The Center for Jain Studies –known colloquially as CJS– at Claremont Lincoln University seeks to further the work of Jain wisdom or dharma by facilitating and promoting open discourse, innovative scholarship, creative expression and the practical application of Jain teachings in today’s world. The Center focuses in particular on three central Jain concepts:
- Ahimsa (non-violence/compassion)
- Annekãntavãda (non-absolutism or multi viewpoints)
- Aparigraha (non-attachment/non-possession)
and their application to contemporary thought and activity.
The Center for Jain Studies grows out of a close collaboration between Claremont Lincoln University, the International School for Jain Studies in India (ISJS), the Jain Center of Southern California (JCSC), and the Jain Association in North America (JAINA). In all of its projects, the Center especially encourages connections between Jain dharma and other wisdom traditions. As the Jain tradition advocates the importance of compassionate feeling in our relations with other sentient beings, we also seek to raise awareness of the larger interconnected ecological environment in which we find ourselves.
In line with these commitments, the Center for Jain Studies puts on an annual international conference in which Jain dharma is brought into close conversation with other wisdom traditions, special lectures by expert scholars in Jain dharma and related fields (such as the upcoming lecture in honor of VR Gandhi by Dr. Christopher Chapple), visits to the local Jain temple in Buena Park (JCSC) for Jain festivals and special events, on-campus Jain celebrations at Claremont Lincoln, and graduate-level courses each semester in philosophy and applied Jain dharma. We also send Claremont scholars to study in India each summer (at ISSJS) for first-hand experience of Jain life and teachings.
In addition to these ongoing projects, in the future the Center for Jain Studies also hopes to:
- Launch a public online library of Jain material on the CJS website
- Create a library with Jain books, resources and materials
- Host a summer camp for Jain youth and college-bound students on campus in 2015
- Establish a Jain sacred space on campus for Jain meditation and worship (pooja)
- Provide Jain-related courses for Claremont Lincoln Universities and the community at large