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The Image of the Jina

with Curator Phyllis Granoff

Saturday, September 26, 2009
5:00 PM–7:00 PM

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion, roughly contemporary with Buddhism. Jains revere a line of twenty-four teachers, the Jinas, who taught Jainism and founded the Jain religious community in the present time cycle. The Jinas were depicted in medieval sculpture and painting, and pious Jains throughout history have celebrated the greatness of the Jinas in devotional poetry and song.
This illustrated talk explores through translations some of the most inspiring reflections of medieval Jain monks on the Jina image and its meaning. Jains lived in multi-religious society, and in describing the image of the Jina, medieval Jains reflected both on the uniqueness of the Jinas and their teachings and the need for tolerance and respect for all faiths.
Dr. Granoff teaches at Yale University as the Lex Hixon Professor of World Religions.
“Although akin to Buddhist and Hindu forms, Jain art is unique,” says Dr. Granoff. “The images of the Jinas are meant to convey their invincible strength and infinite knowledge. These powerful images are the visual counterparts of one poet’s metaphor that the Jina could no more be moved by the passions than the cosmic Mount Meru could be shaken by a breeze.”