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Monasticism is a social and religious phenomenon which originated in antiquity and which still remains relevant in the twenty-first century. But what, exactly, is it, and how is it distinguished from other kinds of religious and non-religious practice? In this Very Short Introduction Stephen J. Davis discusses the history of monasticism, from our earliest evidence for it, and the different types which have developed from antiquity to the present day. He considers where monasteries are located, from East Asia to North America, and everywhere in between, and how their settings impact the everyday life and worldview of the monks and nuns who dwell there. Exploring how monastic communities are organized, he also looks at how aspects of life like food, sleep, sex, work, and prayer are regimented. Finally, Davis discusses what the stories about saints communicate about monastic identity and ethics, and considers what place there is for monasticism in the modern world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This book is the first comprehensive study of Jainism to be published in the West. It is written by a practicing Jain, drawing on his rich experience of Jainism in all its aspects. It is to be published in two volumes.
Volume 1 covers the antiquity of Jainism; its history, popular support and spread in India; Jain migration abroad; schisms within Jainist ranks; the teachings of Mahavira, detailing the path of purification, austerities and meditation; spiritual development within the Jain philosophy; Jain community, the Jain rituals and animal welfare, environmental concerns and vegetarianism. Volume 2 introduces Sacred Literature, Jain philosophy and the system of Jain logic within a theory of knowledge, including omniscience and the concept of soul; and Jainist theories of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Medical Science, Astronomy and Mathematics. It includes sections on Art and Architecture, temples and places of pilgrimage.
Both volumes are written in a very accessible style: "Let me introduce you to Jainism by greeting you in a Jain way, Jai Jinendra. The greeting has a special meaning. It means honour to the person who has conquered himself. It also means honour to the conqueror of inner evils, who has shown the path of self-conquest and happiness to all living beings ... Life is dear to us all, to happy individuals but also to the unhappy. But questions arise in our mind. Who has given us such life? Who takes it away when we die? Why are there injustices in life? . . . Since the beginning of time humans have sought answers to these questions and have attempted to unravel the great mysteries of creation and the cosmos through religious and metaphysical speculation . .. In Indiamany different solutions have been put forward ... Among them is Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world".
The twenty-five-hundred-year-old tradition of Jainism, which emphasizes nonviolence as the only true path leading to liberation, offers a worldview seemingly compatible with the goals of environmental activism.
But can Jainism adopt a sociocentric environmentalism without compromising its own ascetic principles and spiritual tradition? How does traditional Jain cosmology view the natural world? How might a Jain ethical system respond to decisions regarding the development of dams, the proliferation of automobiles, overcrowding due to overpopulation, or the protection of individual animal species? Can there be a Jain environmental activism that addresses both the traditional concern for individual self-purification and the contemporary dilemma of ecosystem degradation? The voices in this volume reflect the dynamic nature of the Jain faith and its willingness to engage in discussion on a modern social issue.
Published in association with Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, New DelhiFifteenth in the series of Collected Works of Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy in the IGNCAs publication programme, this volume deals with his contribution to the study of Jaina Art. His writings on Jaina art span the entire period of his active working life as an art historian. He published his first article on the subject in 1914, and ended with a book review in 1943, four years before his death. Jaina art and its symbolic inventory held a special place in Coomaraswamys formulation of the history of Indian painting, indeed Indian civilization itself. He was the first to recognize its chronological place in the succession of style. The Jaina paintings are not only important for the student of Jaina iconography and archaeology which are illustrative of costumes, manners and customs, but are of greater interest because they are the oldest Indian paintings on paper, representing an almost unknown school of Indian art. Holding the view that in order to make these paintings fully comprehensible, a short account of Jainism and of the legends of Mahavira and Kalakacharya, which are the main subject of the paintings is given in this volume. The chapters that follow deal with the explanation of various terms; Jaina cosmology; aesthetics and relationships of Jaina painting; the illustrated Jaina manuscripts; description of the figures; followed by a large number of illustrations. Dr. Richard J. Cohen, an eminent American Indologist, has edited the book painstakingly, consulting not only the authors authentic corrections, but also all the material available in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Library of the University of Pennsylvania. It is hoped that Coomaraswamys seminal and profound contribution to the study of Indian painting will benefit not only art historians, but also artists.
Anekant is a new political philosophy with ancient spiritual roots. It derives from the teachings of the Jains in India, but is relevant to all cultures and all times, especially our present interconnected yet dangerously divided world. Anekant literally means 'Many-Sidedness'. It recognises that there are an infinite variety of paths towards the same truth and so the search for truth must be undertaken with humility. All beings - including humans - are on the same journey. Those who are certain that they have grasped the truth are likely to be the furthest from it. "Many-Sided Wisdom" teaches us that human supremacy is a delusion - leading to ecological destruction, the oppression of other species and exploitation of human by human. Practising Many-Sidedness is about realising that 'society' means more than just humans, because it embraces all forms of life. We should learn to co-operate instead of competing with each other - and work with nature rather than pointlessly attempting to 'conquer' it.
This beautifully illustrated book accompanies an exquisite exhibition of 70 tantric, Jain and related objects, paintings, manuscripts and drawings.
In as far as the Indian term 'tantrism' is known in the West, it is generally linked with mystery and mysticism as well as with sex, magic and hocus-pocus. Indeed, tantrism is connected with all these and even more. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Jainism, Vajrayana, Bonpo, Ayurveda and Shamanism are some of the philosophies, religions and sciences that were somehow influenced by tantrism, as Jan van Alphen, chief curator of the BOZAR in Brussels, discusses in the introductory essay to the catalogue.
Accompanies an exhibition at Joost van den Bergh Ltd, London.
This book offers a unique look at one of the oldest religions in the world, and how it can guide us to spiritual and intellectual growth. It bridges the gap between Western religious beliefs and Eastern spiritual philosophies. Jainism is India's oldest spiritual tradition, and one of the oldest religions in the entire world. It rejects the notion of a supreme being, and advocates a deep respect for all living things, and the connections they share. "The Jain Path" looks at how perhaps one of the most individually demanding, rational, and radical of all religions is becoming ever more popular with those trying to re-discover a balance and continuity in their lives. This informative look at how the principals of the Jainism tradition - simple living, non-violence, responsibility, and respect for all things - provides readers with all the tools they need for spiritual and intellectual growth in this ever-more confusing world.
Jainism evokes images of monks wearing face-masks to protect insects and mico-organisms from being inhaled. Or of Jains sweeping the ground in front of them to ensure that living creatures are not inadvertently crushed: a practice of non-violence so radical as to defy easy comprehension. Yet for all its apparent exoticism, Jainism is still little understood in the West. What is this mysterious philosophy which originated in the 6th century BCE, whose absolute requirement is vegetarianism, and which now commands a following of four million adherents both in its native India and diaspora communities across the globe?In his welcome new treatment of the Jain religion, Long makes an ancient tradition fully intelligible to the modern reader. Plunging back more than two and a half millennia, to the plains of northern India and the life of a prince who - much like the Buddha - gave up a life of luxury to pursue enlightenment, Long traces the history of the Jain community from founding sage Mahavira to the present day. He explores asceticism, worship, the life of the Jain layperson, relations between Jainism and other Indic traditions, the Jain philosophy of relativity, and the implications of Jain ideals for the contemporary world. The book presents Jainism in a way that is authentic and engaging to specialists and non-specialists alike.
This work covers the antiquity of Jainism, its history, popular support and spread in India. It also covers: Jain migration abroad; schisms within Jainist ranks; and the teachings of Mahavira, detailing the path of purification, austerities and meditation.
Investigating Sufi-inspired spirituality in the modern world, this interdisciplinary text combines cultural study with solid data to provide a comprehensive look at how the teachings of Ibn 'Arabi have been adopted and adapted by Muslims and non-Muslims. At the heart of this movement is the Beshara School in Scotland, founded in the 1960s, and now a center of international scholarship. Using the school as a case study, the discussion describes its emergence and evolution, its approach to spiritual education, the origins of its spiritual teacher, its major teachings and practices, and its projection of Ibn 'Arabi. Both rigorous and very timely, this effort points to areas of cultural exchange between East and West and highlights commonalities in the various historical changes both societies have undergone.
Paths to the Divine: An Introduction to World Religions expertly combines original writing and engaging primary source texts to familiarize students with the basic tenets of a variety of world religions. Beyond presenting foundational knowledge on religious traditions, the volume demonstrates how belief systems can shape both an individual's and a society's culture, worldviews, and sense of belonging. The book features distinct emphasis on the religious traditions of Asia, presenting readers with information on beliefs and practices that may be unfamiliar or new to them, expanding their understanding and appreciation of others' traditions. The book begins by introducing students to the basics of religion, including key concepts and features of religion, representations of the divine, and the connection between nature and religion in early traditions. Additional chapters provide students with valuable insight and enlightening readings on Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Chinese religion, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Throughout, key terms, contextual introductions, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading are provided. Written to expand students' knowledge and understanding of global traditions, Paths of the Divine is an ideal text for introductory courses in humanities, theology, and world religions.
This book provides a social history of the Tamil Jainas, a minority community living in Tamil Nadu in south India. It holds special significance in the method of studying the community, living in villages of Tamil Nadu and retrieving their perspectives on their past. This is a new approach in terms of historiography from extant works on Jainism in south India. A major feature of this book is the hitherto uncovered aspect of the question of language and identity, caste and the modern socio-political movements in Tamil Nadu, such as the Self-Respect Movement (initiated by `Periyar'), in which some Tamil Jainas were active participants. Special features in the book include photographs of the community and monuments, maps, and a unique style, which combines a journalistic approach and academic historical research. This book is of interest to readers of Tamil language and history, and to anyone working on the idea of politics of marginalisation of religious identities, ide as of memory, and community narratives of shared history in the face of religious persecution.
Jainism is Buddhism's often overlooked cousin. As the only surviving examples of ancient India's non-Vedic religious traditions, the two religions are often grouped together as `heterodoxies', but this is to ignore deep differences between Jain and Buddhist beliefs and practices. Unlike Buddhism, Jainism has hardly spread beyond the Indian subcontinent but Jainism survives in India where it is a prominent element in the mix of Indian religions today. As an introduction to Jainism as a religious tradition and way of life, this book pays due attention to Jainism's history and doctrinal basics. However the author emphasises the ways in which formal Jain teachings are manifested in the practices of both laity and the monastic elite; explores the distinctive Jain systems of cosmographic and biological knowledge and describes how Jainism is woven into the social identities of Jain communities in modern India.
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