1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Enlightening, calming and inspirational, 5 Oct. 2011
This beautiful and interesting book introduces the ancient Indic faith and philosophy of Jainism to western readers. This is a welcome edition to the study and practice of spirituality in the west. The author shows that Jainism is a philosophy that engages eloquently with the problems facing western men and women (and a growing number of Indians) today. It reminds us that increasing wealth and knowledge bring with them responsibilities, especially to fellow humans and the rest of the natural world. Jain teachings emphasise the need for a balanced, non-exploitative relationship with our environment and a reduction of the materialistic cravings that lead to conflicts - external and inner. By following the path of non-violence, we begin to know ourselves and understand reality.
Aidan Rankin's timely book also shows how the doctrine of 'Many-Sidedness' - unique to Jainism - provides a framework for living in a pluralist society. He calls this principle 'Non-Violence of the Mind' and argues that it has the potential to free us (individually and collectively) from dogma and fanaticism. The author mentions that Jain thought profoundly influenced Mahatma Gandhi, whose message of non-violence and co-operation is as relevant to the western world today as it was (and still is) to the Indian subcontinent.