Jain philosophy and environment


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Jain philosophy and environment

  1. 1. Jain Philosophy and the Environment
  2. 2. Who is this guy?Tushar Mehta MD CCFPOntario, Canada!!!!ER Medicine Georgetown HHAddictions Medicine SJHCFamily Practice
  3. 3. Who is this Gal?? Tushar Mehta MD CCFP ER Medicine Georgetown HH Addictions Medicine SJHC Family Practice
  4. 4. Why is this a relevant presentation today? We are all hearing about big environmental problems We look to our belief systems to: a) understand the problem b) to guide us
  5. 5. Four Parts to Presentation What does Jain philosophy say about the environment? What are Jain traditions that deal with the environment? What are the biggest things that affect the environment? What are solutions to these big problems, and what would be the modern Jain reaction to these?
  6. 6. What is Jainism and what is a Jain?? Do you really believe in this crazy stuff? (Jain philosphy is often very different than what we think it is) Just the parts that are convenient?? What has happened to Jainism in modern times? What happens to Jain values over time??
  7. 7. Other Belief systems what other things do we follow just like a religion these days? belief in elements of the modern world may have characteristics of religion “ North American style capitalism”, communism, consumerism political parties, etc … can take on a religions characteristics to the point where people just see the world in a certain way and think that it is the only way to live, or the right way to live. May be very different from Jain philosphy – compete in our minds
  8. 8. Guilt vs Responsibility Remember! that these are ideas … we are not here to judge people, though at the same time we do not want to underestimate the degree of the problem Guilt – BAD Responsibility and Empowerment = good
  9. 9. Who Cares How many here are really concerned about what is happening to the environment? What is happening to the environment
  10. 10. So … Has anybody here killed an elephant?
  11. 11. Jainism Your Way? What does this mean?? Does it meant do what you want to do, and then call it Jainism … How accurate is our knowledge on Jain Philosphy
  12. 12. What does Jain philosophy say about the environment? Part I What is the ENVIRNOMENT in Jainism?? Does Jainism have a concept of it?? Some philosophers say Jainism does not have an idea of the environment
  13. 13. The Universe Space time motion rest jiva ajiva = the dravyas = the universe Almost everything in Jainism is alive, and has a consciousness of some sort. Water, air, earth and soil, all material that comes from the earth – has:  a) living things imbedded in them, and  b) interconnectedness to all other living things  so to disturb one things causes a rippling to effect many other things
  14. 14. WE AIN’T THE KING OF THE JUNGLE Jainism - humans not separate from other life/ environment (so some philosophers say that Jainism does not have a concept of the environment) Humans NOT at the top of the environment Might/ Brains ≠ Right (like other religions/philosophies may do we are not really superior … our might and our intellect does not make it right to take from others … it never makes it right for us to do this. How many of us really believe this??
  15. 15. Ahimsa Jainism recognizes that by living we are going to hurt others Unavoidable Try to do ABSOLUTE MINIMUM HARM This does not mean Animsa as convenient
  16. 16. AHIMSA Definition COMPASSION or JIV DAYA for all life = core of Jain belief Definition or categories of violence  Thought Word and Deed  Direct and Indirect  Knowingly and Unknowingly  Doing one’s self, Having another doing it for you, Appreciating violence another has done
  17. 17. Is being vegetarian enough? Is vegetarianism the main component of ahimsa practice? Violence today = mainly indirect (done by others) and unintentional (sure, who ever means to hurt others) and unknowingly (now this is controversial)  many degrees of separation Such violence may exceed that of eating meat
  18. 18. So killing an elephant … Such violence may exceed that of eating meat. So has anybody here killed an elephant? What about seeing someone’s big new house, and then thinking/saying “wow that is really great!”
  19. 19. APARIGRAHA: Two components 1) non-possessiveness –would not seek to possess things especially if they hurt others. Lack of desire. An attitude. 2) non-possession why is this important – OVERCONSUMPTION note – Jain philosophy does not believe in that private property is an absolute right Capitalism and Private Property are Tools / Human Convention
  20. 20. Aparigraha – and 4 Kashaya Maan Maya Lobh Krodh Ego Deceit Greed Anger Greed – to take more than fair share,  Especially if it hurts others Ego – to think we are important enough to take from other living beings Deceit – to fool ourselves into acceptance of consumption
  21. 21. Aparigraha – and Stealing (Asthaya / Achoryia)  There is no private property  But there is stealing… Stealing from future generations Stealing from all the plant and animal life
  22. 22. ANEKANTAVAAD in practice - when it comes to the environment Can you see life from the point of view of all other creatures Are you trying? Most importantly: are you trying to see the impact of your actions through the eyes of all the life forms that you are affecting, and the ripples you cause though the living world? Do you hide from the truth? Do we reinterpret information in favour of our desires??
  23. 23. Anekantavaad – Trees and Plants These are alive as one sensed beings (believe it??) but I have also been told by some monks that though they are considered to have only one sense, the depth of their consciousness can be massive … trees live for centuries, and some over 1000 years… Tirthankars usually meditate under a tree!
  24. 24. Jainism and the non living things All Ajiva is considered to interact and be interdependent with all life. Disturbing any inanimate object has a myriad of consequences for Jiva This is amazingly true for the environment
  25. 25. Life is complex and INTERDEPENDANT There area a massive number of life forms on this level of existence All life is interdependent PARASPAROPAGRAHOJIVANAAM
  26. 26. Kristi Wiley the function of souls is to render service to one another (parasparo- pagraho jivanam)." In his translation of this famous verse from the Tattvartha-sutra, Nathmal Tatia has noted, "souls influence each other through service which may be favorable or unfavorable, beneficial or harmful. They cannot live independently of one another. They have to share their pleasure and pain with others." Awareness of the correct view of reality (samyak-darsana), including the interrelatedness of life and the intrinsic worth of each living being, is associated with a feeling of compassion for others Kristi Wiley http://www.csupomona.edu/~jainism/images/Abstracts.pdf
  27. 27. Mahavira Quote menka
  28. 28. What are Jain traditions that deal with the environment? Part II
  29. 29. The Jain IDEAL of a MONK A monk is considered to live the purest human life – the most in keeping with Jainism many Jains feel: hey, “I’m not a monk. As long as I am a vegetarian, do the pujas, and go to the temple – I’m done” what does Philosophy say about that idea? this is a continuum, not an all or none idea
  30. 30. Fasting, and all other food restrictions Choviar Uupvas – min of 36 hours of no eating or even water Fasting is to get as close to non-consumption and non interference in the world as possible LIFESTYLE vs RITUAL – when we fast, it is supposed to teach us to impact the world less
  31. 31. Vegetarianism and Jiv Daya This applies to vertebrate animals Also to invertebrates and smaller creatures Even to plants To eat in such a way that disturbs nature the least Jainism: Vegan, organic, local, simple diet
  32. 32. Jain Diet limiting number of items eaten per day Eating simple foods Staying away from certain foods that would kill the whole plant and cause more digging (Roots)
  33. 33. Material Possessions – i.e. “Stuff” Minimal (or nil) ownership of material possessions  You do not have to be a monk to do that Limiting earning of wealth  limiting wealth is a Jain tradition that is almost forgotten - but we still know folks who do it  Was a very strict tradition for many  Compare that with capitalism, and modern Jains
  34. 34. Material Possessions – i.e. “Stuff” Spending of wealth  If you have wealth do not spend on material things  Do not buy things extract from the earth/affects other life  Donate your wealth  (WARREN BUFFETT example) Jainism recognizes that every thing comes from the earth, and goes back into it  And can devastate all live, affect the balence
  35. 35. Not buying or having a house Tushar’s grandmother and great grandmother This was a Jain tradition to minimize built property “nothing can cause more harm to other life than the building of a home” Vow to live with family, smallest material need
  36. 36. Minimize resource use - extreme Minimizing fire and any energy use Minimizing water used What uses the most water in our society  answer: animal farming and manufacturing  i.e. Milk 3000 liters to one liter  The most energy is from manufactuing Sitting still and minimizing breathing, movement, etc (a part of meditation)  Minimizing air use!!!
  37. 37. Choice of professions Jain philosophers have long debated what professions should be avoided … the list was not ever fully agreed upon, But the idea that one’s occupation had a profound impact on their soul, and on the world/violence around them. This is an idea that has largely been lost in the modern age?
  38. 38. Samvasari Pratikraman we ask for giveness for moving up/dowm/N/S/ E/W why??? The idea existed that travel had an impact on the environment That using vehicles had a greater impact
  39. 39. Samvasari Pratikraman We ask forgiveness to all 1-5 sensed creatures that we have ever harmed What does that mean … so sorry, and do it again What do most Jains do after Pratikraman  ?? Life a ususal … drive to a big home in an SUV with leather seats??
  40. 40. Many people do not know… That Jainism was an oral tradition – here were no writings One reason was that monks would not cut even a few leaves from palm trees to make books That was too violent (but we eventually needed to) How does that contrast with how we live our lives now?
  41. 41. The practice of Jain Living Living Jainism takes detailed care on the most minute levels How does this compare to the massive impacts of the lives we live today Is there a contradiction between things we do as a ritual (i.e. not to eat roots) and what we do in routine life (consumerism)
  42. 42. As it turns outAlmost every original Jain lifestyle tradition is profoundly ecological!!!!!
  43. 43. Modern Environmental Movement – Principles and Problems? Part III
  44. 44. What is the Environment in modern Western thought? Refers to the “Natural Environment” That which exists without significant impact from human activities Somewhat different than Jain idea of nature, which does not distinguish the surrounding world from humans
  45. 45. Information: Too Much and Not Enough We are inundated with this and that are going to HURT or SAVE the environment what are the big factors – and why are they important small ones – good to work on also, but not without the big ones.
  46. 46. The main problem in one word OverconsumptionSome other good words?? The mindset??
  47. 47.  Greed Materialism Consumerism Modern Western Capitalism Lack of knowledge, selfishness, ego
  48. 48. GLOBALIZATION Material/overconsumption globalization (trumps everything) ) Overpowers the globalization or RIGHTS, ENVIRONMENT, COMPASSION, ETHICS, The ECONOMY is worshiped like a GOD (I am not saying that the economy is not important) Remember, that Jainism does not believe that private property is an absolute right- Capitalism and Property are Tools/ Human Convention
  49. 49. MATERIAL GLOBALIZATION Where is the Damage?? Life looks good to me! A) far away  the damage to people, animals, environment –  the benefits are in front of us – personal  hidden, just pictures on the TV or internet  the powers that control these things want it that way B) in front of you but you don’t realize  Anekantevaad again
  50. 50. The Big Bad things – to the ENV turning natural areas into farms urban sprawl – building stuff –scorched earth look out a plane window, and on google maps climate change
  51. 51. Big Bad things human population explosion resource extraction and manufacturing of all things (big things especially) animal agriculture Fresh water, ocean , fishing
  52. 52. Big Bad things … Resource extraction and manufacturing of all things (big things especially) Ecosystem annihilation and ecosystem segmentation Human subspecies extinction, extinction of race, ethnicities, cultures (especially WAR-Iraq is and other  How many people have died there?  Is overconsumption of oil a factor (Sudan Iraq
  53. 53. SMALL THINGS ( do not cause permanent damage) Poor recycling Smog, particulates Old light bulbs Pesticides The thousands of green products that are advertised  (some are okay, some a sham, some outright bad for the environment i.e. ethanol)
  54. 54. Solutions to the Big Problems,and the modern Jain approach? Part IV
  55. 55. Theory: The Inner and the Outer (at the same time) Find inner happiness  Think and learn and spiritualize  Put your soul, and other souls first  Put material things last  Life first, Material second The outer  By living a nonviolent life, it enhances the soul  Good outer actions can lead to better inner development
  56. 56. Inner solutionsTHINK THINK THINKLEARN LEARN LEARN  about what is going on in the world around you  remember things that are far away and out of sight  Wikipedia  Document - Livestock’s Long Shadow  NPR and CBC radio 1 and BBC  Environmental Defense  RAN  Sierra Club  Vegetarian Associations,  PCRM  PETA,  IFAW  Humane Society International,  Amnesty International  Document - Livestock’s Long Shadow
  57. 57. DO DO DO (theory of doing) Passive Compassion  Make changes in your own life!!!!! Active Compassion  Getting out there and working for changes in the world (both are important)
  58. 58. Practical Things modern day Jainism CONSUME LESS!!!! HOUSING Restrict Urban sprawl  choose a small dwelling, high density area  Apartment>town home> Semi Detached/Small home> huge home  Jainism supports the least possible  Jain and Indian tradition supports living with extended family  Room mates and friends  Choose a transit oriented place to live
  59. 59. Housing cont … (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) High density mixed use communities  less land destroyed / used less  heating and cooling  less need for car and road  more walking and mass transit
  60. 60. Materials and Carbon (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) CONSUMER GOODS  Buy Less Stuff - MINIMIZE  Buy used stuff  Buy Recycled stuff CARBON  Less Flights  Less Car  Buy less stuff  Veg/vegan
  61. 61. (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) WASTE (low impact – when something is made, most if the damage is done)  Recycle/compost  Get to Zero Garbage FOOD – Huge impact!!!!!  Vegetarianism, Vegan diet (3000 liters of water to make one liter of milk)  Local Food Organic Food  Beware of so-called green products (are you consuming less because of it)
  62. 62. (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) YOUR JOB!!!!!!! YOUR BUISNESS!!!!!!!  What do you do for a living  Touchy, takes guts GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMIC ADVOCACY  Economic models that create lots of employment and economy  Support of political parties on all levels that have solid eco policies, not just sham policies  Jainism and democracy  i.e. ETHANOL  i.e. WAR
  63. 63. GET INVOLVED (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) Support Environmental Organizations  WWF  Sierra Club  Rainforest Action Network  Vegetarian Organizations / PETA  Local stuff Money and volunteer
  64. 64. Sustainable International development (Practical Things - modern day Jainism) Population increase sustaineable developmemt, education in developing countries, especially female education and empowerment of women better maternal and child health Sustainable development Trade justice
  65. 65. (Practical Things - modern day Jainism)Jainism Your Way  The modern and relevant application of Jain philosphy Put the ENVIRONMENT into YJA’s Projects and Goals
  66. 66. Summary Jainism Philosophy is extremely ecological  (although Modern Jains may not be) Ahimsa Aparigraha Anekantevaad Parasparopagrahojivanaam Greed Ego Deciet
  67. 67. Summary – the Environment TodayMassive Permanent Devestation  turning natural areas into farms  urban sprawl – building stuff  climate change  resource extraction and manufacturing of all things (big things especially)  human population explosion  animal agriculture  fresh water  fishing industry, ocean  species extinction  human subspecies extinction, extinction of race, ethnicities, cultures (especially  ecosystem annihilation and ecosystem segmentation  look out a plane window, and on google maps  WAR-Iraq is and other
  68. 68. Summary Human Behaviour Over-Consumption is the Key issue Materialism Consumerism GreedCurrent economy vs sustainable economy
  69. 69. SUMMARY your Brain THINK LEARN MEDITATE  -Get into the know! (Especially form people who are not involved with multibillion dollar industries)  Jainism Your Way  that does not mean that- interpret it however you want  it means apply the principles in the best way that you can, in a way that suits modern times Calculate Your Footprint  www.myfootprint.org
  70. 70. Summary – what to do Housing Diet Consumerism Transportation Your job Activism!!!! Get involved
  71. 71. Summary – Jain Philosophy Every little detail of your action causes a ripple effect and affects all other beings in the world Karma Chaos! Compassion Compassion Compassion  For ALL LIFE  Is Ecological
  72. 72. Zimbabwe
  73. 73. Zimbabwe
  74. 74. Grassy Narrows
  75. 75. Grassy Narrows – Amnesty International involved
  76. 76. Alberta Tar Sands
  77. 77. Alberta Boreal Forest