JAINA, an acronym for the Federation of Jain Association in North America, was established in 1981 due to the efforts of visionary leaders like Gurudev Chitrabhanuji and Sushil Muniji. Gurudev Chitrabhanu, who arrived in the USA in 1970 with the aim of spreading Bhagwan Mahavir's message of non-violence (Ahimsa), resonated with Westerners, attracting them to the philosophy of universal friendship and reverence for all life. In those days adhering to a seemingly straightforward principle like vegetarianism in America presented its challenges. For Jains this was compounded by the absence of centers, temples, or communal spaces. Jains struggled to assemble and form a community. The founders’ vision was to create JAINA as a platform that stands as a solitary federation uniting Jains across various sects and sub sects, with focus only on Bhagwan Mahavir’s teachings.
All living beings strive to be happy. But human relationships can be complex. We face distress situations which can consume us mentally and physically, especially if the incident involves being hurt by someone we love or trust.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn the Jain philosophy from a young age. If Jainism has to be summed up in one word, it would be Ahimsa.