Jainism: An Introduction to Some Western Jains
Jainism was introduced to Germany and rest of European countries by some scholars of Indology in 17th to 19th Century. It was Virchand Gandhi, a Barrister from India who introduced this religion to North America and the world through World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893. Barriester Champatray Jain, another Jain scholar from India, introduced Jainism to England.
Lot of research was done by European scholars in 18th to Early half of 20th Century. But all this was limited to promotion of just knowledge.
Then came the second half of last Century. A large number of Jains from India, Uganda, Kenya and some other countries migrated to Europe and North America. Although they were not interested in propagating Jainism in non-Jains, people of other faiths slowly got attracted towards this less known religion.A small but increasing number of people started to adopt Jainism.
Here I am introducing some of the great western individuals, who have converted to Jainism.
Pop Singer Claudia Pastorino
Claudia Pastorino is a famous Pop Singer from Italy. Claudia was born in Genova. She was attracted to Jainism and dedicated herself to study of this faith.
She has written many books on Jainism in Italian language.
She learned Prakrit language and translated Saman Suttam in Italian.
She also translated the famous book on Jainism, The Book of Compassion, in Italian language.
She works for Animal Rights and is a staunch vegetarian
Patrick Krueger from Germany
Patrick F. Krueger, born 1972 in Tübingen, is head of the Center for Jaina Studies (CfJS) of Freie Universität Berlin. He attended Rudolf Steiner School of Anthroposophy (Theosophy) until 1990 and spent afterwards several years in Sweden, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Afterwards he studied Ancient and Modern Scandinavian Philology, Norse History and Archaeology at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald and assisted in a research project on old Icelandic language (computational linguistics) as well as in the development of a dictionary of modern Icelandic language.
Subsequently, he graduated in History of Indian Art (including Sanskrit) and East Asian Art (including Tibetan language) at Freie Universität Berlin and Ancient and Modern History of South Asia at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
At Freie Universität Berlin he was introduced to Jainism and Jaina Studies by Prof. Klaus Bruhn who is one of the leading experts in Jainology and was once a student of Ludwig Alsdorf and Walther Schubring. Patrick Krueger is focused on Jaina Art, History and Religion. In 2011 he
founded the Center for Jaina Studies at the Department of History and Cultural Studies of Freie Universität Berlin. In addition to his academic activity he is committed to spread the knowledge of Jainism and Ahimsa to the non-academic public. Hence he joined in 2010 the team of the Jaina web portal and online magazine HereNow4U.net.
Pierre Amiel A French Jain
Pierre Amiel is a retired Public Administrator from France. He first heard about Jainism at the age of 22. After retirement in 1993, he decided to promote Jainism in French language, and started to right articles in Jain Spirit, a Jain magazine published from England. in1998 his first book on Jainism, French translation of Lord Mahavira: A Study in Historical Perspective was published. In very next year, his another book Le Jainisme, Philosophie et Religion de L’Inde a translation of Dr. Vilas Sangave's English book Aspects of Jain Religion was published. In 2003, his own book Les Jains aujourd’hui dans le monde was published which later got translated in English and published as Jains Today in The World by a Jainology research Institute from India. In 2008 his another book B.A.-B.A. Jainisme was published. He has also introduced Tavarth Sutra, Samay Sar and Niyam Sar in French language.
He has given several lectures on Jainism in seminars.
Pierre Amiel became my penfriend in 90's. At that time, I remember, he wrote that he wanted to spread the message of Jainism in all the French Speaking world. He has really taken strong steps to fulfill his ambitions.
Film Maker Author Dr. Michael Tobias
Dr. Michael Tobias is a Film Maker, Author and Ecologist. He has written several books on Ecology, Animal Rights, Jainism and other subjects. One of his famous book on Jainism is Life Force: The World of Jainism, which is known as the Best book on Jainism.
He produced a film on Jainism Ahimsa –Nonviolence which was release all over United States and appreciated on large scale.
He regularly writes on various subjects in American print media, including the Forbes magazine.
Charlotte Laws: a Multi Dimensional Personality
Charlotte Laws is an American author and Animal Rights Activist. She is also a politician from Los Angeles.
She also host some TV shows and is an actress too.
She has written two books on Jains and Jainism.
Really she is a multi dimensional personality
Dr. Robert Zydenbos is a renowned scholar of Jainism and Dravidian studies. He was born in Canada and is of Dutch origin. He has written several books on Jainism, including Moksha in Jainism, and Jainism Today and its Future.
He regularly visits Dharmasthala and Shravanabelagola in Karnataka, India, the sacred places of Jains.
Dr Natalia Zheleznova: Russian Scholar
Dr Natalia Zheleznova is research scholar of Jainism inMoscow State University Russia. She has a deep study and faith in the literture of Acharya Kundkunda. Has visited Shravanabelagola. Recently she got Kund Kund Bharati Award from Kund Kund Bharati, a Prakrit research institute from New Delhi.
Dimitris Gf Jain: A Jain from Greece
Dimitris Gf Jain was born to orthodox Christian couple of Greece, but he never embraced Christianity due to philosophical reasons. He embraced his own lifestyle, and later got to know it matched with Jain philosophy and its teaching.
He is a Vegan Jain, knows Greek, English and Hindi languages. He is probably the only Jain in Greece.
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