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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pakistan, India and Kashmir Peace Talks - Why War Is Not An Option.

Note: Mona is one of my favorite Muslim human rights activists and I admire her for her work. I wish, I could attend the program, as I am deeply involved in the Anti-Muslim protests and solutions there of, and then go to Salt Lake City for the Parliament of Worlds Religions. 

Please participate in the symposium and things will change if you do something about it and Mona is doing it. Give her the support

Mike Ghouse

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Pakistan, India and Kashmir Peace Talks - Why War Is Not An Option.

By Mona Kazim Shah

This symposium is scheduled for the 10th of Oct, 2015 at UT Dallas at 2 PM at Naveen Jindal School of Management. It is organized by #ProjectPakistan, an ongoing campaign that speaks for human rights issues, has philanthropic projects, political radio shows, provides space for open mics, and is working diligently to encourage dialogue to resolve conflicts and promote South Asian art and culture in the U.S.

The focus of this symposium is to bring the youth from Pakistan, Kashmir and India on one forum and to instigate peace talks and healthy dialogue that will finally take their voices further. Since we will be micro blogging and streaming the event live for the participation of the audience in the region, we expect our voices to reach back home. We believe the same youth will be part of our government, bureaucracy, policy making and pressure groups in a very short time and is capable to take these talks to the next level. They have shown serious political acumen and the will to re-open the frozen issues, such as the one under discussion.
The panelists are pro peace, pro dialogue Journalists/Academics/Activists/Artists who have worked in their own capacities for years and have paid a price for it.

 Beena Sarwar, a journalist, artist and documentary filmmaker from Pakistan (focusing on media, gender, peace and human rights issues) who also work part time as Editor, Aman ki Asha, a peace initiative between the Jang Group of Newspapers, Pakistan and The Times of India. I asked her about the fact if any change should be expected from younger generation of government/bureaucracy? Her answer was in affirmation she also added that, “Politicians, business people and even a common person is capable of bringing about a change, the younger generation doesn't have the baggage or carry the animosity. Most want to live in peace and have good relations. I believe that the change is happening, but it will take time” Beena said optimistically. Beena currently teaches Journalism at Brown.

Raza Ahmad Rumi, a Pakistani journalist and policy analyst who serves as an editor at The Friday Times, Pakistan's foremost liberal weekly paper, had an interesting analysis about the role that media can play in bringing India, Kashmir and Pakistan on the same page. According to Rumi, “The media is a powerful player now, even stronger than state actors. It has a vital role in shaping public opinion for peace-building. However, the disturbing corporatization of media means that you have to sell conflict for profits. This is why peace and diplomacy find less traction and more sensational stuff is witnessed. This has grave implications for the future peace efforts”.

Rumi, himself survived an assassination attempt by religious extremists in Pakistan last year. Rumi’s book, Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveler is a must read.

Dr.Amie Maciszewski, an international musician, a Sitarist who will be opening the symposium with a Kashmiri folk tune told us how her life has been about liminality: negotiating borderlands and building bridges. She has been studying and practicing expressive traditions, particularly music, of a complex region like South Asia.  For her Kashmir is one such borderland which has been enriched by intercultural encounter, dialogue, and collaboration.  Amie believes, Symposia like this are most important steps towards dialogue, collaboration, and, ultimately, mutual enrichment.

At this much anticipated event, we also have Dr. Pritpal Singh as a panelist. A Physician who has always stood up and addressed Human Rights Issues with great passion.  He is an executive with Cigna. He facilitates workshops and projects which aim to fight both religious and political oppression through reflection, awareness, and activism.  Dr. Singh is a frequent guest speaker at the educational, religious, and social forums.  Dr. Singh believes, “Conflict only furthers tensions and creates more divisions, solutions that take the route of peace are the only ones that provide political and social harmony and is of optimal value.”

Dr. Nyla Ali Khan is on the faculty of the Expository Writing Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Oklahoma. She is a native of Kashmir, and a native speaker of the Kashmir language.

 Dr. Khan believes that the younger generation of Kashmir has witnessed the militarization of the Valley and has grown up in a traumatized environment. She told me that when she interacted with young people at various academic institutions, she realized that they have tremendous potential.  Dr. Khan said, “I hope the right opportunities are created for them, not just in academia and the government sector, but in the private sector as well” She hopes that young Kashmiris tap into the potential that they have, “only then there is hope for light at the end of the tunnel”.

Nyla Ali Khan has most recently edited a major anthology, The Parchment of Kashmir: History, Society, and Polity, which develops an unparalleled understanding of the region’s culture, resilience and fate as political pawn. Her recent book, ‘The Life of a Kashmiri Woman’ a critically acclaimed work, is a hybrid form of academic memoir and biography on her maternal grandmother, Begum Akbar Jehan. Nyla’s goal is to engage in reflective action as an educator questioning the erosion of cultural syncretism, the ever increasing dominance of religious fundamentalism, and the irrational resistance to cultural and linguistic differences.

Amitabh Pal is the Managing Editor of The Progressive. He has interviewed the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter and John Kenneth Galbraith. In addition to his role as the Managing Editor, Pal is the Co-Editor of the Progressive Media Project. He is the author of "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today.
Quoting one of Amit’s articles, “The international community including the United States, the European Union and other nations has pressed for India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue”

According to Pal, “Indians and Pakistanis deserve a better future than the fate their leaders have bestowed on them for more than half a century and both countries need to work toward that -- step by step”.

The panelists, the audience and the city look forward to this very timely and important discussion that may lead to positive results. This is yet another effort in the name of peace by the people who truly believe that war has not and will not solve anything.  We are done with the tired rhetoric and losing innocent lives on the borders. All three regions can use the money it invests on defense on development, health care and education of its masses.
We would like to thank our partners and supporters for trusting us and our efforts for this Peace Symposium and for joining hands with us in making a difference.  We thank United Nations Dallas Chapter (UNAUSA Dallas),  Pakistan Students Association UT Dallas, Indian Students Association UT Dallas, Embrey Human Rights Program Deadman College, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Never Forget Pakistan, Pakistan Society of North Texas (PSNT) Fun Asia Radio, Dallas, Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB), Dallas Peace and Justice Center, Pakistan Students Association UNT, Indian Students Association UNT and World Echoes  from the bottom of our hearts.

About the Author: Dr. Mona Kazim Shah is the Founder of #ProjectPakistan, Journalist and Human Rights Activist. Dr. Shah is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Global Studies and Human Rights & Social Justice from Southern Methodist University. She lives with her husband and twin daughters in Dallas.  She can be reached at monakazimshah@gmail.com

Monday, October 5, 2015

Qawwali Lessons (Washington DC) - the beautiful language of inclusion.

Qawwali in Washington | TheGhouseDiary.com 

Saturday, October 3, 2015 - Washington, D.C. – The Qawwali* program at Turkish Community Center Auditorium in Lanham, MD was out of the world. Here are some of the notes I have made, and hope it resonates with you.   

First thing first, I am pleased to share the emotional side of the equation. Being a pluralist and a human aspirations observer, whenever and wherever people include each other in their normal conversation it brings happiness to both the includer and the included.

When they sang, “Bhar do Jholi meri ya Muhammad… and came to the line, “O Muhammad ka pyara Nawasa”… every one rejoiced it, but particularly men and women from the Shia tradition, by going to the stage and honoring the Qawwal (singers) in the traditional way by doing money aarti (honor) and placing it on their harmonium, lap or even their head, a beautiful tradition of telling, we like you.

I was in a different world, the world of harmony and inclusion, my eyes soaked and I felt tender with joy. I was happy!  I was happy to see the Shia community feel included.

Of course most of the Qawwali lines have the name Ali included in it as a reverence to Hazrat Ali (RA), but when the lines include the “Nawasa” that is grandson of the Prophet, it has special significance to all, but particularly the Shia tradition.  Video at Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MikeGhouse/videos/10156190763450249/

You know what I wished? I am sure you are wishing the same; i.e., to have our language routinely include each other’s revered figures with utmost respect. Karbala or Kurukshetra, our language should be inclusive, it builds a society of harmony.

We may consider sprinkling some of the inclusive poetry amidst all other poetry recitation or singing. Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite Bhajan “Allah Tero Naam, Eshwar tero Naam” or many a Sahir Ludhianavi or Shakeel Badayuni numbers like “Yoshadha Ki Humjins, a hawwa Ki beti” need more circulation.  I have been asking every visiting poet to recite or write at least one inclusive poem in the evening.  God willing, I will continue to write a poem an event to reflect that inclusiveness.

When President of the United States says Happy Diwali, Eid or Baisakhi, we gloat and share it with everyone we know. If a congressman or a woman says Satsri Akaal, Jai Jinendra, Yali Madad, Namaste or Salaam, we gloat.  The idea is inclusion, to be treated respectfully and to be acknowledged. 

Reverse this to India and Pakistan, and see how deprived the minorities of each nation are. The Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan do not have the courtesy to greet their minorities on their happy occasion. May God give them guidance to believe at least in their own respective religions, both are inclusive and consider the world as one family.

Minorities (religious, ethnic, social, cultural, linguistic and other uniqueness) make sincere efforts, and at times go out of their way to be a part of the larger society, they want to be included and do everything to achieve it. The smart leaders acknowledge it, and let the public focus on being constructive rather than get stuck in denials.

I hope most of us Desi Americans have learned and enriched ourselves with the rich American Culture where all humanity is respected institutionally. 

We have a choice to be inclusive and let our “Zindagi Shama’ ki soorat ho khudaya meri” and “ her jaga mere chamak ney say ujala hojaye” rather than rot with exclusion.

The consistent rhythmic beat of the Tabla, and the special voices, the inflections in singing is entirely different and gets you become a part of it.

The second item of beauty of this program was the Qawwals themselves, the Qawwals and their humnawa were a great combination, the acoustic of the auditorium ne to chaar chand lagagiye unki gayeki mein.  They were Christians, and my friend sitting next to me was a Hindu enjoying the Qawwalis. He was singing along Bhardo Jholi meri ya Muhammad. This is a (or was it?) a common tradition in India. The Qawwals can be Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs and they can sing devotional songs of any religion. I hope more of this happens now.

In the short few minutes we had between the program and break I had wonderful conversations with Fazal Khan, Razi Raziuddin and Zafar Iqbal.  They have rich stories of uthna, baithna, khana peena with their Hindu friends. I request each one of you to  start writing those stories… let our youth understand the beauty of enjoying life and hope people in India, Pakistan and elsewhere can rework inclusion in their lives.  

I hope and pray, some day we all can see the message of Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad, Guru Nanak as our own message, when we do that each one of our faiths will reach the higher level of spirituality. Amen!

·      Qawwali is a special format of singing, usually in praise of revered figures for their good work.

Link to pictures of the event will be added here upon receipt. 

Please note: 

Are you concerned about Muslim bashing in America? Find out what the newly formed American Muslim Institution (AMI) is doing about it on Sunday, October 11, 2015 - details atwww.AmericanMuslimInstitution.org 

Thank you
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on  PluralismInterfaithpolitics, human rights, Islam, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com  

Will Modi speak up?

 Can we expect Prime Minister Modi to speak up? | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

All he has to say, and I earnestly hope, the Indian Americans would support this, as we enjoyed the freedom this nation offers. I hope we are American enough to expect PM Modi to say this.

" I will not tolerate any one undermining another Indian, to me all Indians are equal and everyone has a right to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever one wants, any one trampling other Indian's basic human rights will be punished and I see to it that it happens. I have a the responsibility and my faith Hinduism teaches me to respect every human and I will."

Do you agree with this?
As Indian Americans, we welcome this petition:

Progressive Hindus denounce murder of Mohammed Akhlaq

HAF has taken a bold step, and I am sure its not easy to do the right thing.

The world would be a better place if we develop the ability to stand up for others - a Hindu for a Muslim, a Muslim for a Jew, a Jew for a Zoroastrian...
 Take a look at this - Standing up for Hindus, it needs to be updated
Thank you,

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on  PluralismInterfaithpolitics, human rights, Islam, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com   

Friday, October 2, 2015

Lessons from Gandhi - Today is his birthday

LESSONS FROM GANDHI | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the 7 humans I look up to and admire whole heartedly, it does not mean there are only seven, but these magnificent seven are always on my mind, if not every other day, definitely once a week- Chronologically they are; Jesus Christ, Prophet Muhammad, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Pope Francis and Barack Obama. These men and women are true pluralists, no one falls out of the ambit of their love. They are a blessing to mankind. 

More about Gandhi at: http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/10/mahatma-gandhi-do-not-poison-your.html

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Is Hinduism a religion of violence?

Where are the Moderate Hindus | http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

Where are the moderate Hindus? If the moderate Hindus don’t speak up, shamefully Hinduism will be slapped with the label of religion of violence.  In the last year and half, India has witnessed relentless harassment of the Dalits, Muslims and Christians. This week a man is mercilessly beaten to death by a mob with bricks for supposedly eating beef, which he did not per the police. 

India had a glorious civilization and the extremist among Hindus cannot mess with it, unless we let them.  Our past was made up of respecting the otherness of others, but today, we are going in the opposite direction.

Was our civilization bad? 

Eating beef has been made a crime in India now. If unchecked, India will regress and the glorious past will be equated with stupidity for forcing and harassing people to obedience as the ISIS brutes do.   Our civilization was a great civilization and we cannot let a few misguided ones ruin India's pluralistic ethos. 

I like to see an India where one has the freedom to eat, drink, breath, wear or believe whatever the hell he or she wants.

I do expect Americans of Indian origin to speak up, hoping that they have learned the value of freedom in America, where we mind our own business and eat whatever we want to. 

Mike Ghouse

Thank you

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on PluralismInterfaith
Islampolitics, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com   

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jainism: where are the Moderate Jains?

Where are the moderate Jains? |  MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com 

One of the philosophies that I have embraced from Jainism is the idea of Anekanatavada. "Anekantavda  is one of the most important and fundamental doctrines of Jainism. It refers to the principles of pluralism and multiplicity of viewpoints, the notion that truth and reality is perceived differently from diverse points of view, and that no single point of view is the complete truth." Wikipedia.

I would change the phrase from complete truth to exclusive truth to make full sense of Pluralism, as it is complete truth to the believer of each faith tradition; the problem is with exclusive truth and not complete truth.

We define Pluralism as simply an attitude of respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us. If we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

I wrote a piece on Pariyushan, a Jain festival of fasting and reflection. As usual, I shared it on some 20 Yahoo groups, my three face book accounts and mail out to my list besides sharing on my blog and the blog of Pluralism.

The idea of sharing the essence of different "Festivals of the World" is part of the educational series I began writing in 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or, at least understand each other's' joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively.

A cohesive society is where no one has to feel apprehension for fearful of the other. In a civilized world every one minds his own business, no one has a right to 'tell' the other, what he or she can eat, drink, wear or believes.

I am getting a barrage of email attacks for writing about the beautiful practice of Jains, and I will still stand by it, the problem is not with Jains, it is with the radical among Jains.

Several editorials in Indian papers have been sent to me to shame me for writing about it.   One of the clips was from BBC news, "But the government said that the question of faith was at the heart of its decision. Jains are a minority group in India and officials say that the ban shows respect for the community. Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each of these souls is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion."

I know the story too well, when the radicals among Muslims pushed to impose their belief on others, the dumb assess blamed all Muslims, I had to fight for that and now I will do the same; i.e.,  stand by with the Moderate majority of Jains.

I have written to Hindus, Muslims and others not to hold bias against all others because of what a few radicals say and do.

The Radical Jains are pushing to ban the sale of beef in India. Now, they have pushed the government, and the short-sighted leaders in government have yielded to ban the sale of any kind of meat in India for a few days a year.

I personally know so many Jains, and one of them occasionally takes the stand with reason and rationality in discussions.  I hope he begins the movement and others take it upon.

The radicals among Jains are essentially telling to hell with "Anekantavada" to their own philosophy, just as the radicals among Hindus and Muslims do.  If the moderate Jains do not speak up and control these radicals, India would become another Afghanistan or Pakistan and no one will live in peace.

Forcing people to eat, drink, wear or believe against their will, will not go dormant, people will hold it for a while and then every one suffers.

It is time for Moderates across the spectrum of people of India, and particularly Jains in this instance to speak out and say. It is none of your business to tell anyone what they eat, drink, wear or believe. Mind your own business.
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Of the many responses, two are worth noting:

Let me be clear, the majority of Jains are moderates, however there are always a few who claim to follow the principles of Jainism, but I don't see it. this formula applies to people of all religion. I have posed the same question "Where are Moderate ______" Buddhist, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslim, Sikhs... "  We have to get the moderates to speak up with passion, if not the a wrong image of the religion will be painted. I know too well about it.

I can understand a few Jains in India to be intolerant, but did not expect that from an American Jain, who has lived in America, understood what freedom of religion means, and yet he writes, "Live and let live others, Indian governments should put a ban for 6 months on slaughter house."

Amazing, so you want to ban food for others because you believe it differently? What happens to Anekantvaad?

The other response makes a lot of sense and I appreciate the clarification.
Hello Mike,

Someone forwarded me your following email, which I thought is an interesting and deserve a response. Your belief of Jainism is NOT correct. I will try to briefly express my views about your following email.

First, I read your article on Paryushan, dated 9/10/2015 at http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2015/09/festivals-of-world-happy-paryushan-jain.html the article needs certain corrections, which are as follows.

1)  The Paryushan is celebrated by Jains all over the world.  Basically, there are 2 main sects in Jainism. Shwetamber (Derawasi, Sthankavasi and Terapanthi) and Digambers. Each one has sub-sects. Shwetambers observe Paryushan for 8 days and some of those fast for 8 days (NOT 7), which is called ‘Aathai Taap’. Digambers observe Das-laxan for 10 days which begins after 8 days of Paryushan. They may fast for 10 days, but customarily they don’t fast as predominantly as Shwetambers do. Both sects celebrate Paryushan on 9th and Das Laxan on the 11th day, by breaking fasting and asking for forgiveness (Michhami Dukkadam)

2)  It is true that Jainism is not an offshoot of Hinduism, Buddhism or any other religion, as Jainism has been practiced from infinite. ( In short, there is NO beginning date/period of Jainism). Most importantly, Jainism is NOT contemporary of Buddhism, though people mistakenly believe it is. There are several differences between Jainism and Buddhism, Principally, Buddhism’s belief of practicing Ahimsa, the core foundation of Jainism, is different than what we Jains believe. Lord Mahavir achieved Kevalgyan (being omniscient) and showed Jains true meaning of Ahimsa, whereas Lord Buddha was not omniscient and their followers did not practice Ahimsa, as Jains do (in theory). 

Now with regard to your following thoughts about “Jainism: where are the Moderate Jains?”…. my thoughts are as below.

Ahimsa is a core foundation of Jainism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism. By practicing this core principle of Ahimsa, Jains are following their religion values. In fact, saving lives is considered the best donation one can make. It’s called ‘Abhaydan’ in Jain scriptures. Lord Mahavir’s first word after achieving ‘Kevalgyan’ (was “Ma-Hano” (meaning don’t kill) and then he explained us about the 563 types of ‘Jiv’ (meaning lives). For Jains, “ALL LIVES MATTERS”. So by saving lives, we are not imposing or causing trouble to others in any way nor should the Jains be labeled as ‘Radical Jains’.

In consistent with Jain’s core principle ‘Ahimsa’, we Jains had requested Indian Government to allow us to practice our religion values during Paryushan, which was readily accepted by the government. There was NO force or illegal tactics been applied in convincing Indian Government about letting Jains practice its core values during its most auspicious festivals. India is a secular country and it respects all religious values and traditions.
Jai Jinendra and Jai Hind.
Gautam Daftary

# # # 
Mike Ghouse, Consultant
(214) 325-1916 text/talk

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on  Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, foreign policy and building cohesive societies. Mike offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at TheGhousediary.com   

Happy Paryushan - a Jain Festival. Michami Dukkadam friends

Paryushan - Festivals of the World | TheGhouseDiary.com

"Festivals of the World" is an educational series by Mike Ghouse since 1993. When we live in the same communities as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to participate in festivities as well as commemorations of each other, or, at least understand each other's' joys and sorrows. Please note the simplicity in writing is designed for people of other faiths to learn and to know, so we can function cohesively. 

Paryushan - a Jain festival of forgiveness

For the Jains, followers of Jainism, a world religion, this is the month of reflection.  Some observe fasting for 9 days and some for 7 days. It is a time to review the past twelve months and acknowledge the good, bad and the ugly aspects of life, and begin it again with a clean the slate.

At the end of the 9 days, they celebrate on the 10th day and call is Dus Laxan,  every Jain greets the other with “Jai Jinendra” followed by a  powerful phrase “Michami Dukadam,” - let you and I clean our slates and start the new year afresh - Happy Paryushan

Note to my Jewish friends; the swastika symbol symbolizes four directions and four seasons of life, life is constant movement.  This symbol has been in use for over 2500 years by Jains, whereas Hitler stole it and used it denote his evil empire.

Pariyushan is an annual festival that Jains celebrate all around the Globe, it is either seven or nine days celebration depending on the sect; Swetambra or Digambra, they observe fasting for seven days or 9 days and conclude it on Dus laxan, 10 blessings on the tenth day.  Throughout the time they observe complete fasting and abstain from ill-will, ill-thoughts and ill-actions, just as Muslims do for a month in Ramadan and Hindus do during Navaratri. It is a beautiful way of refreshing our souls on an annual basis.

There is a beauty and joy in forgiving and be forgiven. It brings Moksha, Mukti, Nirvana, Nijaat, salvation and true freedom to every soul. Indeed, the idea of forgiveness is central to every religion; that was Jesus's focus, the dearest person to God is one who forgives, says Mohammad the prophet and Sri Krishna reiterates that throughout in Bhagvad Gita. If all the psychologists in the world were asked, what will bring the most freedom to the mankind, they may be tempted to say "Michami Dukadam".

The Jains have been practicing this tradition for thousands of years and I join them in the Jain tradition of humility and forgiveness I say Michami Dukadam. I am pleased to share the perfect message from Dr. Vastupal Parikh.

In the Jain tradition of humility and forgiveness; SAVVE JIVA KHAMANTU MEMETTI ME SAVVE BHUYESU,VERAM MAJAHAM NA KENAI"

"I forgive (without any reservation) all living beings (who may have caused me any pain and suffering either in this or previous lives), and I beg for the forgiveness from all living beings (no matter how small or big) to whom I may have, knowingly or unknowingly, caused pain and suffering (in thoughts, speech or action, in this or previous lives, or if I have asked, or encouraged someone else, to carry out such activities). (Let all creatures know that) I have friendship with everybody and have no revenge (animosity or enmity) toward anybody."

Michami Dukadam: Indeed, that phrase resonates with me. I had talked about the meaning of Michami Dukadam in several congregations.

In July 2013 when I had a heart attack, after recover I wrote this.

Here is an article about Ramadan - which has a similar essence.http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2009/08/ramadans_spiritual_discipline.html

***** Jainism is a full fledged religion like Hinduism and Buddhism and none is an offshoot of the other as it is often mis-understood. Jainism is contemporary of Buddhism. Both the faiths are life centered where one's deeds (Karma) determine his or her spiritual, physical and mental well being. Although Mahavir is referred to as God in common parlance, in the system, he is the 24th Tirthankara (the enlightened one - an equivalent of a messenger or a prophet in the Abrahimic traditions) who wrapped up the entire philosophy of the 23 earlier Tirthankaras.   In Dallas, oops, it is in Fort Worth, we had an exhibition of the artifacts from that period at Kimball Art Museum several years ago, it was a fascinating experience.

Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence approach emanates from Jainism and the idea of validity of multiple paths of the foundation for pluralism ( www.foundationforPluralism.com) has its origin in the idea of Anekant Vaad from Jainism. We have a Jain Temple in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas, and if you want to enjoy the best vegetarian food, go to the temple on Sunday Mornings! I will have to figure out one in Washington D.C.,

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com