Family and Community

Families practice their faith through collective worship and collective participation in special ceremonies and festivities. Just as family is seen as a natural extension of the individual, community is seen as a natural extension of family. During special festival days, there is communal worship. All this serves to bind the family and community together and forge unity and commonality. A large number of volunteers are needed for organizing and promoting communal worship and for coordinating these gatherings and celebrations. This also provides an opportunity for selfless service called seva which is central to the faith. None of these events are exclusive for the Jains, and outsiders are welcomed with open arms.

Thus the faith promotes community cohesion internally and externally and helps sustain values such as mutuality, sharing, caring and humility which are very relevant to modern society. All worshippers are treated equally and no-one has a special status or merit in the act of prayer or worship and this promotes equality.

The very basis of the Jain faith is pluralism and a respect for alternative viewpoints – anekant. This is manifested in practice – Jains are very active in inter-faith dialogue and are also seen as excellent assimilators wherever they migrate.

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