The Jaina Convention 2023, a highly anticipated event in the Jain community, commenced with great fervor and enthusiasm at the RP Convention Center in Florida. The four-day convention, held from June 30 to July 3, witnessed the holy presence of esteemed spiritual leaders including HH Jain Acharya Dr. Lokeshji, Sadhvi Shilapiji – Sanghamitraji, Samani Kamal Pragyaji – Jin Pragyaji. This significant gathering, organized by the Jain Federation of North America once every two years, attracted over 5000 participants from all walks of life.
The Jaina Convention serves as a platform to foster humanity, brotherhood, and shed light on the scientific insights concealed within Jain texts. This year, the convention centered around the theme of ‘Jainism and Science,’ delving into the profound principles, values, and traditions of Jainism, while exploring their scientific foundations.
During his enlightening address on “Maximizing Human Potential: The Jain Way,” the revered Jain Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni emphasized the scientific essence of Jainism. He eloquently portrayed Bhagwan Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, as not only a spiritual leader but also a scientist and psychologist. Dr. Lokesh Muni highlighted that, akin to scientists conducting experiments in laboratories, Bhagwan Mahavir treated his own body as a laboratory. Through extensive knowledge, meditation, and renunciation, he unearthed profound truths over 2600 years ago, such as the impact of spoken words on the environment and the presence of life in vegetation.
Drawing attention to Jainism’s foresight in understanding environmental challenges, Dr. Lokesh Muni asserted that Jainism holds potential solutions to numerous contemporary issues. He underscored the critical role Jain principles play in achieving a high quality of life. While acknowledging that birth is a natural phenomenon, he emphasized that how one lives is a matter of personal discretion and effort. Dr. Lokesh Muni emphasized that leading a purposeful life, driven by positive thinking, leaves a lasting impact on society and ensures one’s remembrance for centuries to come. He highlighted the Jain lifestyle as a key to attaining a healthy, happy, and fulfilling existence.
The JAINA Convention witnessed the active participation of spiritual leaders, scientists, and eminent personalities, who shared their insightful perspectives on Jainism’s timeless wisdom and its harmonious coexistence with scientific advancements. The convention featured a diverse range of programs tailored to cater to people of all classes and ages, providing an enriching experience for attendees.
Convention Convener and First Vice President of JAINA, Bindesh Shah of Tampa, Florida, proudly announced the start of convention planning with hundreds of volunteers from across the nation eager to offer their services. The Convention Board and its several committees have been hard at work to ensure that this first in-person convention after COVID-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Enlightening discourses, discussion tracks and activities planned at this Convention will offer attendees a deeper understanding of Jain principles and values while also helping our communities with a roadmap to bounce back. Youth participation, through JAINA’s affiliate organizations, Young Jains of America (YJA), Young Jain Professionals (YJP), as well as Jain Connect will be strongly promoted and encouraged. There will be focused programs for all age groups: children (ages 5-12), youth (ages 13-20), Jain Networking Forum (ages 21-29), and adults.
Other featured events include the popular Jain Academic Bowl (JAB), a jeopardy-style vocabulary game in which young Jains compete with other international teams, Jains Got Talent (JGT), Cultural Nrutya Natika (Musical Drama), Cooking Show, Odissi style Bhaktamar Spiritual performance, Tirth Bhav Yatra, and evening entertainment programs including Raas-Garba, and Bollywood Musical Night.
Public Relations and Media Committee Chair Vipul Shah of Chicago proudly confirmed that spiritual dignitaries such as Acharya Lokesh Muni, Sadhvi Shilapiji, Shaileshi Didi, Pt Champakbhai Mehta and many others will enlighten with their wisdom during the Convention. While Sri Guru Ratna Prabhu, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will give the keynote addresses, other featured inspirational speakers include Dr. Bipin Doshi, SP Bharill, Dr. Pradip Jamnadas, Rahul Kapoor Jain, Pt Mahesh Jain, and Sharmila Oswal.
The daily sessions and discussions were well-complemented by refreshing cultural programs in the evening including Jain Drama, Jains Got Talent (JGT), and entertaining performances from Jain Centers across North America.
The Jain Federation of North America, comprising 70 centers and engaging more than 150,000 individuals, stands as a pillar of support for the JAINA Convention.
As the Jaina Convention 2023 draws to a close, participants and attendees depart with a renewed sense of spirituality, scientific enlightenment, and a shared commitment to promoting humanity and brotherhood. The convention serves as a testament to the timeless wisdom of Jainism, offering valuable insights for navigating the complexities of modern life while upholding ancient traditions.