Science and technology have created a new
world of prosperity, but material gain has been purchased with a spiritual
loss that has global consequences not only for human life upon this planet
but for the planet itself. As a result, there seems to be a trend, often
politicized, for people to return to their spiritual roots. Jaina ethics
is relevant to the quest of modern man for they satisfy not only the value
orientation of the individual, but of society. They find the basis of
these values in a spirituality that is as deep as it is open and tolerant.
The Jaina scriptures indeed show us the way
to escape material bondage within this world, but the ethical path they
prescribe takes us through all the highways and byways of this mortal
life. Society is never overlooked. Human welfare is all times taken
seriously. The Tirthankaras whom Jaina worship are known to have led full
social lives before attaining salvation. Contemporary Jains are a
prosperous community. There is therefore no modern custom or usage from
which the Jain must abstain, as long as it does not conflict with the
ethical principles of the Jaina faith.
We turn now to the ethical issues of our own
day. Eminent scholars of different religious traditions have addressed
these problems with deep insights, but the problems persist. We shall
therefore make a modest attempt to find some solution to these problems in
the light of the principles of Jainism.