Monday, August 17, 2009

Jainism - Paryushan

Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation.

Paryushan is the most important Jain religious observance of the year. For both Shvetambars, who observe the festival over a period of 8 days, and Digambars, for whom Paryushan Parva lasts 10 days, this is a time of intensive study, reflection, and purification. The festival through which an attempt is made to put an end to all vices, passions and lustful desires in thought, speech and deeds. During these days, the main message and focus is the idea of forgiveness and internal purification. Each day is focused on removing impurities such as our passions or kashays (anger, pride, deceit and greed).

It is the time of year where we reflect on our actions from the previous year, and meditate on new goals and resolutions for the following year to help us continue positively in our spiritual path. We use these eight to ten days to purify our soul, forgive our enemies, and ask for forgiveness from them as well.

Jains try to observe ten cardinal virtues during this time period: forgiveness, charity, simplicity, contentment, truthfulness, self-restraint, fasting, detachment, humility, and continence.

One custom to be followed after the last day of Paryushan (Samvatsari) is that of saying "Michhami Dukkadam". On Samvatsari day the ritual of "Pratikraman" is performed. Under Samvatsari Pratikraman there comes the retrospection of all bad deeds and mistakes committed in the past year. We are critical of the bad deeds and resolve not to let them happen in the future. We also request forgiveness from all the living beings in the world if we might have knowingly or unknowingly caused harm to them. Thus, after the Pratikraman it is customary to request forgiveness from everyone we know and meet by saying "Michhami Dukkadam".

If you are interested do read more on Paryusan click below:

"Micchami Dukadam"!

... and these websites for Jainism
Young Jains of America
Jain Center of Northern California
The Jain Study Circle
Religion & Ethics - Jainism

Click here to see a listing of Jain Centers and Temples across North America

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