Film Festival: Rebooting Jainism 25.0*

Must watch films for Jains in the 21st century.

More than 2500 years old, Jainism is still one of the most powerful philosophical-spiritual worldviews in the world. It is an in-depth inquiry into the roots of violence as it opens up deep questions such as anekantvad, asteya, aparigraha. These conceptual frameworks challenge mainstream understandings around monoculture, ownership, power, wealth, etc. They are critical to opening up our imaginations and re-imagining our global exploitative and dysfunctional systems.

What makes Jainism particularly appealing is that it is not just an abstract set of principles. Rather, it is committed to showing up and being practiced in our everyday lives.

But Jainism is stuck. It is stuck on narrowly focusing on certain rituals. It is stuck on a vegetarianism arrogant high-horse. It is stuck on the treadmill of its own success in the money game. It is stuck in politics and hypocrises of its own community. The result is that Jainism has been conspicuously absent from many of the world’s most important intellectual debates and movements over the last 100 years (the last significant thinkers interpreting, contextualising and articulating Jain principles in the modern world were probably Gandhi ji and Osho).

It requires a re-boot.

Each of the previous 24 tirthankars came to help clarify and elaborate different elements Jainism at different moments of history. We are inspired by them.

This film festival has been assembled with the intention to help Jains, young and old, reconnect with the depth and wisdom of Jainism and re-make it for the times we live in. You will notice that most of the films are from the West. This is significant as people in these countries are waking up and have started to come to some critical understanding of the American Dream and the global systems that support it. We can learn a lot about the global system from their mistakes.

It is urgent that we shift Jainism from being only about individual behaviour choices within a larger corrupt and violent system to actually re-defining and building new systems — Mahavir’s economics, Mahavir’s politics, Mahavir’s education, etc. The Jain community, though small in numbers, has the philosophical, intellectual, political and financial resources to do this.

We invite you to share your reflections on how you see each of these films being relevant to deepening our understanding of and connection to Jainism.

  • Manish Jain, Junglee Jains Group

Please share additional films which you feel should be in this festival with us @ <manish@swaraj.org>. Thank you.

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