When I entered this course, I had very little idea about Jainism. I only knew that most Jains were devout vegetarians, and some wore white clothes. The three important things I learned from this course are the codes of living which the Jains follow devotedly such as ahimsa, satya – asteya and aparigraha. I especially found the concept of satya and asteya very captivating. It is interesting to think of leading single day of complete truthfulness as a vow. Whereas, I do follow asteya by not stealing, truthfulness is much harder to practice, and while I do try to follow ahimsa, something for which I have respect but am unable to follow due to my dietary lifestyle.
Similarly, while I have great admiration for monks who lead their lives by non acquisition, it is something which I would not be able to actively practice. One can only imagine that if America in general implemented this idea of satya-asteya, we would have likely seen a very different society with very little crime, with a quality of life that would be supreme. I go one step further and imagine if our corporate world and Wall Street had adopted the satya-asteya vow, we would have not even seen the frauds that have occurred in recent years, because as soon as satya-asteya is implemented, greed immediately goes out of the back door.
After reading about Jainism, I now understand that quality of life could be greatly improved by adhering to principles of truthfulness, non-stealing and non-possession. I can now profess that my earlier ignorance about Jainism is dispelled. From Jainism, I am greatly influenced by the satya-asteya thought, and I will certainly try to implement it in my life as much as I can.
At the start of this course, I knew nothing about the religion at all. I only saw most Sikhs wearing turbans, but did not know anything about the religion. The things I learnt from this course about Sikhism are their concept of three duties, abstaining from the five vices and their unique concept of God (One Supreme Reality).
Out of these, I especially found the concept of abstaining from the five vices very profound. I have made a vow to myself to try and see if for a whole month I can abstain completely from these five vices. While a difficult task, I felt it would be worth a try. I wondered how different life would be if all of us in our community or even in our country chose to avoid these five vices since childhood (although that would be highly unlikely). The likely consequence of such initation would be a much more harmonious society meant for all.
This reading on Sikhism has made me a more informed person on the religion, and now I have more respect for this religion, and would like to know more. I have in fact also decided to visit a gurudwara nearby to see and learn for myself, so that my learnings in this course can be extended to the real life. In my own life, I intend to not only abstain from the five vices, albeit for as long as I can, but also try to implement the concept of three duties (especially charitable behavior) within my own existence and beliefs.
British Broadcasting Corporation. Featured Religions and Beliefs. BBC, n.d. Web. 22 June 2014
Fisher, Mary P. Living Religions. Pearson, 2013. Print
Glasenapp, Helmuth. Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation, Motilal Banarsidass, 1999. Print
Singh, Patwant. The Sikhs, Random House India, 1999 Print