Jain Meditation International Center New York
The concept of God is very unique in Jains. Appropriate synonyms are not found in English or other languages to express the full meaning of several terms used in Jain philosophy, metaphysics, or ethics. This unique concept also has an impact on the meaning of prayer, bhakti and worship which attach to pure soul and obscure its natural qualities. Pure soul’s natural qualities include omniscience and bliss. Based on the type and amount of karma, a soul takes a body form and has four minor categories of karma with it which define the body, life span, social standing, pleasure and pain. The cycle of birth/death continues until the removal of all Ghati Karma. The path of removal of karma is the Jain path of purification or spiritual progress which ultimately leads to perfection or Godhood.
Jains do believe in God, that’s why there are temples. But everyone can be a God – we have the potentiality. If western semitic sense of “Theism” is taken, requiring creation theory, then Jains may be considered an atheism but further explanation must be provided. It follows that Jains do not believe in prophets as Creator God’s messengers. God is not involved in providing material things to the asking devotee. Thus, the God in Jains may be loosely equated to the Christian or Hindu God (not demigods) minus creation.
The PRANAYAMA technique as described in “Light on Yoga”
1) place the right thumb on the right side of the nose (and close the nostril) and inhale through the left nostril only. Inhale slowly and fill the lungs to the brim,
2) Then block the left nostril so that both nostrils are closed
3) Hold the breath for about 5 seconds or longer, if you’re able
4) Release your thumb off the right nostril and Exhale through the same right nostril, then
5) Inhale through the right nostril, block it and
6) Hold the breath again for about 5 seconds or longer (now is the time to practice your Namaskar mantra)
7) Exhale through left nostril…..and so on Repeat as many as you like but do not breathe through your mouth EFFECTS: the blood receives a larger supply of oxygen than in normal breathing, so that one feels refreshed and the nerves are calmed and purified. The mind becomes still and lucid. On March 8, 2005, The Wall Street Journal: “daily meditation lowers high blood pressure, slowing down heart rates, esp. among African Americans.” I say it is good for all of us!
Philosophy of non violence
Jain Dharmais a philosophy, a way of living, to total non-injury or Ahimsa to all living beings and fully supports the ecology. The need to practice total non-injury and focusing on this ideal is a result of concern for a world that seems torn by conflict and terrorism. With terrorism and violence comes a need for advocacy of a principle that is hallowed by our moral and spiritual traditions.
Mahavir lived and showed the way of Ahimsa for self-purification. Buddha’s message gave Ashoks solace when he wearied of the bloodshed and wars. Mahatma Gandhi showed how nations can win freedom, and humankind transform itself through nonviolence. Today, the growth of terrorism makes nonviolence more necessary than ever. If there is any hope for man, it is THROUGH AHIMSA.
The cardinal principal is Ahimsa which means nonviolence in thought, words and actions, in living and in diet. In this way, our life becomes a blessing and not a curse to other living beings.
The vibrations of violence or peace do not come from outside. They come from inside. In the beginning there will be resistance. Tell your thoughts to “get out” and be firm just as we tell children. So we tell our mind what to do. But it is easy to tell others. It is much more difficult to tell our own self.
Violence percolates from inside. It comes from inside out. Each individual has to take charge of oneself, and create harmony in oneself. Unless we create peace inside, we won’t be able to create peace outside.
So this is not only a teaching but it is primarily a practice, the practice of Ahimsa. AHIMSA means the dignity and sacredness of the human person in relation with all other living beings. Its criteria is Reverence for ALL Life.