Jain Award winner announcement

UCI Religious Studies is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023-24 Shri Parshvanath Presidental Chair in Jain Studies Essay Award. 

Each of the two winners will receive a $500 award for their creative analysis of karma in the Jain view in conversation with another account.



Juni Kim '24, Major: Literary Journalism, Minor: Philosophy
"Karmic Conversation between a Wrongly Accused Buddhist and Jain Layperson in a Jail Cell" 

Juni begins her essay between Ben and Justin, a lay Jain and lay Buddhist practitioner who have both been accused of stealing money from the plant nursery where they work. They both know that another co-worker Sam, who is having financial difficulties, took the money and are discussing how each of them will approach their predicament. 

Juni uses her characters to consider the Jain minor vows and the Buddhist Eightfold path as they help weigh the karmic costs of keeping silent about the co-worker against the harms that might befall the co-worker if found out. 

While the Jain view emphasizes the material karmic consequences deriving from the physical action of stealing, the Buddhist view more closely examines the role of desire. The two characters agree that a karmic analysis is rarely black and white, but invites a metaphysical consideration of the Jain doctrine of "many-sided view" (anekānta-vāda) alongside the Buddhist doctrine of dependent co-arising (pratītya-samutpāda) which challenges any simplistic mode of knowing complex reality.  


Faatimah Tofigh '24, Major: Global Cultures
"Karmic Conversation between a Jain Layperson and Undercover Bodhisattva in a Neighborhood Park"

Set in a park where dogs play, Faatimah's characters consider Jain and Buddhist accounts of karma in relation to the ethics of pet ownership and karmic compassion toward all living beings. 

Drawing upon passages from Hemacandra's Yoga-śāstra, Faatimah consider various ethical guidelines for lay Jains that seek to avoid harming the eternal life force (jīva) in every being and puts that in dialog with the Buddhist account of no-fixed self (anātman). Against the backdrop of rebirth cosmologies in both traditions, she explore the eight types of karma in Jain view—especially those related to carelessness, lack of discipline, the passions, and verbal, mental, and physical activities which lead one to consider what nonviolence in pet ownership might actually imply. Alongside and often humorously, a sneaky Bodhisattva contemplates how deluded views of self could lead to mental cravings that impact human and pet relations. 



Two additional mentions (and $50 gifts) will be awarded to:

Amorri Lee Ramon '24, Major: Education Sciences Major, Minor: Philosophy
"Karmic Conversation between Lucy, a Buddhist layperson, and Benjamin, a Jain layperson, at the Cemetery"

Aaditya Timalsina '24, Major: Computer Science, Minor: Philosophy
"Karmic Conversation between Krishna and Neminātha on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra"

Religious Studies