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the Blog 10 by Michèle Béguin
The Jain nuns are pulling their hair...


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The Jain nuns are pulling their hair...

In India, the Jains are a peculiar community. Little known from the rest of the world, the Jains, representing less than 1% of the Indian population mostly live in the West of India and could be nicknamed "the extremists of non violence". The existence of the Jains is already mentioned in the Veda proving therefore their seniority and would have taken from Hinduism the principle of no violence or rather the "no harm" principle to make it the central subject of their belief. The Jain ethic is severe. The origin of this community is humane. It is not founded on a mythic supernatural person, dispatching a divine revelation, but from the teachings of beings which efforts have led them to detachment and the supreme knowledge and have become "Jina" or "Winner". The Jainism is the teaching of those perfect souls. Having adopted the principle of "ahimsa" -"no harm"- they have transposed and codified it into an unique way, strict, precise and minute as the base of their doctrine governing the life of the devotees. The Jain preoccupied by the release of his soul rejects the attachment to the materiel world and to passions like anger, fear, pride, lust, sexual pleasure, ignorance and the false belief. The Jain philosophy teaches that Karma cannot save the soul and only no creation of karma is capable to do so. It is so than some Jain master applying this extreme direction are choosing to let themselves die of inanition, suppressing all karma to get to the supreme aim. The Jain is concerned by the elements animated by the breath of life. This ethic imposes lots of forbidden gestures in the current life. from the current food and in all acts of life. ... This ethic obliges many prohibited items in all ways of life, from food to job and daily life, forbidding all acts linked with violence whatever it may be, as tiny it may be.. The finance professions, business, bureaucratie and jewelry are among the chosen ones, compatible with their doctrine. Their preoccupation for liberation from rebirth makes them observe some strict rituals of purification by frequent pilgrimages in holy places often far from cities and difficult to reach. To honor their saints and preachers, the laypersons have financed among the most opulent religious sites, in apparent total opposition with the renouncement from the materialistic world preached by their philosophy, but which beauty reflects the devotees' worship. The Jain community is made of laypersons and nuns and monks. Those religious people living in a constant move, non attachment par excellence leading to beatitude, are detached from all sources delaying the soul into the rebirth cycle. Monks and nuns, guardians and role models of the philosophy of the extreme, teach that the karma cannot save the soul, only the non creation of karma can... The life of ascetic is difficult, as soon as the decision has been taken to join whatever religious order. Shaven head nuns with for only belonging, a white thin cotton sari and a thin woolen shawl, bare foot or with cloth shoes, a rolled up cross stitch tapestry with the effigy of their favorite prophet as a handle of a cotton thread fly whisk, few wooden bowls for offerings and food, they lead a wandering life running away from attachment, emotions and sentiments. Ghostly beings, striding along India's roads from convent to convent, praying while walking, they wash their sins away with long fasts. Twice a year, those nuns re-act the gesture of the day of their wows and have their hair pulled, dismissing again the illusion of the world.



signature michele beguin

A Propos de Michèle Béguin

CNIL:1050096 2004 © Michèle Béguin