Friday, May 25, 2018

Reflections from the Jain Workshop – Washington Metropolitan Area, April 27-29, 2018

Reflections from the Jain Workshop – Washington Metropolitan Area
Priyal Gandhi (
Pratiksha Shah (
Megha Doshi (
May 25, 2018

Jain Workshop was jointly organized from April 27-29, 2018 by the JAINA Education Committee, Jain Washington Society of Metropolitan Washington (JSMW) and Jain Society of Northern Virginia (JSNoVA) at the Jain Temple of JSMW in Maryland. The workshop was attended by 48 people, mostly from the DC metro area, but there were also some attendees from Nairobi, Kenya, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The workshop was very well received, and it was an enlightening experience.

The moderator for the workshop was Pravin Shah from Raleigh, NC. He not only knows a great deal about Jainism, but also has a deep understanding about the world in which we and our children live here in the United States, and is able to show how Jainism has a place in daily life. He has researched Jain literature and scriptures for more than 35+ years to get to the root of the questions and answers many people have about Jainism. There is a reason he does this – he refuses to accept an answer just because “that’s the way it is.” 

Pravin Uncle is someone who is willing to answer any question, no matter how controversial the question is. This is an extremely difficult task when it comes to religion and challenging a belief system that people have held on to for many years - it requires courage, dedication, calmness, open-mindedness, and commitment, and Pravin Uncle has all of those qualities. 

He used an interactive model to teach and answer each and every question. He provided the logic and principles he used to arrive to his particular perspectives. He truly embodied Mahavir’s teaching and told us not to accept anything that he said blindly, but to always test with our own experiences, reasoning, and logic.

We all went into the workshop with a basic understanding about Jainism and walked away not only with a deeper understanding about fundamentals of Jainism, Philosophy of Karma in Jainism, World Religions but also seeing its realistic application in our daily lives. 

One of Pravin Uncle’s core messages was that Jainism is an internal religion, and not about counting the number of activities or rituals one does. Any activities that help us remove our Kashayas (vices) and Mithyatva (wrong belief/ignorance) is true religion.

Here are some quotes from the people who attended the workshop:
"Life throws opportunities at you, and this was certainly one of them"
"Completely satisfied with the workshop. Future workshop should be arranged for youth. More emphasis on day to day related activities and Jainism topic can be used for future"
"A lot of unlearning"

Throughout the workshop, we served only vegan food and used biodegradable paper products. The feedback that we got from the attendees was that eating delicious vegan food for 3 days straight made them feel healthier and energetic.

Jain centers that have not benefited from his presence should make arrangements to have him come and share his knowledge. This workshop is for anyone who is ever going to talk about Jainism - whether it is a parent talking about Jainism to their children, a teacher talking about Jainism to their students, a committee member representing Jainism at any level, or for any of us talking to our friends or co-workers who do not know about Jainism. Don’t miss this chance to approach Jainism through a new lens, and to spend dedicated time evaluating the spiritual progress of your soul.

To view more photos of the workshop, please click the following link:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any of us.

Priyal Gandhi (,
Pratiksha Shah ( and
Megha Doshi (

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