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Jain Way of Life by Yogendra Jain

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The Jain Way of Life Handbook (200 pages)
A Guide to Compassion, Healthy, and Happy Living

This book is ideal for Jains and Non-Jains as a simple and easy to understand guide for blending Jain practices with a North American lifestyle. Over 4000 copies have been sold and continues to be a popular buy for individuals, families, and Jain Center in the United States.

For volume orders, contact  and yokjain@yahoo.com

JWOL Handbook Chapters
(see below)


For bulk orders of 36 (1 box)  or more for your organization, price is $10 each ($360 total with Free Shipping).  For more information please contact: yokjain@yahoo.com
 

About the Author:   Yogendra is JAINA Secretary, past chairman of JAINA Long Range Planning Committee, NorthEast JAINA VP  and Director, and teaches levels 5 and 6 Pathshala at the Jain Center of Greater Boston.  He has led more than a dozen "out the box” seminars and  ground breaking projects including Tattvarth Sutra: Ancient Scriptures Come Alive, Discovery of the Soul, Strengthening of Faith, and Measuring Your Jain Way of Life Progress.   The objectives of these projects as well as this book are to expand the understanding of Non-Violence, Non-Absolutism, and Non-Possessiveness in modern way of life for Jains and Non-Jains.


More about the book (Table of Content, About the Writer/Editor):

Table of Content (200 pages)  

Jainism Simplified
   What is Jainism?
   Jain Prayers
   My Aspirations (Prayer)
   Treasures in Jainism
   Non-Violence (Ahimsa)
   Non-Absolutism (Anekantvad)
   Non-Possessiveness (Balance Needs and Desires – Aparigrah)
   Unity and Diversity Among Jains
   24 Reasons to Believe in and Live a Jain Way of Life
   Vegetarian Way of Life


Measuring My Progress in Living a Jain Way of Life
   My Mind & My Body - A Self Evaluation
   My Things - A Self Evaluation
   My Consumptions - A Self Evaluation
   My Life & My World - A Self Evaluation
   My Spirituality - A Self Evaluation 
   Many Dimensions of Violence (Himsa)


Food
  
  Compassionate Healthy Diet
    Responsible Food Purchasing
    Eating and Drinking Out and Enjoying: Best Practices

Family
   
How to Raise a Jain Child
    Marriage Commitment - A Conversation
    A Typical Day - Jain Way of Life
   Vacations, Retreats, and Camps
    Very Responsible Purchasing
    Guidelines to Donations and Gift Giving
    Self and Work
    Excelling in the Workplace
    Jain Relaxation and Meditation
    My 12 Reflections


Guidance
    Cherish the Jain Experience in North America
    Guidelines for High School Students
    Animal Rights - Your Critical Role
    Partnerships with Non-Jain Groups
    Forgiveness and How to do it
    Steps to Spiritual Progress


Celebrations
   
Family Celebrations - Birthday, Graduation, Mothers/Fathers Day, Anniversary,      Marriage
    The Art of Dying
    Jain Festivals
    Mahavira’s Life and Teachings, 
   Mahavir Jayanti (Birth) and Diwali (Liberation)
   Celebration of the Soul
    Paryushan Parv and Das Lakshan
    8-10 Days of Living a Jain Way of Life
    The Practice of Equanimity and Pratikraman
    Celebrating Thanksgiving - The Jain Way


Jain Pujas, Symbols, Temples, History
    Jain Philosophy - Mini Overview
    Jain Pujas
    Jain Symbols
    Jain History
    Jain Scriptures
    Jainism and Other Religions

Resources
   Web Resources
   Cruelty-Free Products
   Jain Centers and Societies
   Glossary of Non-English Jain Terms
   Questions on Jainism

 *** Book Chapters ***
Excelling in the Workplace -
Are you happy and engaged at your job? Are you using your best strengths and developing them into your recognized core competencies? Does your boss praise you and recognize your work? Or are you frustrated with the quarreling, turf wars, and endless delays in decision making in your workplace?
Internalizing and practicing our core Jain values helps us excel in our work place and greatly enhances the environment for team work and higher productivity. Evaluate your corporate leaders – are they are following these Jain core values?
The table below shows how you can apply core Jain values to excel in many workplace situations.
(Core Values of NV=Non-Violence; NA=Non-Absolutism; NP=Non-Possessiveness)



Jain Relaxation and Meditation

Jain scriptures offer extensive guidance on meditation techniques to achieve full knowledge and awareness. Meditation is one of the most pleasant, serene, and joyous feelings. We can gain tremendous energy by managing our fickle mind. It offers us tremendous physical and mental benefits. The following table describes a simple, six-stage technique which you can use for yourself or to guide a family or group meditation session. Click here to read on ... Jain Relaxation and Meditation


My 12 Reflections
Humans have a great ability to mentally reflect on our current, past, and future. Jain scriptures eloquently prescribe 12 reflections to help us reinforce our Jain way of life practices. These reflections allow us to understand that we are alone in this world, but at the same time interconnected to every living being. By observing these reflections, we can deepen our view of Non-Violence, Non-Absolutism, and Non-Possessiveness.  Click here to read on ... My 12 Reflections
 



By taking this simple self-evaluation test you can determine your JWOL state of mind and practice of your consumption habits. This exercise will expand your awareness and stimulate your mind in thinking about ways to live and promote a Jain Way of Life.

My Things - A Self Evaluation
So much of our lives is consumed by collecting, managing, and maintaining "My Things.” Some are, of course, necessary for a comfortable lifestyle. However, others distract us and consume tremendous time and energy.
By taking this simple self-evaluation test you can determine your JWOL state of mind and practice. This exercise will expand your awareness and stimulate your mind in thinking about ways to live and share a Jain Way of Life.

My Consumptions - Jain Way of Life - A Self Evaluation
We are physically and mentally consuming. We eat, and think about eating, numerous times a day. We take care of our bodies using many products.

 My Life and My World - A Self Evaluation

We are not alone. My Life & My World are part of an ecosystem with tremendous opportunities as well as distractions.

By taking this simple self-evaluation test you can determine your JWOL state of My Life & My World. This exercise will expand your awareness and stimulate your mind in thinking about ways to live and promote a Jain Way of Life.

 My Mind and My Body - A Self Evaluation
Managing my mind and body is critical for happiness, challenge, discovery, and spiritual growth. JWOL is living a
life grounded in thoughts, words, and actions of the core Jain principles of:
 
•    Non-Violence: in our diet, speech, and thoughts.
•    Non-Possessiveness: where we balance our possessions and desire for them.
•    Non-Absolutism: where we strive to keep our mind open and understand other views.
 
By taking this simple self-evaluation test you can determine your JWOL state of mind and practice. This exercise will expand your awareness and stimulate your mind in thinking about ways to live and promote a Jain Way of Life. The goal is to progress toward Level 4 and 5.

My Spirituality - Jain Way of Life - A Self Evaluation
There are many distractions on the spiritual path. By taking this simple self-evaluation test you can determine your JWOL state of Spirituality. This exercise will expand your awareness and stimulate your mind in thinking about ways to live and promote a Jain Way of Life.





My Family:
How to Raise a Jain Child - Parents’ greatest wish is for their children to be happy, healthy, intelligent, successful, and selfless. It takes a core and extended family, community, culture, tradition, and religion and a responsible Way of Life to raise a child.  Practice of Jain Way of Life in thoughts, words, and actions insures happy, healthy, and balanced children. The following are some practical and effective actions which will help your children follow, internalize, and cherish a Jain Way of Life. This can be your gift to your children which will last a lifetime and will be carried through many generations.  Read on...  click on How to Raise a Jain Child


Marriage Committment - A Conversation -   Marriage can dramatically change your life direction, beliefs, practices and way of life, and affects many generations to come. Your Jain Way of Life (JWOL) practice can be strengthened or be severely setback depending on whom you marry. Hence, it is important that you have a conversation on critical issues when contemplating a serious relationship leading to marriage. Unique life experiences and upbringing, coupled with religious practices, determine ones outlook. No two people will align on all issues but there are some critical issues that you may not wish to compromise on. Also, a relationship has an intangible element called "chemistry.” Sometimes chemistry in a potential relationship overpowers parents’ reasoning and guidance. Even when the chemistry appears to match and all stars appear to align, it is always a good idea to have a conversation.
The following are guidelines for a heart to heart conversation with a potential life partner to affirm living a JWOL (Jain Way of Life) for the rest of your lives.  Read on... click on Marriage Committment - A Conversation.


A Typical Day - Jain Way of Life -  We pass through many stages in life and our typical daily activities and priorities change. However, the core of our typical day can be grounded in a Way of Life which is mindful, compassionate, and able to increase our spiritual strength. Be sure that once every hour you take a long deep breath lasting at least 15 seconds.  The following are typical day activity highlights:  Read on... click on A Typical Day - Jain Way of Life


Vacation, Retreats, and Camps
- Going on vacations and retreats is important for relaxation, learning about the world, and being together with family and friends. In addition to tingling our senses and emotions, some parts of the vacation should include appeal to the mind and the Soul. This can be quite an exhilarating experience. Vacations should also be a time to reflect about ourselves, our practices, and our habits. In the United States as well as all over the world, there are thousands of vacation spots and retreats which are not only fun but also spiritually uplifting. Read on ... click on Vacation, Retreats, and Camps



Very Responsible Purchasing -  Jain core practice of Non-Violence extends far beyond being vegetarian and avoiding activities that hurt insects. The products we buy, how we use them, and how we dispose of them are important opportunities for Jains to practice Non-Violence and Non-Possessiveness. Most Jains are familiar with what happens on farms and in slaughter houses to make meat and leather products. Similarly, it is important to understand how other everyday products – such as food, electronics, jewelry, and clothing – are manufactured. Some of these processes inflict violence on people, animals, and the environment in the form of poor labor conditions, human rights abuses, pollution, inefficient use of resources, health risks, and social and economic injustice. Read on ... click Very Responsible Purchasing


Guidelines to Donations and Gift Giving -  Jains have a rich tradition of philanthropy. However, as the pressures of daily living, paying for children’s education, and health increase, we forget the critical role that Jain Way of Life organizations play in strengthening our family and religious values. These organizations are competing against mass media and don’t have the financial prowess to compete for your money. It is for this reason that we must take every opportunity to proactively donate money to these organizations. Even today in some traditions, up to 10% of income is donated to a church, temple, or religious charities. The following are some guidelines:
Guidelines to Donations and Gift Giving



My Food:
Vegetarian Way of Life -
Jain philosophy and its practice of Non-Violence and vegetarianism was a positive influence to many non-Jains in ancient India for whom animal consumption and sacrifices were common practices. However, the need for a vegetarian lifestyle is even more applicable today where billions of animals are painfully raised, dismembered, tortured, and slaughtered for food, leather, and other byproducts. Click here to read on ... Vegetarian Way of Life

Compassionate Healthy Diet -
Throughout the day we eat a variety of food. Food governs not only our physical health but our mental well being and our social interactions. A Jain Way of Life diet minimizes harm to living beings. Jains believe that all living beings have Souls, unlike other traditions, who believe that only humans have Souls. Hence, killing of any living creatures, may it be a plant or a human being, is violence. However, Jains categorize living beings by the number of senses they possess (from one to five senses). The level of violence that is committed when any creature is harmed depends on the senses it possesses. For example, plants and bacteria are one-sense beings and cows, pigs or humans are five-sense beings. Eating meat is many orders of magnitude more violent than a plant based diet. Compassionate Healthy Diet

Responsible Food Purchasing -
Food preparation begins with food purchasing. We must be mindful of how the food arrives in the grocery store, what the labeling on the package means, and what process the food has already been subjected to. In the Jain diet, food, from growth to consumption it, is treated in such a way as to minimize harm to living beings.
Responsible Food Purchasing

Eating and Drinking Out and Enjoying: Best Practices -
When it comes to eating cruelty-free in North America, today’s options are endless. But confusion about food ingredients, not knowing where to find vegetarian-friendly restaurants, and uncertainty about meat-free meal preparation can hinder even the most committed vegetarian. For some, cooking a Jain meal can be spiritually uplifting and meditative, but eating out can be enjoyable and entertaining and a chance to try new tasty dishes.  Whatever the reason, if we follow Eating Out: Best Practices, we can enjoy clean, healthy vegetarian food without any mixing and contamination with non-vegetarian food. A simple rule of thumb is to eat out at vegetarian restaurants. Most major cities have at least serveal such restaurants where one of them is probably a South Indian, another will be Buddhist, and some will be American Vegan/Vegetarian/Heath Food. Eating and Drinking Out and Enjoying: Best Practices

My Guidance
Cherish the Jain Experience in North America -
Welcome to the United States of America. Whether you are a student, parent (visiting to help your son or daughter have their first child), on a temporary work assignment, or just visiting this country for vacation, it is very easy to maintain your Jain Way of Life practices. In fact, in North America you will experience new and innovative Jain practices and expand your understanding of this healthy and compassionate way of life.
North American Jains are dynamic and active with more than 68 Jain organizations and more than 30 Jain temples. All major Jain festivals are celebrated, and conventions are held every year for youths and families. Click to read on... Cherish the Jain Experience in North America



Guidelines for High School Students -
High school years are demanding. Jain Way of Life offers a strong foundation for you to grow. The following are some
issues you will come across throughout your high school years. Click to read on... Guidelines for High School Students -


Animal Rights - Your Critical Role -
Animal rights is the core of Jain practice. For thousands of years, Jains have been protecting all types of animal life from abuse, consumption, and neglect. Click to read on... Animal Rights - Your Critical Role -


Partnerships with Non-Jain Groups -
Jainism is not only a religion, but a way of life. Gandhi once said, "As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion overriding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.” Thus, we should not only look inwards toward our Soul, but at the world around us. Click to read on... Partnerships with Non-Jain Groups -


Forgiveness and How to do it -
One key ingredient to happiness is unconditional forgiveness.  It is critical in the practice of nonviolence and transforming our thoughts, speech, and actions to equanimity and harmony.
It is as important to ask for forgiveness as it is to forgive others. Asking for forgiveness is so essential that it is the central aspect of the Jain ritual Pratikraman. In Pratikraman, we ask for forgiveness from all levels and from of living beings. By asking for forgiveness, we lessen the attachment to that event or incident and avoid such actions in the future. By asking forgiveness, we learn and better ourselves.  Click to read on... Forgiveness and How to do it -


Steps to Spiritual Progress -
For centuries humans have sought guidance on how they can progress on their spiritual journey. The sages who authored the Jain scriptures Ratnakarand Shrävakachar have laid out a systematic 11 step plan, much like Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. The 11 steps, which are like the rungs of a ladder, are called Shrävaka-pratimä. They begin with intuition and awakening and lead up to an ascetic life.  Click to read on... Steps to Spiritual Progress -
 


My Life Celebrations:

Family Celebrations - Birthday, Graduation, Mothers/Fathers Day, Anniversary, Marriage, Baby Showers -
Prayers – On the day of the celebration, contemplate on the event for a few minutes. Do longer prayers in the morning when you get up and before you go to bed.
Family – Touch your parents feet or call them up and spend more time with them on the phone.
Family – Call and/or visit your parents/grandparents and pay respect to them.
Expectations – If your family, relatives, friends (or even your spouse) forgets this date, gently remind them without sarcasm and don’t hold grudges.
Temple – Try to go to temple on that day or on the weekend after the birthday, graduation, or anniversary.
Party – If you are having a party at your home, be sure to have eggless cake.
Party – If you are going to eat out or cater, try to go to a vegetarian restaurant or a place that has plenty of vegetarian food. If you are paying, then you should pre-order only vegetarian health food. Alcohol should not be part of any celebrations.
On these auspicious days, make one resolution for the next year.
Gifts I – Only accept gifts that are non-leather, silk, and non-animal tested. Mention this on the invitation card.
Invitation Card – Instead of accepting gifts, let your guest know that NO gifts are accepted – but optionally you can ask them to donate to a charity that protects animals (Beauty without Cruelty, PETA, etc.) (See below.)
Donation – Give a donation at the temple (Appx. 10% of the amount that you receive in gifts).
Exercise – On celebration days, make it a point to celebrate your wonderful body. Exercise, meditate, pray, and relax.
Recycle – Recycle plates, glasses, bottles. In large multi-day gatherings, put names on cups/glasses. Avoid styrofoam.


The Art of Dying -
Death is simply a change in state. Just as one changes a house or changes their clothes, with death the Soul changes from one body to another. Death can happen anytime. Hence at any moment we must be ready for this, and if it happens at a moment’s notice or drawn out over years, we must be ready. This readiness happens with the strong practice of Non-Violence, Non-Absolutism, and Non-Possessiveness in thoughts, speech, and actions. "From the point of view of absolute principle (Nischay Nay), death in fact is like our mother. Just like our worldly mother, death gives us rebirth. Death brings another life for us. Death takes us from one way to another way of life, from one body to another body. She is the giver of liberation (Moksha). She liberates us from the cycle of birth and rebirth.


Jain Festivals -
Generally, festivals are celebrations and jubilations characterized by excitement, enthusiasm, enjoyment and entertainment; but the Jain festivals are characterized by  both the external and internal celebration. This internal celebration is through renunciation, austerities, study of the scriptures, meditation, and expressing devotion for the Jinas (idols). Even those people who are caught in the meshes of mundane life, according to their ability and conveniences, get free from the external worldly entanglements to the extent possible and become immersed in worship and meditation.

Mahavir's Life and Teachings -
Lord Mahävir was the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankar of Jains in this era. According to Jain philosophy, all Tirthankars were human beings but they attained a state of perfection or enlightenment through meditation and self-realization. They are the Gods of Jains. Mahävir rejected the concept of God as a creator, a protector, and a destroyer of the universe. He also denounced the worshiping of gods and goddesses as a means of material gains and personal benefits and God’s abilities to absolve their believers from their sins.


Celebration of the Soul - Paryushan Parv and Das Lakshan -
Paryushan is an eternal festival relating neither to people nor to any historical event. It is a time to celebrate the natural qualities of the Soul. Just as the Soul does not have a beginning or an end, Paryushan does not have a beginning or an end. It falls three times a year but is only celebrated once, around August/September because at this time, business is slow (in India), businessmen can take time off for spiritual pursuit. Also, it is the time of the monsoon retreat for monks and nuns in India. During this time when insects flourish, the monks and nuns reside in one city or community to avoid long distance  travel so as to minimize trampling or harming living beings.


8-10 Days of Living a Jain Way of Life -
Paryushan Parv/Das Lakshan are festivals for celebrating the qualities and essence of the Soul. These auspicious 8 or 10  days offer us an opportunity to focus on our spirituality with the hope that we will live a Jain Way of Life for the rest of the year.
Disciplining oneself for these practices is a difficult task. The following activity recommendations are for people of all ages along with point incentives. A family can print this page and give one copy to each member of the family to fill out and add up the points at the end of the festival. A gift can be offered for achieving a certain point target. Each family member should encourage and help others to achieve their best.


The Practice of Equanimity and Pratikraman -
Pratikraman is a practice of confession and repentance and can be done in many different ways. It can be performed at any time but is specifically done on the last day of Paryushan Parv celebration. It includes the following six essentials:


Celebrating Thanksgiving - The Jain Way -
Between 260 and 300 million turkeys are slaughtered annually in the United States, according to USDA statistics.
Of these, approximately 45 million are killed for Thanksgiving, and 22 million are killed for Christmas. Per capita turkey consumption, which has increased steadily in the United States, averages just below 18 pounds per person. In 1970, turkey consumption per person averaged just 6.4 pounds.
The White House turkey is pardoned and sent to the Washington Zoo each year during Thanksgiving.


Source: Jain Way of Life Handbook, A Guide to Compassionate, Healthy, and Happy Living.  2007

 
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