Jain Sangh Hosts First Ever Jain Retreat


By Dr. Sulekh C. Jain

LAS VEGAS: Many prominent leaders of the Jain community across the US and Canada met in Las Vegas from October 14-19 for a first time ever retreat organized by the Jain Sangh of Las Vegas. The purpose of this retreat was to mix, mingle establish relationship with local fellow Jains and non-Jains, relax, have fun, share and learn from each other.

The participants came from Boston, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Iowa City, Denver, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; and Norway. Most of them are renowned for their visionary leadership, dedication and philanthropy. They included the Past President of the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA); founders of Jain Centers in Boston, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Houston, Toledo (Ohio), Chicago and Albany (New York); donors to establish Chairs for Jain Studies at the University of California Irvine and other universities; singers, retired professors, researchers, artists and authors.

The program included a Meet and Greet; singing of bhajans; lectures on the scientific basis of Jain Karma theory; the status and progress of Jain academic education in North America and a visit to local attractions such as the Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon and a cruise on Lake Mead. During the retreat, several Jain families from Las Vegas hosted the guests to lavish dinner receptions at their homes and at the Hindu Jain temple.

Shalin Shah, a young and dedicated Animal Rights activist especially flew in from Denver to talk about his Jeev Daya initiative to establish an animal sanctuary for sick and injured animals on a 40-acre parcel of land near Denver. Mauyri Bhandari, a graduate student in Jain and Hindu yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University shared her experiences from the International School of Jain Studies (www.isjs.in) in India and performed a beautiful dance to the delight of all. All the meals served were pure Jain vegetarian or Jain vegan.

The delegates shared their wisdom, contributions and vision for promoting Jainism in their respective cities and nationally in USA and Canada. The retreat resulted in several key action items to take the objectives of this group to the next level. The Jain Sangh of Las Vegas and the delegates learnt a lot from the experiences, work and vision to promote Jain principles, practices and the Jain Way of Life among younger generations of Jains and to develop a plan to reach out to them and others.