Jainism and Environment
Photo: Samavasharana of Lord Mahavira
The environment and global warming in Jainism
Jainism is not only a religion but way of life. It is an art of living. A human being lives with his or her society and the environment. Jain Agamas (Canons/ Holy Books) are very conscious about preserving the environment. Their thoughts surpassed that of modern environmentalists. Jain sacred texts have large volumes that point to the environment.
Some critics may say that Jainism did not say anything about causes of global warming. I can agree with them partially. Did the people speak the phrase what is global warming at the ancient time? However, Lord Mahavira knew effects of global warming and depicted clearly that the earth would be too hot at the end of the fifth time cycle to come out of the residence. The time frame he has given is 21000 years after him. He suggested global warming solutions and a pathway to stop global warming.
Jain canons depict a lot about climate change issues that is to be taken place in future and suggested to act reasonably for sustainable development. These are like modern days' global warming articles. The Bhagwati Sutra, a famous Jain canon discusses on environment issues and global environment.
Photos: Greenary in Jain temple, Kathgola
Elements of nature and suatainable environment
Jainism says that five main elements of nature; Prithvi (land, soil, stones etc), Jal (Water resources including cloud), Agni (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Vanaspati (Vegetation, trees, and plants including fungi) are living creatures and must be treated as living beings.
This basic concept of Jainism is unique. No other religion in the world has depicted nature in this manner. Lord Mahavira told this two thousand six hundred years back!! No scientist before Jagadish Chandra Bose could conceive and prove life in green trees and plants, most essential part of the environment.
This very concept of Jainism restricts its followers (Jain) to harm any creature. This concept also limits their consumption and help to protect the environment. This is the most important aspect of the sustainable environment and environmental conservation.
environmental sustainability is dependent upon loving the nature and natural elements. Depletion and contamination of natural resources are the main cause of present day problems in environment and sustainable development.
Lord Mahavira lived in forest and jungle most of the times during his asceticism. He attained enlightenment on the bank of river Rijuvalika below a solvent tree. It is noteworthy that Mahavira is the 24th and last Tirthankar of Jain and all others also lived their ascetic life in a similar way. All of them also enlightened below a tree. They lived their lives in hills, forest and jungle and understood the nature closely. They preached sitting in Samavasharana after enlightenment. The Samavasharana itself is a complete ecosystem.
N.B. : Samavasharana photo at the top
Lord Mahavira has clearly warned in Acharanga Sutra that contamination of any natural resources is not desirable in any case. He has gone into details of contamination. Jainism speaks these as weapons to creatures (natural resources).
World leaders have been meeting in Climate Chance Conference, Copenhagen, (COP15) to discuss issues related to environment and global warming between December 7 and 18, 2009. It is particularly important at this time to know about thoughts of Jainism. Religious practices of Jain community can guide and show a path to environment protectionists of the world. Jain sacred texts can be proved as torch light to make Copenhagen Hopenhagen.
Pungalia Jain Temple Video, Jaipur
Environment protection in Jainism
Jain Agamas say that a Jeeva (Soul) harms or intend to harm anyone out of Raga (Craving) and Dwesha (Aversion). They have gone into the root cause of all violence. The Acharanga Sutra, first Jain Anga Sutra advocates strongly for protecting and preserving the environment. It says that Pudhavi (Soil), Jala (Water), Vaau (Air), Vanassai (Vegetations) and even Teu (Fire) are living creatures and should not be destroyed or killed.(Names in original Ardha Magadhi Prakrit language with English translation in brackets).
The Acharanga Sutra says that these are violence.
Consumerism promotes craving. It motivates people to consume more and more whether required or not. They have even made it a parameter of development. This western doctrine is the root cause of all environmental hazards in modern days. In fact, we are now at the threshold of total collapse due to consumer culture.
Jain texts emphasize on utility (Upayoga) in place of consuming (Upabhoga) rather they tend to worship the nature (Upasana). Consumerism leads to depletion of natural resources that in turn contaminate air, water, soil and other valuable natural resources.This again accelerates greenhouse gases and carbon emissions which cause global warming.
Jain lifestyle may be discussed at the Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen (COP15). It shows a social way to protect the environment and stop global warming.
Forest photos of Agas Jain temple and Shrine
Jain lifestyle and global warming
Jain texts motivate people for minimal consumption. They emphasize on Tyaga (Sacrifice). Jain Sharavaka / Shravikas (Laymen and women, house holds) are preached to minimize their Bhoga (Consumables). The seventh vow for Jain house holds is Bhogopbhog Pariman Vrata (Vow ). This vow restricts them from unlimited consuming of natural resources. More over, this vow is a Shiksha Vrata (Educational vow). It says its observers to learn and educate themselves towards limiting their consumables.
Jain Shravak or Shravika, who truly follow this vow, are restricted to act against environment in several ways. They limit their ambitions voluntarily and do not enter into a business or profession that damages environment severely. Soaking water resources, cutting and firing a green forest, mining etc are not allowed for observers of this vow. Trading of ivory, hazardous chemicals, drugs etc are also restricted for them.
Jain community in India is a business community. However most of them are not in industries. They have traditionally adopted businesses which does not harm the environment. Most people of the Jain community are in Gems and Jewelry and gold business. They are also in businesses like textile, food grain, banking and finance etc. They have enormous credit in business because of their peaceful and nonviolent nature and ethical practices.
Jain Sadhu / Sadhwi (Male and female ascetics) live with almost no consumables. They do not use vehicles rather travel bear foot. They do not use electricity and any modern amenities. They do not even cook or tell any one to cook for them. They do not pluck flowers and any other green vegetables for any purpose. They do not possess any earthly things, no money, no bank account, no credit cards.
All Jains including Sadhu / Sadhwi and Sharavaka / Shravika observe Paryushan as their main Parva (Festival). They do not even eat green vegetables in those days. Traditionally they do not eat in the night (after sunset). More and more people adopting Jain life style will help reducing green house gases and carbon emissions which cause global warming.
Video: Green in Jaipur Dadabadi
Jain Dadabadi and Environment protection
Jain Dadabadi is true protectors of Environment. In fact, these are botanical gardens or mini forests along with a temple of Dadagurudev.
Badi means garden or urban forest that is derived from Sanskrit word Vatika. Dadabadis are built in a location far from cities and towns since medieval age. Most of the old Dadabadi have come inside the cities with time changing. These are acting as urban forests presently. There are hundreds of trees in most of the Dadabadis. There are flower plants, fruit trees and decorative trees and plants in Dadabadi. Dadabadi also grows medicinal trees and herbal plants.
Jain Dadabadi shows us the path of sustainable development, environmental conservation, and sustainable environment. Green garden of Dadabadi gives a soothing effect to the urban population suffering from global warming.
People use to come in Dadabadi for Darshan and Puja (worship). Dadabadi is traditionally social and religious meeting places. Many social and religious events are organized and celebrated in dharma shalas of Dadabadi all over India. People come and spend a lot of time there. They enjoy fresh oxygen exhaled by trees and plants as an additional benefit.
Modern lifestyles are causes of global warming. Every Tom, Dick and harry is feeling heat and effects of global warming and finding themselves helpless to stop global warming. Dadabadi is really global warming solutions. These are like a torch light in the dark night.
Dadabadi is a natural safeguards against pollution.
I have added some forest images from Jain Dadabadi in this hub. View Beautiful forest photos in Jain Dadabadi and Jain temple campus.
Forest images at Rambagh Jain Temple
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