JAINA Convention 2003 Exclusive Write-Up
Art of Living�
3 � July 6, 2003
article relates some of my experiences at the JAINA Convention of 2003.
The convention offered a great variety of activities. There were social gatherings, lecture sessions,
entertainments, award and recognition ceremonies, puja, meditation, yoga,
cultural programs, exhibition booths and many good meals.
There were some 6 to 14 different sessions going on each hour of the
seminar lectures � so this is only one small slice of what was available!
Please see the Conference Schedule to get an appreciation of how much was
Thursday we arrived, registered, had dinner (traditional Indian vegetarian
foods) and then attended the Raas Garba by Munshi Group.
There were hundreds of dancers � many in traditional clothing � and
it was great fun for all.
Friday morning, we had breakfast � which consisted of cereals, fruits and
then attended the opening ceremonies. This
began with a procession of some of the speakers and dignitaries attending the
convention and included a procession of 61 banners � one from each of the 61
Jain Centers in North America � each being carried by a member from each
Center. The ceremony then continued
with Welcoming Remarks and Blessings from Gurudev Chitrabhanuji, and Key note
speeches from N. P. Jain , Dr. John Cort, Ms. Ingrid Newkirk, Hon. J. Kenneth
Blackwell, Consulate Gen'l of India and other Honorees.
the Opening Ceremonies, we had lunch and then began our lecture sessions.
My first session was: �Doctrine
of Karma in Jain Philosophy by Shri Devendrakeerti Bhattarakji�. This session consisted of a very technical and complete
presentation of Karma theory. Next,
I attended: �Nav Tatva by Vastupal Parikh�.
Dr. Parikh is the author of �Jainism and the New Spirituality� a book
which has been very helpful to me in my personal studies � so it was quite a
treat to hear one of my favorite authors discussing the Operating Principles of
the Universe from material taken from his own book. Next I attended �Holistic Approach to Life through
Reverence for Life by Pramodaben Chitrabhanu�.
The first two lecture sessions were Jain teachings and this session was
how to apply these teachings to our lives.
afternoon, between sessions, we were treated to finger foods and tea, while we
enjoyed the Exhibit Booths and conversation with the Exhibitors.
last lecture I attended Friday, was �Dealing with anger compassionately by Dr.
Hemlata Pokharna and Dr. Mandakini Pokharna�.
This lecture taught us how to deal with difficult people.
this, we had dinner and then the evening�s entertainment -
�Deepali Somaiya & group concert�.
Great music. The concert was
over at 11:00 PM.
first session Saturday morning was �Meditation for Women by Pramodaben
Chitrabhanu�. In this session we
learned the various types of meditation, the importance of making this a
continuing process in our lives, and then discussed techniques to use in our
meditation. We learned the
importance of meditation in our overall goal to �WATCH�
� watch our Words � watch our Actions,
watch our Thoughts, watch our Character
and watch our Habits. Then Promodaji led us in meditation. We would have stayed for hours if another group had not
needed the room.
we had our breakfast followed by �Siddhachakran Puja (Digambar Puja).
The Puja included beautiful singing.
After the puja, I studied and visited with friends.
we had lunch followed by another set of classes.
The first was �The Art of Living� by Gurudev Chitrabhanu.
This session was about living the Jain lifestyle.
Next was: �Developing Inner Power From Jainism to cope with lures &
deceit by Vastupal Parekh�. This
was a continuation of the previous class by Dr. Parekh � and it explained how
the principles of Jainism could be applied to make us mentally strong.
We next attended a special session of the �Art of Managing Stress-Samanji
Shithpragyaji & Shruthpragyaji�. We
then shared some social time with some friends from our home center (Atlanta)
and shared our dinner with a dear friend from West Virginia.
evening there was a cultural program that was done by groups from various Jain
centers. This event was very
enjoyable and lasted until midnight.
morning we went to breakfast and was surprised to find that additional food was
being provided for our trips home! We
then attended the Closing Cermonies: �Navkar, Opening Remark, Blessings
from Amrendra Muniji, Panel discussion "Jainism The Art of Living
perspective by Sadhu, Sadhviji, Samanji, Samaniji, Moderator-Nirmal Doshi &
was a wonderful convention!! Here
are some of my impressions:
Sitting in a sea of thousands of Jains � seeing warmth, sharing, kindness and joy in every direction
able to attend about 1/6th of the seminars you wish you could attend �
because all of them interest you and there is just so much offered
startled at the credentials of the speakers � how accomplished and well
prepared to teach us�
food, food � so much food � enjoyed by so many � how many cooks, how
many hands to prepare and distribute all of this good food � meal after
� carefully prepared and distributed � detailed booklets � charts on
the walls in convenient places � and daily update sheets � keeping us
� when one class was so popular that twice the number of people who could
fit in the room wanted to attend, an extra class was immediately scheduled
in the ball rooms � where our general gatherings were held � so that ALL
- constant giving and sharing on the parts of so many
� from the singing in the puja to the performances in general gatherings
� we were never far from beautiful music.
� active � growing from 6:00 in the morning until 11 or 12 at night!!!
� a group of women � being quietly and gently instructed in meditation
and then being led in mediation. � not wanting to leave until we had to
leave to make way for another group. (we
would have stayed for hours)
slowly� the emphasis on Spiritual growth as a slow, steady
process in our lives � requiring daily attention, giving immeasurable
that it was a small center that hosted this convention � and wondering how
it could be so wonderfully executed.
the convention leaders gathering for scheduled and unscheduled meetings
tuning, adjusting, organizing to make sure the convention offered the
greatest possible opportunities for intellectual, spiritual, social and
personal growth � with great fun.
rules � everyone knew how to behave � knew the goals � and worked hard
to make the convention the success it clearly was.
from home � the special feeling you got each time you came across someone
from your home center � and the special conversations that resulted
friends from other cities and Traveling with dear friends.
new friends so quickly � exchanging ideas and addresses
Seeing the excitement of the Jain community in North America.