Wednesday, August 21, 2013

American Jains Adapt Faith for Modern life

How do religions change when they move far away from their birthplace? Chinese Buddhism is different than Japanese Buddhism.  And, according to this article from the Huffington Post, American Janism is quite different from Indian Janism.

That's because young American Jains, according to this story from the Huffington Post, are reinterpreting "the traditions of their religion for 21st century life."  

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion with some similarities to Buddhism. Like Buddhists, Jain monks and nuns do not form attachments. They also practice nonviolence and that belief means that they try not to kill insects or microbes.  Some textbooks show Jain nuns sweeping the walkway in front of them so they will not inadvertently kill insects as they walk.

In America, these young Jains translate that commitment to nonviolence to respect for the environment and for animal rights. As doctors, lawyers and business people, Jains "are increasingly seeking a compromise between their faith and practicality."  Another example is the increase in the practice of veganism among young Jains.

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