Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jains visit Vatican for talks

Jains are followers of Mahavira, a contemporary of the Buddha, who also follow a shramanic (wandering ascetic) path. Like the Buddha, Mahavira opposed the established brahmin temple priest tradition dominant in their day.

The Vatican and the highest international institution of Jainism met for the second time Tuesday in Rome to discuss common ground, focusing particularly on the Jain principle of non-violence (ahimsa, absolute respect for the life of all living beings, including animal, insects, and plants).

The meeting between a delegation of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), led by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and 14 Jain delegates led by the deputy chairman of the London-based Institute of Jainology, Nemu Chandaria, took place at the Vatican.

According to a press release from the Pontifical Council, delegates looked for concrete areas of convergence as a basis of collaboration between the two religions. They focused on the principle of non-violence, comparing it to the Christian notion of "charity," finding common ground for further collaboration while highlighting differences between the two principles. More

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