to the stealing perspective, but it also brings light to the principle of detachment. By attempting to falsify one!s credentials, one is obviously far too attached with success. But stealing does not always have to do with intellectual property, finances, or getting a leg up. The intent to steal can be something as meaningless as “borrowing your friend!s car” for the night. While one might not realize the consequences until you get a ticket for speeding, not asking your friend prior to taking his car is reprehensible. Take the time to think before you act. The marginal benefit of stealing will never exceed the marginal cost, with that being a stain on your morals. Stealing breaks up friendships, relationships, and families – keep that in mind and stay as truthful as possible.
Regional Updates Want to know what’s going on in your region? Here is a brief update from your regional coordinators! Keep a look out for your regional activities and participate in them! If you have any questions, feel free to contact your regional coordinators! WEST REGIONAL COORDINATOR: SURAJ DEVRAJ EMAIL: SURAJ.DEVRAJ@YJA.ORG
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL COORDINATOR: SEJAL SHAH EMAIL: SEJAL.SHAH@YJA.ORG
Upcoming Events The West Region will be having social, educational, and community activities for everyone to join. Don’t miss out on fun activities with your fellow Jain youth. Experience food from all over the world while meeting old and new friends on the World Tour dinners. Beauty of different colors! Enjoy the fun of throwing colors and water balloons with friends. Join us in March for Holi! The tentative date is posted below and more information will be sent soon.
March 7: World Tour Dinner at Wheel of Life, Irvine, CA at 6:30pm. http://www.wheelofliferestaurant.com/ March 15: Holi Event TBA March 20 – 22 Spring Camp Tentative Date (California Central Coast) April 4: World Tour Dinner #2 May 2: Lunch and Beach Clean Up June 6: World Tour Dinner #3 July 2 – 5: JAINA 2009, Anaheim Convention Ctr. August 1: World Tour Dinner #4
Feb 14: Special Evening Event -- JSGA Volunteer Appreciation with viewing of photos and DVD from the Pratishtha Mahostav at Atlanta Temple. Dinner and an evening filled with lot of activities for the youth and the young at heart as well. Please stay tuned more details to come! March 6: at Cafe Istanbul at 7 pm- Around the World Dinner March 15: Holi Event at the Atlanta Jain Mandir from 2 - 4 pm. Come join us for fun and games. April 10 – 12: Camping retreat. Details soon! May 10: (Mother's day) JSGA Picnic. Details soon! Past Events YJA Potluck Dinner was held on Nov. 30 at Mitesh Shah's house. We enjoyed the last night of our Thanksgiving Break with a variety of food and games! Thank you everyone who came and made this event successful. Check out the photos below!
SOUTH REGIONAL COORDINATOR: PARAS SHAH EMAIL: PARAS.SHAH@YJA.ORG
MIDATLANTIC REGIONAL COORDINATOR: PATHIK SHAH EMAIL: PATHIK.SHAH@YJA.ORG
The YJA South Regional Retreat will be taking place at Camp Allen about an hour north of Houston from April 10 –12! Come join as we pair with Jain Society of Houston to bring you a retreat experience like no other. Meet new friends, learn Jain values, and most of all, have fun. The cost is $90. Judging by the interest, it seems like this event will fill up super fast! If you're going to fly in to Houston, transportation will be provided. We hope to see you there. Registration will be going up soon, so be sure to keep April 10-12 open as YJA brings you another great event! Email me for more information! •
Past Events Many Jains in Houston gathered to do a temple clean up in December. The temple looks amazing thanks to the hard work from these kids! The kids in Austin kept the rotation alive with multiple Saturday mornings by feeding breakfast to the homeless at Caritas of Austin.
Holi - mid March (Exact date/time TBA, based on Maryland's HSC Holi date). Jain youth will be driven to University of Maryland, College Park to have Holi with Hindu Students Council Dinner (Woodlands Indian Restaurant) - March 27th 2009. Time: 7:00 PM-8:30/9 PM, Will be a gathering of Jain youth at a local Indian restaurant to enjoy food and bond with Jain friends Six Flags trip for DC Jain Youth - June 20, 2009. A gathering of Jain youth at Six Flags to relax from school and hang out with other Temple youth. We will meet at the Washington Metropolitan Jain Temple early in the morning (TBA) and collectively drive to Six Flags where we will leave in the late evening.
Past Events DC Area Jain Youth Bowling Trip (December 18, 2008) - Gathering of local DC Jain youth to bowl at a popular bowling alley. Check out photos below!
MIDWEST REGIONAL COORDINATOR: KUNAL SHAH EMAIL: KUNAL.SHAH@YJA.ORG
NORTHEAST REGIONAL COORDINATOR: SONIA SHAH EMAIL: SONIA.SHAH@YJA.ORG
Upcoming Events Our region is currently in the process of beginning a monthly dinner circuit. • February: we plan to go to Ziggy'z, an Indian restaurant with a hint of tropical infusion • March: we plan to eat at an authentic Thai restaurant, Basil Thai. • June: YJA is looking into planning a regional conference in Indiana. We are going to go camping where we will go on meditation walk, hold seminars and bond over the open campfire. I am currently taking suggestions for nice campsites so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, otherwise stay tuned for more information. •
Upcoming Events The Poconos Winter Retreat will be happening on February 14th-16th, 2009. Unfortunately, it is all sold out for those who still want to register for it. For all that are coming to it we are excited to meet everyone and have a fun weekend. For more information contact Sonia at email@example.com.
Past Events I want to thank everyone that made the past events successful. We had a successful Jain Bowling and Jain Diwali dinner. It was a great turn out and a lot of fun. There will be more events coming up in the Northeast so keep an eye out for them.
Past Events The Midwest region hosted a successful dinner at Klay Oven, which was followed up by playing billiards at Lucky Strike Lanes in Chicago.
PRATISHTHA UPDATE Jain Center of Greater Phoenix Check out these amazing photos from the JCGP’s recent Pratishtha held from December 20 – 26, 2008 http://www.yja.org
How to Begin instant. This latter concept is superbly discussed Your New on ejainism.com. “One's speech should be pleasant, beneficial, true and unhurtful to others. It Year by Shardule Shah, YJA Director of Education Jai Jinendra! I hope each of you had a safe and festive holiday break. New Years is the time that most selfimprovement resolutions are made, but there is never a bad time to try and improve yourself. It all starts with the first step. Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So no matter your resolution, you can do it. I am trying to improve myself by better prescribing to the Jain ideal of satya (truth), the second of the five mahavratas (great vows). The meaning of satya along with its implications in your daily life is a lot more accessible and broad that you might think.
should aim at moderation rather than exaggeration, esteem rather than denigration, at distinction rather than vulgarity of expression, and should be thoughtful and expressive of sacred truths. All untruths necessarily involve violence.” In addition to practicing satya, you can also improve yourself by focusing on asteya (non-stealing), the third of the five mahavratas. Again, it!s not as simple as it sounds. Stealing comes in many forms. Yogawithamey.com has a good description of the broader implication of asteya: “Way back in kindergarten and grade school we learned not to take things from others. A toy or treat belonging to someone else was recognized as not being ours to have at will. Early on, we learn to control the impulse to take without payment or permission, and most of us do not have a recurring impulse to steal. Some people take a few pens from work or aren!t entirely forthcoming on their tax forms, yet do not consider those forms of stealing while most of those people wouldn!t consider shoplifting from retailers or friends.”
In addition, cheating during an exam, whether that means off of someone else, bringing in materials you!re not supposed to, etc. is also considered To start, here is what the BBC says about Satya: stealing. You are obtaining and passing off “Satya – truthfulness. This vow requires total information that truthfulness not only by not telling lies, but by does not belong to always speaking the truth. For example, a truthful you. You know it!s salesperson should not cover up defects when wrong, so why do describing an item for sale.” In other words, a customer may not specifically ask about whether an it? item has a particular defect but if the salesperson knows that there is a defect, he or she should state Together, if you are able to practice two the full truth to the customer. of the five mahavratas, then Satya is beneficial not only because of the "telling the truth! aspect, but practicing satya also improves you will assuredly be on your way to a your ability to narrate a story so that no party more peaceful life; involved is unnecessarily hurt. You can think of hundreds of examples in your daily school and work and that is something that we all want. lives where unnecessary backbiting, gossip, etc. can turn a good environment into a toxic one in an
Donate to YJA today and make a difference in youth lives! Jai Jinendra. My name is Rajiv Vakani and I am the Director of Finance & Fundraising for YJA. 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.
YJA DONOR FORM Donor Name:
Company Name (Optional): Address:
_______________________________ City: ____________ ST: ____ Zip: _________
Evening Phone: (______)__________________
Email Address: __________________________
! Check here if you wish to make this donation anonymously? Please make your check payable to Young Jains of America and mail it to: Young Jains of America Rajiv P. Vakani 22 De Chiaro Lane Williston Park, NY 11596