Jainism and Environment

Photo: Samavasharana of Lord Mahavira

Photo of Old Painting: Samavasharana at Mahavira Swami Temple, Kolkata
Photo of Old Painting: Samavasharana at Mahavira Swami Temple, Kolkata

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

Pond in Kathgola Jain temple , recharging water into ground
Pond in Kathgola Jain temple , recharging water into ground
Forest Image inside Jain temple
Forest Image inside Jain temple
Lash green pathway of the Jain temple is example of forestation
Lash green pathway of the Jain temple is example of forestation

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

Rayan Rukh, the great tree inside the campus of Agas Jain temple
Rayan Rukh, the great tree inside the campus of Agas Jain temple
Forest tree outside the campus of Agas Jain temple
Forest tree outside the campus of Agas Jain temple
Forest tree inside the campus of Agas Jain temple
Forest tree inside the campus of Agas Jain temple

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

Green Plants forestation at Rambagh Jain Dadabadi, Azimganj
Green Plants forestation at Rambagh Jain Dadabadi, Azimganj
Green Pond at Rambagh Jain Temple , Azimganj
Green Pond at Rambagh Jain Temple , Azimganj
Forestation of Green trees at Rambagh Jain Temple,  Azimganj
Forestation of Green trees at Rambagh Jain Temple, Azimganj

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Comments 17 comments

JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 16 months ago from Jaipur Author

Thanks, Ashish Vinod Bhandari for your comments.


Ashish Vinod Bhandari 17 months ago

great things for getting knowledge/information

about Jainisim. True way of getting in touch with our religion.


dr.prakash.b@hotmail.com 3 years ago

I am participating in AIMs Day on Sustainability on 15 May,2013 at Stockholm, Sweden. I was searching for articles on Jainism and Sustainability. So I got this informative article. I found it quite interesting and covering in nutshell details on Jainism. Thanks and Regards,

Dr.Prakash Barjatia


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 4 years ago from Jaipur Author

Thanks for your comment.


Amit Jain 4 years ago

Thank you Sir for representing Jainism in simple and useful manner.

Its like I will have to visit your site again n again for useful information..

I have been copying some content from this blog to spread some knowledge.. Do you have any objection with that?

Thanks


brian 4 years ago

these are very informative..i absolutely believe in vegetarianism.modern religion keeps rewriting sacred text to adapt to modern societys desires,to our own detriment..jesus never ate flesh and in isaiah it states'butter and honey shall he eat to know to choose the good.at the end of isaiah it states the wolf shall lie with the lamb the lion shall eat straw like the ox...as the earth is filled with the knowledge of the lord...if the niv bible corrupters had their commerce motivated rewriting of scripture eventually it will say...be gay eat meat become a pasture look the other way veal taste good... boil lobsters alive cause it taste better...anything goes just stop by...say please forgive me....i dont think so..jesus said to the prostiture your forgiven'''''sin no more'''not "see you next sunday"as for me i am a believer in many truths but i do believe in one god jesus and im sure many jainist teachings...take care and god bless you and your family..oh and i have been a vegetarian for many years..i wouldn't eat flesh if my life depended on it.if you look into the gospel of the holy twelve{jesuses original teachings neither would he...he states he who consumes the flesh of animals eats the flesh of death to the detriment of the soul...these and many other teachings have been supressed throughout history because of desires and greed and power


twinkle 5 years ago

I AM PROUD TO BE A JAIN


dhairya 5 years ago

I like jain religion very much. I am proud to be a jain.

I am interested in whatever information i get.

if anyone loves jain religion i would like to be his friend.

email id - dhairyagada1997@gmail.com


Rajesh Jain 5 years ago

Dear Mr. Kothari,

I being a Jain have always been fascinated with this religion. Today I attended one of the shibir held by NayPadmasagar Maharaj Saheb in Pune where we were being told that Jainism was discussed at Copenhagen meet. Initially I couldn't believe it and to confirm this claim went on the net and was directed to this page of yours. I am overwhelmed that this turned out true and I am indebted to the lord for being born and brought up in Jain religion. I would appreciate if you could share some articles about Jainism that not easily available on the net.

Can we do something much more to let people know about this great religion of ours? I would definitely love to be a part of this kind of a movement..

regards,

Rajesh Jain

jainrajesh@dataone.in


Karan 6 years ago

A very beautiful hub i must say. It contains lot of info about jainism. Its woth reading.


Environmental Jobs UK 6 years ago

I enjoyed reading your article, especially about the "minimal energy consumption", I like that and wished that more people would pick up this principle.


Darshan 6 years ago

Jainism is one of the oldest religion in the world. It is flourished mainly in Indian sub-continent.

It was and remained environment friendly.

The doctrines of Jainism will help the globe in sustainable development.

Thanks,


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 6 years ago from Knoxville, TN

This is very interesting Jyoti. Jainism is an interesting and admirable religion!


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 6 years ago from Jaipur Author

Hi Kirtida Mekani,

Thanks for your comments and your view about Jainism and environment.

You have not left any contact info, how can I communicate with you?

Please live your communication info.

Thanks,

Jyoti Kothari


KIRTIDA MEKANI, SINGAPORE  6 years ago

BEING A JAIN MYSELF I WAS VERY PLEASED TO READ YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON JAINISM AND THE ENVIRONMENT. VERY WELL ARTICULATED I MUST SAY. I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TIRTHANKARS AND THE TREES ASSOCIATED WITH EACH OF THEM. THE RELEVANCE AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH THE TREE.

MRS KIRTIDA MEKANI


JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 7 years ago from Jaipur Author

Hi H P,

You are supporting me all the way with your valuable comments. I am indebted to you for your love and care. Jainism is an art of living life peacefully in quest of eternal tranquility.

Thanks,

Jyoti Kothari


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

It is a great hub with lots of information of Jainism. I was fascinated on hearing that Jainism is not only a religion but also a way of life. Thanks for sharing..

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