Vatican calls on Jains to work together for peace and non-violence, starting with families

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue yesterday, March 29 released a message for the Jain festival of Mahavir Jayanti titled Christians and Jains: Together to foster practice of nonviolence in families, signed by Pontifical Council President Card Jean-Louis Tauran and Secretary Mgr Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot.

Apr 07, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue yesterday, March 29 released a message for the Jain festival of Mahavir Jayanti titled Christians and Jains: Together to foster practice of nonviolence in families, signed by Pontifical Council President Card Jean-Louis Tauran and Secretary Mgr Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot.

The Council sent “its warmest felicitations” to the Jains as they celebrate the 2,615th anniversary of the birth of their Tirthankara (spiritual leader) on 9 April. “May this festive event bring happiness and peace in your hearts, families and communities,’ said the message.

This religion is based on the principle of non-violence. The Mahavir Jayanti festival is its most important religious festival. Celebrations will take place across India and include processions, hymns, prayers and sharing meals.

The day commemorates the birth of Mah?v?ra, also known as Vardham?na, the 24th Tirthankara, philosopher and Indian ascetic who lived in the 6th century BC, and gave the faith its present form.

Unlike Brahmanic Hinduism, Jainism is egalitarian in terms of caste. Its highest aim is to attain liberation from the cycle of existence through a series of austere practices. According to India’s last census, Jains represent 0.4 per cent or about 4.5 million out of a population of 1.2 billion.

“Violence, with its many and varied forms, has become a major concern in most parts of the world,” reads the Council’s statement. “So, we wish to share with you on this occasion a reflection on how we, both Christians and Jains, can foster non-violence in families to nurture peace in society.”

“[V]iolence stems from unhealthy upbringings and dangerous indoctrinations. Today, in the face of growing violence in society, it is necessary that families become effective schools of civilization and make every effort to nurture the value of non-violence.”

“Non-violence is the concrete application in one’s life of the golden rule: ‘Do to others as you would like others do unto you’. It entails that we respect and treat the other, including the ‘different other’, as a person endowed with inherent human dignity and inalienable rights.”

“Unfortunately, refusal by some to accept the ‘other’ in general and the ‘different other’ in particular, mostly due to fear, ignorance, mistrust or sense of superiority, has generated an atmosphere of widespread intolerance and violence. This situation can be overcome “by countering it with more love, with more goodness” (Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus, 18 February, 2008).”

“Family is a prime place where a counter culture of peace and nonviolence can find a fertile soil. It is here the children, led by the example of parents and elders, according to Pope Francis (in Amoris Laetitia), “learn to communicate and to show concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness”.

In concluding, the Pontifical Council stresses that “As believers rooted in our own religious convictions and as persons with shared values and with the sense of co-responsibility for the human family, may we, joining other believers and people of good will, do all that we can, individually and collectively, to shape families into ‘nurseries’ of non-violence to build a humanity that cares for our common home and all its inhabitants!”--Asia News

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