On Sunday, August 9, 2015 there will be a 10K walk/run at Marymoor Park in Redmond. The event is designed to raise awareness for Jainism and present our message of compassion, caring and non-violence. 5K is equivalent to 3.1 miles, or the circumference of Green Lake. I, myself, won’t be running for one inch – it’ll all be walked. I’m really looking forward to it and hope newspapers or TV attends to give us some publicity.
I suppose there are many keys. In Jainism it is called non-possession or aparigraha. You are free when you own nothing, have no attachments to anything, and don’t lament if something of yours is destroyed, lost or stolen. Aparigraha also extends to helping others in need, giving them the shirt off your back, so to speak. What does this mean? It means my roommate uses my computer more than I do, but that’s okay. It’s the 5th virtue of aparigraha in action. I’m not going to give away my car, dvd player or clothes any time soon, but it is comforting to know that owning nothing is actually an ideal, not a curse
Sunday, April 12, Mahavir Jayanti was celebrated at the Hindu Temple & Cultural Center in Brothell. Mahavir’s birthday was April 12 but we Jains celebrated it on the 12th. I’d say about 100-120 people were there, mostly mothers & fathers with their young kids. Older people were also there with just a handful of young people for good measure. All of the songs and most of the services were in Gujarati so I didn’t understand a word. At least Jain Bingo was in English. Jain Bingo was a fun way to learn about Jainism. The moderator asked questions and the answer would be a Jain term such as Trishala Mata (Mahavir’s mother) or her 16th dream (swapna) which is throne. I didn’t know all the words but at least I understood the concepts. I did win the game but I didn’t get to carry any of the swapnas on the stage because someone else also had my score and their name was drawn randomly out of a hat to carry the swapna. Yes, I’m very disappointed. I really wish I had a chance to join the procession because I do take Jainism seriously. Oh well, maybe next year.
This morning I got to thinking about senses and animal hierarchy, specifically, Jain interpretation. The simplest life forms have one sense. The highest life form, mankind, has six. In addition to the normal five there’s also the highly developed sense of creativity. Some animals can build nests, others dams, but our imagination is limitless. And, as the highest life form, we should be concerned with the welfare of all other life forms, hence the extreme Jain diet.
Anyway, i was going to swear off cussing today because I wanted to focus more on ahimsa, the vow of non-violence in thoughts, deeds and actions. Yes, that extends to profanity which are essentially words of damnation, but I’m also a writer and people do use profanities which I’m compelled to write for literary accuracy. I am really working hard on not being quick to cuss people, though. Some people can push your buttons and drag the worst out of you. Instead of reading them the riot act I should counter with something like, “Your ideas are so noted and will be considered.” If that stops the enmity then I did good. i hate arguing anyway.
The next Jain activity will be a 5K walk/run at Marymoor Park in June. It’s a chance to spread the word of Jainism. It is unfortunate that most of the Jains around here speak only Gujarati. In fact, the only westerner at the celebration was probably me. I must have stuck out like a sore thumb compared to the sea of Indians all around me. I’ve been to HTCC a few times so I am getting used to the place, plus, I think some of the Jains recognize me anyway and should be comfortable around me by now. If not, I’m not worried about it. Acceptance of different thoughts and cultures are one of the hallmarks of Jainism so I’m not worried.
I feel fine, not hungry or week. It is interesting to look at restaurant commercials on TV and realize there’s nothing there for you to eat. About 2 weeks ago I finally adopted a strict Jain diet. So, in addition to eschewing meat and fish I also avoid milk, cheese, eggs, root vegetables, mushrooms, etc. That pretty much almost makes me a fruitarian. That means no more fish and chips, no more French fries, no more mac & cheese, no brie, no yogurt, no quiche, no fried rice if it contains egg, onions or carrots, no pizza. At least there’s still spaghetti and tomato sauce. Interestingly, some Jains also give up red foodstuffs like tomatoes and watermelons. All this strictness makes food shopping an interesting experience. When I go to a supermarket, which I hate anyway because they’re loud and crowded, I skip aisle after aisle of stuff I don’t eat. Pretty cool. That kind of limits me to the fruit and granola bars sections. So far I think I’m handling it well. It’ll probably make me go down to my high school weight in a few months, I hope.