About 7,000 Jains from all over the world are expected to gather in New Jersey later this year when the 2017 JAINA Convention takes place in the Garden State. The June 30-July 4 convention will be addressed by eminent Jain scholars and leading members of the community coming to attend the convention from different parts of the world, including India. Besides eminent Jain acharya, Dr. Lokesh Muni, who is the founder of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, the five-day convention will also be addressed by founder of Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
A meeting took place between Muni and Ravi Shankar last week in India during which the latter was invited by Muni to the convention. The two spiritual leaders also discussed the details of the convention. An AVB media handler said several other spiritual masters, both Jains and non-Jains are expected to address the convention. “We are yet to finalize the list of speakers as also the location of the convention in New Jersey,” Kenu A. Sharma, AVP media secretary, told Desi Talk over phone from India.
The convention will have a series of seminars and lectures relating to Jainism. JAINA is the largest Jain organization outside India and represents 150,000 Jains in the U.S. and Canada. JAINA was established in 1981 to provide a forum to foster friendship and unity among all Jains from North America.
Muni said that members of JAINA work together to advance principles of non-violence, vegetarianism, charitable and humanitarian volunteerism and academic and cultural interchanges.
The theme of convention is ‘Jainism and Science’. A stimulating program is being developed to meet the interests of all segments and age groups attending the convention. “The convention will seek to drive home the point about the scientific nature of Jainism and how best the humankind can benefit by embracing it in their lives. Though the five day discourses and seminars, the convention will seek to decide on a plan of action for the future in order for it to be spread among more people,” Sharma said.
According to Muni, Jain religion has always made important contributions towards establishing non- violence and peace in society, adding that the Jain community has always worked for the development of different sections and areas of society. He noted during his meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar that whenever people faced problems like flood, or earthquake, the Jain community came forward for welfare activities. He expressed the hope that like in U.S., the Jain community in India also will come together to work for social welfare in a more organized manner.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar maintained that while all religions teach the values of humanity and the need for all religions to work together to establish world peace and harmony, peace is necessary for development. “Interfaith and inter-religion harmony is necessary to end war, violence and terrorism from the world. Jainism peaches the principles of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Anekant (unity in diversity) and Aparigrah (renunciation) and shows us the path towards establishing world peace and harmony.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also appreciated the fact that acharya Lokesh Muni has been making efforts towards mutual brotherhood, communal harmony, nonviolence and character-building not only in India but also in different parts of the world.