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An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 22, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,260

ISSN 2369-6885

2016-08-07_Jacobsen S.D._An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni.JPG

Abstract

An interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni. She discusses: skeletal system as the endocrine system; glucose homeostasis; human symptoms similar to mice models; most appealing social philosophy; most appealing economic philosophy; bad science, pseudoscience, and non-science, or misinformation, with respect to medicine and improvement of the public discourse and knowledge of science; and concluding feelings and thoughts.

Keywords: economic philosophy, endocrine, science, skeleton, social philosophy, Stavroula Kousteni.

An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni: Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University (Part Three)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes throughout the interview, and bibliography and citation style listing after the interview.*

12. One implication is that the skeletal system is part of the endocrine system as well. 

This research theme is explored by the other half of my lab. This work was started by another investigator in the bone field, Dr. Gerard Karsenty. He was the first one that showed, back in 2007, that a hormone secreted specifically by osteoblasts called osteocalcin, improves glucose metabolism, and insulin production and sensitivity. In fact, his lab has done a lot of work to integrate bone into an endocrine system, which includes the pancreas and other glucose regulating organs such as the liver or adipose tissue.

My lab has tried to identify new hormones that are secreted by osteoblasts and regulate novel aspects of energy metabolism. We found one that regulates insulin secretion from the pancreas and appetite.  The function of bone as an endocrine organ that regulates whole body metabolism has now expanded to other unanticipated functions: such as male fertility and cognition.

13. When you state that it has serious implications for blood glucose, then that relates to the pancreas, the liver, fatty or adipose tissue, male fertility, and cognition, each of those areas has, at least, some relation to glucose metabolism. How does this relate to keeping blood glucose stable? In other words, blood glucose homeostasis among other things.

When we make mice that lack this hormone from the osteoblast, the mutant mice have higher blood glucose levels and lower insulin levels, than normal mice, a combination that is not good. (Laughs) If there is not enough insulin in the body, cells do not get a signal to import glucose. The mice become glucose intolerant because they do not metabolize glucose well. Also, when they eat or when they eat a high-fat diet, they gain more weight than they would if they did not lack the hormone. This metabolic abnormality shows that the hormone is required for glucose homeostasis.

14. When I think about it, it is early. Those reports were put out at the same time. There has been further research done.[5] With that in mind, you have seen some of the other ‘correlations-of-action’, say, to the areas stated by you. Cognition, male fertility, adipose tissue, and so on, are there people that don’t have the gene or it’s not upregulated for them – and so they start to show symptoms similar to the mice?

Translation of mouse models into human systems is complex. To simplify, there are two ways to do it. One is through correlative studies. You have two groups of people. You have one group that is healthy. You say, “Okay, this one has a healthy level of these hormones.” I am going to measure the level of these hormones in both groups. What are the levels in normal people and diabetics?

Those studies are indicative, not mechanistic. This has been done for the osteocalcin work. Many studies show osteocalcin levels have an inverse correlation with glucose levels in humans. Higher osteocalcin levels correlate with insulin sensitivity. The second approach is by genetic means. You can search for mutations in the protein of interest by screening the DNA of a large population. If a mutation can be found, then we see if the people bearing the mutation have metabolic abnormalities.

Because hormones are important for homeostasis and for survival, it is uncommon to find mutations in them, presumably the body develops protective mechanisms to preclude them. Therefore, if the receptors through which the hormones work is known, we search for mutations in the receptor. The Karsenty group has done this for the osteocalcin receptor and found mutations in it that affect fertility in males.

15. What social philosophy most appeals to you?

In general, I believe in giving, if I could describe in one simple word for a lot of personal beliefs: giving. I consider myself lucky to be where I am and do what I love. I think that it is our responsibility – at least that’s how I view myself – to be citizens in a place where we are able to do what we want to do, to teach it, to pass it to other people, and to help them understand how to do it better.

To help in any way that we can in whatever area we are more sensitive to, especially in an area where we are more sensitive to; for example, my country, Greece, among other troubles lives through and deals firsthand with an immediate crisis. We’ve had thousands of refugees embarking on vessels of despair and too often losing their lives in efforts to escape to Greece. I am very sensitive to that. My 16-year old son and I belong to different organizations who actively try to help the immigrants.

I’m very sensitive to women’s issues. Women face very challenging and often rehabilitating issues in many different aspects that affect their personal and professional life, their physical and emotional wellbeing.  I am trying to understand this problem within the environment I work, and function and give/help to alleviate them as much as I can. That is my main philosophy, social philosophy, very simplified: give. Teach what you’re best at doing, inspire people to do it, and then help with what you’re more sensitive to. The world has many problems, but we’re all sensitive to it in different ways. Find that niche, find that area, and contribute to it.

16. What economic philosophy most appeals to you?

People should be rewarded for what they do and how much they try. Part of this is financial reward, but I don’t believe in exploiting it. I don’t believe in its extreme case.

17. There’s a lot of bad science, pseudoscience, and non-science with respect to medicine. Many citizens take these false medical services for fatal health problems and at times die without proper medical care. To solve this problem of public ignorance of science, cynical exploitation of the ignorance by non-scientists and non-medical professionals, and the demarcation of good medical care from bad medical care, what can be done?

I don’t know if you can call it bad science, but you can definitely call it misinformation. It is usually people without appropriate expertise who make wrong associations, the wrong correlations, and present them in the wide public. The only means to overcome this problem is with an abundance of the correct information. Means that scientific research can be translated into lay language for the public on the impact of the findings on their whole and not in partiality.

For example, we live in an era when certain patients can be offered the opportunity to have their genome sequenced looking for mutations that may help to more precisely characterize their disease and to in turn offer clues for how to treat it. This is the concept of Precision Medicine. That is, medicine tailored to address the personal needs of a patient.  Patients should be informed about it. They should understand the possibilities and limitations. The same approach should be followed to inform patients about new discoveries with clinical applications relevant to their disease, especially if such applications are available and easy to acquire.

Large medical institutions with substantial research where knowledge is actively shared and discussed daily tend to do that. Same with many scientific societies. For example, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research has task forces whose role is to outreach its members and through this process raise awareness and update its medical membership on new guidelines and treatment options for bone and bone-related diseases.

Also, it provides free access to the public to an online Educational Research Center that has links to disease descriptions, recommendations for treatment, explanations of the disease, and links that take you to what is most recently known or published about it. There is a large research feed that one can go through. The American Society of Hematology is doing it the same things for a very large number of patients who suffer from different types of hematological diseases and malignancies.  In general, scientific societies are working to get the information to the patients in an easily and freely accessible manner.

18. Any feelings or thoughts in conclusion?

I think we have reached an era in terms of research and methodologies that we have amazing tools in our hands to ask important and difficult but better informed questions about the pathogenesis of many diseases that were thought of as incurable. Also, we have new tools and methods to target them. The face of research is changing too. It is extremely exciting too. In contrast to the past, if you did work that was quality and satisfying to work in and with your lab, you will see now that the most important discoveries and comprehensive works involve teams of investigators with a lot of different types of expertise.

They are cell biologists, mouse geneticists, human geneticists, biostatisticians, and so on. We live in a time that is both exciting and inspiring to see how many possibilities we have to think about the pathogenesis of disease. In a time that it is very important and crucial to work collaboratively to interrogate every problem from different perspectives, whether those involve samples from mice or humans, or cross-discipline expertise. If we keep doing it, I cannot wait to see how many discoveries we will reach in understanding disease pathogenesis and how much we can do it treating them. I live in this time. It is an exciting time to live in.

Thank you for your time, Professor Kousteni.

Bibliography

  1. Columbia University. (2016). Kousteni, Stavroula, Ph.D. Retrieved from http://www.physiology.columbia.edu/Stavroula.html.
  2. Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, January 21). Common Blood Cancer May Be Initiated by Single Mutation in Bone Cells. Retrieved from http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2014/01/21/common-blood-cancer-may-initiated-single-mutation-bone-cells/.
  3. Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, January 22). Potential Drug Target Found for Common Blood Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.dddmag.com/news/2014/01/potential-drug-target-found-common-blood-cancer.
  4. News-Medical.Net. (2014, January 21). Mutation in bone cells may cause acute myeloid leukemia: Study. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/news/20140121/Mutation-in-bone-cells-may-cause-acute-myeloid-leukemia-Study.aspx.
  5. Waknine, Y. (2014, January 27). Hit the Cancer Where It Lives: A New Approach to Treating AML. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/819764.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August, 22 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Ph.D., Cardiff University.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Professor Stavroula Kousteni.

[5] The long term goal is to find out the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases for therapies. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that produces hormones. These hormones regulate numerous bodily processes including metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, sleep, and so on. Osteoblasts are cells that form bones. Myelodysplasia (MDS) is the ineffective production of blood cells. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the cancer of blood and bone marrow.

Professor Kousteni’s research has narrowed into the bone-specific hormone osteocalcin, which is transcription-regulated by osteoblast-expressed FoxO1. It became an inference to the osteoblast as an endocrine cell. That is, the bones as the endocrine system. Now, Kousteni looking into the receptor, and other functions and mechanisms, for osteocalcin.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three) [Online].August 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, August 22). An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, August. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (August 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three)’In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):August. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Three) [Internet]. (2016, August); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-three.

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Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 15, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,612

ISSN 2369-6885

2016-08-07_Jacobsen S.D._An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni.JPG

Abstract

An interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni. She discusses: tasks and responsibilities with professorship; the Women’s Commission Committee and helping solve women’s problems; greatest emotional struggle in personal and professional life; and skeletal influences on physiological processes.

Keywords: professorship, Stavroula Kousteni, women.

An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni: Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University (Part Two)[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes throughout the interview, and bibliography and citation style listing after the interview.*

7. You are the Associate Professor in Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University. What tasks and responsibilities come with this position? For instance, the training and outside of research.

There is training. A big part is to train students and post-doctoral researchers that come into the lab. It is hands-on training. It is teaching them how to do research, how to recognize problems, what questions to pose, how to form hypotheses, and then what is very important is how to read the results.

People can look at the same set of results and derive different interpretations. You can look at the result. You can make the result fit the hypothesis. Or even if the experiment didn’t work, you can see is that it doesn’t fit the hypothesis. But if you look at your results, you can see hidden things. This is my favourite part. I take the raw data – everybody’s raw data. They do an assay at the spectrophotometer.

They generate numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers. I look at the numbers in groups. I can look at them for days sometimes, especially when something does not exactly fit. When you do that, you can see connections that you did not expect were there. You can see possibilities that can change your hypotheses to a greater or lesser extent, and often to more exciting directions.  I tell my trainees: keep your eyes and minds open to discover new connections. In the past, I had people in the lab say, “This is not possible.”

When that new “that” was looking at them straight in the eye, I told them that this is not the place for them. If I cannot teach you that many things are possible, then this is not the place for you. Another part of my training responsibilities is to teach in courses that are run from different programs and departments. Those are different training program supported by the different Institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

I co-direct one of those programs. An endocrinology training grant that is supported by the NIDDK. It is a grant from the NIH. It has a specific fellowship for pre-docs and post-docs. So, the program tries to place them, support them with money, train them in endocrinology – a holistic view. Then there are the institutional groups we serve. For instance, I have been part of a task force with the aim to improve quality of life, communications, and working environment at the Campus.

I sat with a group of investigators and administrators. Our task was to define what areas needed to be improved in terms of facilities, provisions like childcare, and internships for older kids. Also, I serve on the senate for the Women’s Commission Committee. It is looking into identifying and resolving women’s issues, and to promote their recognition and opportunities in the university.

8. With regards to the Women’s Commission Committee, and women’s concerns and issues in the university, what are those? How can individuals, groups such as the commission or other groups in the university and other institutions solve those problems?

That women are able to perform their work with the same provisions, opportunities, and recognition as their male colleagues at the equal level. During the last few years, the university has made big steps towards this direction. More Deans and Center Directors are women than 5 years ago. Also, there are departments such as the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, the Department of Human Genetics and Development, that by looking at their faculty and faculty positions one can see that they are very supportive of women faculty. We are on a good track.

9. What seems like the greatest emotional struggle in professional or personal life?

First, in professional life, one of my struggles comes with the nature of our work. Lab trainees eventually complete their training cycle, close their project, publish, and move on to the next stage of their career.  It is an emotional struggle to lose good people among them. Imagine, you work for years to build a team and then every few years need to rebuild it. Sometimes, it feels like a wave when people leave together. Others join at the same time. Emotionally and practically, it is demanding. It takes skill, effort, and time to re-establish relationships and re-harmonize the lab functions.

The second struggle in professional life is funding. Running a lab is similar to running a small company because we need to continuously generate funds. At these times, as an investigator, you need to be resilient with the difficulties in obtaining NIH funding. To get funded, an investigator has to submit a project proposal that is reviewed by a scientific panel with relevant expertise put together by NIH officers.

In this process, we are effectively told whether what we do or propose to do has merit or not, if it is worth or not. This is an exercise in resilience. It’s a criticism of your ideas and approach. If you don’t get it in the end, you have to be able to say, “I’ll move on and put in another application.” Since NIH funding is limited now, this laborious process can be repeated several times and it hits success.

In personal life, I would say how to bring up my kids. That is the most emotionally intense experience for me.

10. How so?

In fact, it’s a challenge. It was a struggle because I spent a lot of time working rather than seeing them growing up. However, I realized the things that I could offer and teach them by behaviour, experience, and by being satisfied and fulfilled from my work. Those made the compromise worthwhile. It is a challenge considering that my knowledge and experiences go into it.

I have so many different cultures in me – growing up in one country and moving into another one while meeting so many people with different backgrounds and religious beliefs. I am a scientist and am used to observing. I am used to abstracting my ideas to construct rational lines of thinking of hypotheses and conclusions. I use all these expertise as way of teaching them how to be decent and inspired people. All of my energy outside work goes there. This effort is full of emotional charge for me. I want to help them understand how important it is to ask for things in life, how important it is to be inspired in life, and how important it is to have many experiences.

11. You have moderate representation in the media.[5],[6],[7],[8] The reports covered the research on Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Your main research might be summarized as “[skeletal] functions in metabolism and hematopoiesis.”[9] It is a comprehensive research program with a distinct focus.[10] Let’s explore some of this research in-depth through some queries to you: what are the general influences of the skeleton on various physiological processes?

I was not satisfied looking at bone only as bone. For me, it was more exciting to understand how different organs interact with each other. I always wanted to enter the bone field. I was able to achieve that when I became an independent investigator. I want to know how these organ interactions maintain health. Normal every day physiological processes. This is alongside my interest in hematopoiesis and cancer. My work with Ellin and Azra made me focus to myeloid malignancies.

We started a project in the lab that was looking at simple things – to see if the skeleton and the bone-forming cells have any way of interacting or influencing leukemia. As we started doing the experiments, we realized that it did. There are signalling pathways that are triggered from osteoblasts that promote or halt the progress of leukemia. We started working on the pathways. As we were going forward, we asked whether there are any genetic differences. For example, mutations in osteoblasts that would not influence the progression of the disease alone, but could be as important as inducing it or altering its course.

That was much more far reaching because these two cell types – the leukemia cells and osteoblasts – come from different lineages. It was not thought that one could influence the fate of the other. The idea of a cell outside the hematopoietic lineage affecting myeloid malignancies was starting to surface. I decided to look extensively into it at that point. We examined a particular mouse model with a mutation on a protein that we thought could be a common link between hematopoiesis and osteoblast functions.

We found that when this mutation was present only in osteoblasts, at least in mice. It was by itself adequate to trigger the development of MDS. Then the disease quickly progresses into myeloid leukemia with all of its features of AML. If you take these bone marrow cells from these mice and transplant them into mice mouse, the healthy mice will also develop AML. With the help of Azra and Ellin, we screened a large cohort of patients with MDS and AML. To this time, we have screened 350 people, patients. We were interested to see if an AML inducing pathway like this was active in the osteoblasts of patients with MDS or AML.

We found that 30-35% of these patients had this pathway active, which suggested that it might be inducing AML in humans. We knew the signal transmitted from the osteoblast to the hematopoietic cell. It was turning this cell into a leukemic one. That meant that if we could block it, then we could block the disease. This was exciting because it could be a new means of dealing with MDS and AML. We would be targeting a leukemic signal originating from a cell (the osteoblast) that is stable, has a stable function, and does not change identity.

That is unlike leukemia cells. Those tend to accumulate different mutations or mutations develop mutations that make them resistant to chemotherapy or targeted treatments. We did this experiment in mice too. We used an antibody that blocked the pathway in osteoblasts. By doing that, it blocked the disease in mice. At this time, we are looking at other molecules and mutations in osteoblasts that may affect MDS and AML progression.

We are looking at interactive molecules. What is it that the osteoblast secretes to protect from that leukemia cell? So, we’re piercing the pathway together. We are trying to learn how these cells communicate, how you can interfere in these communication signals to take advantage of them – of one signal or the other – and make the bone a place that myeloid dysplasia can’t grow.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 15, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Ph.D., Cardiff University.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Professor Stavroula Kousteni.

[5] Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, January 22). Potential Drug Target Found for Common Blood Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.dddmag.com/news/2014/01/potential-drug-target-found-common-blood-cancer.

[6] Waknine, Y. (2014, January 27). Hit the Cancer Where It Lives: A New Approach to Treating AML. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/819764.

[7] Columbia University Medical Center. (2014, January 21). Common Blood Cancer May Be Initiated by Single Mutation in Bone Cells. Retrieved from http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2014/01/21/common-blood-cancer-may-initiated-single-mutation-bone-cells/.

[8] News-Medical.Net. (2014, January 21). Mutation in bone cells may cause acute myeloid leukemia: Study. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/news/20140121/Mutation-in-bone-cells-may-cause-acute-myeloid-leukemia-Study.aspx.

[9] Columbia University. (2016). Kousteni, Stavroula, Ph.D. Retrieved from http://www.physiology.columbia.edu/Stavroula.html.

[10] Kousteni, Stavroula, Ph.D. (2016) states:

Research Activities

The purpose of the research in my laboratory is to understand the influence of the skeleton on various physiological processes. The long term goal is to uncover the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases and to suggest novel and adapted therapies for them. Along these lines we are studying the function of bone as an endocrine organ regulating glucose metabolism and energy homeostasis and examining the role of osteoblasts in hematopoiesis with particular emphasis in myelodysplasia (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Bone as an endocrine organ

Osteoblasts, the bone forming cells, have been shown previously to influence glucose metabolism through the secretion of a bone-specific hormone, osteocalcin. We found that the activity of osteocalcin is regulated transcriptionally by osteoblast-expressed FoxO1. These findings raised for us the question of the nature of the osteoblast as an endocrine cell, and more specifically whether it secretes other hormones regulating any aspect of energy metabolism. Using a genetic approach to this problem we identified a second osteoblast-specific hormone that affects glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. We are currently expanding this work, searching for its receptor and for other functions and mechanisms of action exerted by this hormone.

Detecting Interactions between Osteoblasts and Leukemia Blasts 

In current work, our lab has discovered a function of the skeleton, as an inducer of leukemogenesis. We identified a mutation in the osteoblast that disrupts hematopoiesis leading to leukemogenic transformation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and establishment of MDS progressing to AML. The same mutation and signaling pathway were identified in more than a third of patients with MDS and AML. We have also found that osteoblasts affect engraftment of leukemia blasts. We are currently characterizing the signaling pathway that mediates these actions. This work may provide a rationale for using means to manipulate the osteoblast to make the hematopoietic niche hostile to residual leukemia cells. 

Columbia University. (2016). Kousteni, Stavroula, Ph.D. Retrieved from http://www.physiology.columbia.edu/Stavroula.html.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two) [Online].August 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, August 15). An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, August. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (August 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):August. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part Two) [Internet]. (2016, August); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-two.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 8, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,500

ISSN 2369-6885

2016-08-07_Jacobsen S.D._An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni.JPG

Abstract

An interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni. She discusses: familial geographic, cultural, and linguistic background; familial background influence on her; ancient and modern Greek texts that influenced her; reference to 1984; origination of interest in medicine; and interest in pathology and cell biology in particular.

Keywords: 1984, cell biology, medicine, pathology, Stavroula Kousteni.

An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni: Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University[1],[2],[3],[4]

*Footnotes throughout the interview and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your family background reside?

I was born in Athens, Greece until I went to college. It was in a city to the South on the Peloponnese. It’s called Patras, which is a port city. You need to take a boat if you want to travel from Greece to Italy. I was born in Athens. However, my culture is influenced by the island where my mother comes from, an island in the Dodecanese (the Twelve Islands), called Karpathos.

It is located between Rhodes and Crete. It is one of the most traditional islands in Greece. Its society is to a large extent governed by women. It has extremely strong roles for women in and outside the family. It has a culture that is friendly to people and celebratory of life. For example, every important event in the life of any person, whether it is engagement, marriage, or death, is usually communicated by a type of on-the-moment song, which is sung in the tune of the local instruments.

It is a way of living an emotionally intense and authentic life. It brings communication to a different level. It makes relationships between families closer. The villages on the island are small. Everyone is a ‘relative’. Many people moved to Athens after the war, formed an association, and bought a lot in the outskirts of Athens in a suburb at the North. Also, the land was divided among families who built houses and apartment buildings on it.

We lived in Karpathos. I grew in a very close, rich, and emotional community. It had a tremendous effect in my view of life. It’s my roots. It’s the place that gives me strength, sense of value, and teaches enjoyment and appreciation of life. I left this place to do a B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Patras in Greece. After that, I moved to the U.K. to University of Cardiff where I did my Ph.D. and a postdoctoral fellowship.

2. With respect to the “roots,” how did this familial background influence you?

First, it strengthened me as a woman in professional activities and family life. It was natural. It was expected that I would guide and create. Second, it taught me to form strong connections with an extended group of people. In early life, those were extended family. Cousins that were cousins of my cousins. To me, they were still cousins (!). It was a strong family bond that made us treat each other as brothers and sisters. When I left Greece, I sought to create a similar group of extended family.

Not friends alone. They were family by choice with a strong and supportive relationship. Third, it implanted a sense of optimism. So, I could crawl up unwavering. Even in the blackest days, when I really don’t want to know anything about still surviving (I would laugh here), I can get up. Also, the ways to express myself and celebrate life. Can you imagine if your sister is getting married and you start singing about what happened in her life? What happened in her past? What you hope for her? Most people sing and cry. However, a celebration of the life of the person and the relationship with them.

My personality and life were influenced by high school in Greece. High school is from grade 7 to grade 12. I took an exam. I was accepted to one of the academically prestigious schools called Anavryta. I have been one of those lucky people who knew very early. I wanted to do biomedical research. I was fascinated by science.

I have always been interested in biology, chemistry, and physics. However, I did not take these subjects in school. I took a rare and in-depth training in humanities and language arts, analysis of texts, Ancient Greek, Greek, new works of Greek authors, and world history. My mind learned to function through these years in that school. My language teachers were inspiring. They inspired us to think deep, analyze what we read, what we write, and how we think about life. That has shaped the way I see everything. It has shaped my style of science. As well, my will to be open-minded to understand different perspectives.

3. You mentioned Ancient Greek texts and some modern Greek texts were of influence for you. What were some of those?

Once we start learning Ancient Greek in 6th grade, we read a translation of The Iliad and The Odyssey. A smart way to introduce us to the Ancient Greek world since the main interest was to teach us the concepts, the notions, the intrigues, the emotional relationships, the political situations, and so on, behind these works. Also, we were taught the “Herodotus Tales.” Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus, in Asia Minor, in the fifth century B.C. and has been called the ‘Father of History’, because he wrote the first comprehensive attempt at secular narrative history, considered the starting point of Western historical writing.

We were immersed in stories about Persian Wars, Babylon, Egypt, and Thrace. Also, we read and analyzed texts from Socrates. I was stunned to find ancient Greek education in the United States. For a couple of months, we toured Columbia University for my son’s college visit. He was told that independent of the direction taken. All first year students across different courses and programs are taught The Iliad. (Laughs). Then we re-read most of them in Ancient Greek, along with Thucydides “History of the Peloponnesian War” that chronicled 30 years of war between Athens and Sparta.

Ancient Greek is a complex language. As a Greek, you can recognize several words, but the syntax in intricate and often hard put into context. In Modern Greek, we read a lot of poetry, the works of Odysseus Elytis, Konstantinos Kavafys, Giorgos Seferis. One of the favorite authors analyzed in detail was Antonis Samarakis, who in his writing put a lot of emphasis in the person as an individual. On the thinking process, the person’s thinking process can change due to events in that person’s life. We read his masterpiece “The Flaw,” which was written in 1965. It is eerily prophetic of the military dictatorship that followed in Greece

4. It’s like 1984. It’s based on events, but in a future time.

It is predictive of the future. It tells the story of a suspect detained in an unspecified police state. At an unspecified time, it examines the relationship between what seems to be a leftist, or communist perhaps captive, and his interrogator and detainer. Who is taking him to whoever he needs to go, the plan is devised by the state to make him attempt to escape, thereby proving his guilt, or confess to his anti-state crimes under interrogation. The flaw is the plan’s failure to allow for the human factor, the fellow-feeling that the interrogator develops for the suspect during their time together.

The captive and the interrogator become harmonized with each other. As the relationship develops, as they relate things more intimate to them, the hesitation and awkwardness develops because part of it is asking, “How much of this relationship is true? How much is one trying to manipulate the other?” We spent a lot of time analyzing how the protagonists express themselves in their relationships.

5. Where did interest in medicine in general originate for you?

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an astronaut, which is funny. However, when I finished wanting to be an astronaut, I wanted to be in medicine. I had an inspiration growing up. A great aunt, she was a dentist. For a woman in Greece to be a dentist and intellectual immediately after World War II, she was an admirably accomplished woman. I was fascinated by her dynamism. I was fascinated by the humanism of medicine. I saw that through her. However, I was  thinking, “For me, this is ot enough.”

I could see by talking with her, reading newspapers, and magazines. There were many incurable diseases. My focus shifted into understanding how it works. How do people get sick? How does disease start? How can disease be treated?  This is when my interest in cancer developed too. Cancer is such a complex multifactorial and ever-changing disease. How does it all happen? Suddenly, I remember visiting the Department of Biology in Athens in 8th grade. When we finished going through the labs, I thought, “This is what I want to do.” I want to do research. I want to do biology-oriented research.

I was lucky. It is hard to make a decision for what you want to do for the rest of your life when you are an adolescent. Colleges in Europe do not offer the range, diversity, and combinations in courses of US colleges. In Europe, you have to choose a specialty at 18 years old. So, I was lucky. I knew in 8th grade. Those were the years we read about major DNA discoveries, breakthroughs in molecular biology, manipulating the genome in model organisms, sheep (Dolly), and later mice. All of these discoveries seemed amazing to me. The possibilities seemed endless.

You can modify the DNA, delete parts of it, or edit it. You do this to ask questions about the function of specific genes in disease and in physiology. You can look inside the cells at molecules that communicate messages. In the early 80s, it was not possible to get trained in it in Greece. I decided to apply and was accepted in the Department of Chemistry in Patras University. It was a new Department. Then and now, it has an excellent teaching faculty. The only one with a good section in Biochemistry. Part of the section in biochemistry had a course in molecular Biology, it was a dream for me. I knew from that early 8th grade visit to the Department of Biology. I would have to go abroad to complete my studies and to do research. I could not wait to do so.

6. You found the real interest in medicine and chemistry, and not in being an astronaut…

(Laughs)

…What about pathology and cell biology in particular?

From my point of view, research can be done in two approaches. For one, it can be focused on a particular cell type or organ, which delineates its function and rules (the intracellular, intraorgan mechanisms) that regulate its fate and activity. For another, you can look at this organ from a plane view and study its integration into the whole body, which means the inter-organ communications and the transmitting signals that mediate them. In either case, you can be strictly molecular by staying focused on DNA changes and signaling events, or take a more translational/clinically applied spin by asking, “How do those apply to disease pathogenesis and to disease treatment?”

My scientific journey started with the first approach. It is now encompassing the latest. I entered the field of bone biology in 1999. I started by asking very cell focused questions: How do bone cells function? How do they maintain health and survival? How do they function to keep making bone or to resorb bone? How is this process regulated? I was looking at the specific cellular mechanism of the 3 different types of bone cells: 1) osteoblast that make bone, 2) osteoclasts that resorb bone, and 3) osteocytes that are entombed in the mineralizing of the matrix and communicate mechanical signals.

This is the more isolated view of an organ. I looked at bone as something more than an isolated island within the body. I look at it as an organ that should interact with other organs. We are used to thinking of the skeleton as a mechanical scaffold whose role is to help us grow, move around, and withstand the mechanical forces of daily life. This is one of its most amazing functions that it impressively fulfills by achieving complete renewal every 10 years. Every 10 years we have a new skeleton. However, it is not the only one. As the largest organ in the body, it makes sense that there are other roles.

I was interested in finding those. Also, I was interested in understanding how it interacts with other organs to regulate either normal physiological processes in a healthy organism or to regulate disease. My main interest is in disease pathogenesis. Where does disease start? What is the imbalance that makes a disease manifest? In following this approach, I have come to a point where I often say that I run a ‘schizophrenic’ lab. It deals with bone, but many other directions too. One direction is an unintended one. I had not envisioned it. It was something brought on by research.

When I moved to Columbia University in 2006, my lab was looking at a protein, FoxO1, which regulates bone mass in response to oxidative stress. In basic research, if you want to ask, “How does a protein work? Is its function important for a specific tissue?” You inactivate (knockout) the gene that makes the protein in mice and in this tissue. When we knocked out FoxO1 from bone and specifically osteoblasts, we created mutant mice that had a phenotype unrelated to bone mass. They had low blood glucose levels, high insulin levels, high glucose tolerance, which means that if they ate more and high fat food they did not gain weight.

In short, inactivation of a protein expressed in bone cells led in mice led to improved glucose metabolism. We followed this line of research and have subsequently generated several other genetic mouse models that serve to examine role of hormones produces by bone cells in the regulation of different aspects of energy metabolism. Half of my lab is working on these projects. The other half of the lab follows projects related to my fascination with cancer. I wanted to do this research for many, many years. Before I became an independent investigator, I was interested in hematological cancers. Because they are born, live, and thrive in the bone marrow within the bone, where hematopoiesis occurs and goes awry in such cancers, I was a hesitant in entering this vast field.

We started, shyly and cautiously, with an M.D. Ph.D. student, who did some of our initial experiments looking at how osteoblasts affect hematopoiesis. One day, an M.D. and clinical investigator Dr. Ellin Berman, from Memorial Sloan Kettering, met with me and asked if I would be interested to look whether osteoblasts affect leukemia blasts. I was thrilled. We started working on a small focused project with limited funding. Very soon Dr. Azra Raza, the head of the MDS Center at Columbia University and an amazing investigator, joined in these studies, which flourished, expanded, and drafted my new scientific identity: the study of the role of bone cells in the development of MDS and AML.

This line of research is close to my heart. An exciting part of our work is that that we are looking at MDS and AML from a different point of view. Traditionally, investigators look at hematological diseases like myeloid leukemia, myeloid dysplasia as dysregulations, genetic modifications, and mutations. All occurring in hematopoietic cells. These dysregulated cells turn malignant. We look at the disease from the point of view of completely different cells. They are not sisters, brothers, or parents of hematopoietic cells. They belong to a parallel lineage.

They are osteoblasts. They are supposed to originate from a distinct ancestor, which is different than the hematopoietic cells. We look at how osteoblasts affect the induction of myeloid malignancies. Their engraftment or progression. It is a new way to look at pathogenesis, or even treatment of MDS and AML. In fact, we found a different source of MDS and AML pathogenesis one that originates from the osteoblast. A cell outside the hematopoietic lineage. This new mechanism might hold a new promise for treatment because the osteoblasts might be a more amenable target that an AML or MDS cell.

Those malignant cells change identity constantly by accumulating new mutations or developing new protective mechanisms to outgrow treatments. Chemotherapy and other drugs that target specific mutations can be overcome by the appearance of new clones. These new clones arise or the clones become resistant. Our idea is that if you target a cell that is important for the induction of the disease and its progression, but that cell does not change its identity. You can block the signal of the cell, and then have another means to block leukemia. This research is inspiring and consuming me at the same time, not only by the thrill of the discoveries of basic science but because of its closeness to such devastating human diseases and its potential impact.

I am further influenced to my core by the work of my MD collaborators, especially Azra and Ellin. They are the closest ones to me and to my work. Often, I talk to them. I see the sensitivity with which they take care of their patients. Also, their relentless and uncompromising daily fight to save them. Over and over again, it is an inspiring fight to witness. It puts a human and humane face to the research. I can associate our work in the lab with the desired and hoped for outcome: to discover so as to treat. This is very personal and intense. I can say this approach increases personal responsibility and inspiration at the same time.

I share this view this feeling, responsibility, and try to pass them onto and to inspire my students, post-docs, and associate researcher scientists. I tell them how extremely privileged we are as researchers and as a basic science lab to have access to and to be entrusted at the same time with patient samples for our research. That we are lucky to have collaborators that have been generous in sharing their human samples with us.

It permits us to do meaningful research. Every time, we receive them, from Azra or Ellin, I say, “You should not sleep at night. You should be thankful every night that you were able to get these people’s cells. You had better do something worthwhile with them because to them it is a matter of life or death.” They hear this at least once a month. Or, every time that we get new samples. That’s how I feel about it. I committed, serious, and grateful to the work in the lab.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Associate Professor, Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 8, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Ph.D., Cardiff University.

[4] Photograph courtesy of Professor Stavroula Kousteni.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One) [Online].August 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, August 8). An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, August. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (August 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):August. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Associate Professor Stavroula Kousteni (Part One) [Internet]. (2016, August); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-associate-professor-stavroula-kousteni-part-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: August 1, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,414

ISSN 2369-6885

Anand Jain.jpg

Abstract

An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: elaboration on the About (2015); gods in an eternal universe (with souls) subject to the law of Karma; human beings able to reincarnate as gods themselves; an atheistic element to Jainism; purpose of prayer; uniting part of Jainism among Jains; Jain view of wellbeing; and long-term plans of the Jain Center of British Columbia.

Keywords: Anand Jain, British Columbia, Founder, Jain, Preserver, Sustainer.

An Interview with Anand Jain: Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer,” Jain Centre of British Columbia (Part Four)[1],[2],[3]

*Footnotes throughout the interview and citation style listing after the interview.*

27. About (2015) concludes:

The main order of Dharma was initially established by the 14th Manu, namely Lord Rishabhdev millennium years ago. One can find ample of literature on Lord Rishabhdev in Vedas and Bhagvatam. Jainism has 24 Thirthankars who are ford makers, starting from Lord Rishabhdev being the first and Lord Mahavir, who was born 2,612 years ago, being the last.[4]

Please elaborate, what does this mean in full?[5]

Under this question, it says that before the 14th Manu, there was a different order of subsistence in the subcontinent and 14th Manu taught the masses how to fill the land for food and other needs of subsistence.

Most importantly, in the new Era, Rishabdev emphasized the need of good Karmas to attain Salvation and therefore, he taught the basic ethics of non-violence and mutual co-existence with one’s neighbour, i.e., called Parasper Upagraho Jivanam meaning that we all can exist side by side and are interdependent on each other in a society. Therefore, peaceful co-existence was the primary teaching along with non-violence.

Later on, all remaining 23 Tirthankars followed the same path and depth and attained salvation. This ethical teaching became a religion which was only a religion (Duty) and when the other religions floated, the word JAIN was coined; meaning who are victorious on one-self; or meaning who have won over one’s desires and follow the ethical path of non-violence in all walks of life.

28. In the foundational metaphysics of Jainism, five ideas form its base, namely: “souls (jiva), matter (pudgala), motion (dharma), rest (adharma), space (akasa), and time (kala).”[6] Matter and souls separate in a dualistic philosophy, complete division between them, and a total denial of one God sovereign over all in the operations of the world: its creation, operation, or dissolution. Finite gods exist with subjection to the law of Karma.[7] The universe, or the world, remains eternal too.[8] How are gods in an eternal universe (with souls) subject to the law of Karma?[9]

The foundational metaphysics of Jainism simply states how the universe works and there is no creator, sustainer and destroyer. The natural forces enumerated here propel the world, there is no other force behind it. Even present day modern science concurs with Jainism’s contentions. Hence, we call Jainism a Scientific Religion.

Since Jainism has no notion of God, the word God does not come into question; therefore, there is no question of human beings incarnating as Gods.

29. Does this leave the possibility for human beings to reincarnate as gods themselves?

Good question, actually, Alexander the Great came to India he saw some of the Jain monks sitting on dried bark, and basking in the Sun. And they were naked. He went to the emissaries and said, “Go to them and tell them I will give them lots of wealth.” The monks said to the emissaries, “Go to your leader and tell them, it’s okay, go back and say we don’t need it.” Alexander the Great was surprised thinking, “Who are these people?”

He came and had an audience with the head man, and the mans aid, “Look, you have done a lot of cruel things. You have looted and killed a lot of people. Your end is near. I can see it on your forehead.” Alexander said, “I beg you to give us one of your saints that I can bring t Athens.” He brought one of the saints, and he passed away, and the saint told his minister, “Take his hands outside of the coffin so that people can see and that you cannot take anything with you. You go empty-handed. His footprints were still there.”

They learn from India.

In Jainism, there is no such word as INCARNATION. Yes, there is a word called transmigration; and once a soul is born as human, he has to work hard on the Jain ethics to attain Godhood.

Again, this entity is not the creator, sustainer and destroyer; but simply attainer of Salvation, thus ceasing the cycle of birth, old-age and death.

30. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy: General philosophical approaches to the status of Vedic scriptures (2014), Jainism rejects the notion of God, where it states:

The Buddhist and the Jain traditions also rejected the notion of God, and hence any claim that the Vedas were words of God, and hence authoritative, was not acceptable to them. On the other hand, the Jain and the Buddhist traditions claimed that their leading spiritual teachers like Mahāvīra and Buddha were omniscient (sarvajña) and were compassionate toward humanity at large, and hence their words were claimed to be authoritative… The Mīmāṃsakas accepted the arguments of the Buddhists and the Jains that one need not accept the notion of a creator-controller God…The Mīmāṃsā conceives of an unbroken and beginningless Vedic tradition. No man or God can be considered to be the very first teacher of the Veda or the first receiver of it, because the world is beginningless. It is conceivable that, just as at present, there have always been teachers teaching and students studying the Veda. For the Mīmāṃsakas, the Vedas are not words of God. In this view, they seem to accept the Buddhist and the Jain critique of the notion of God. There is no need to assume God. Not only is there no need to assume that God was the author of the Vedas, there is no need to assume a God at all. God is not required as a Creator, for the universe was never created. Nor is God required as the Dispenser of Justice, for karman brings its own fruits. And one does not need God as the author of the Vedas, since they are eternal and uncreated to begin with.[10]

Mark Owen Webb notes the same.[11] When individuals outside, or even inside, of Jainism perceive an “atheistic” element to its conceptualization of the universe, what does this mean in precise terms?[12],[13]

All that is mentioned in your other question is true and repeats what Jainism says.

In Jainism, the followers give the highest respect to all Tirthankars only for their highest ethical teachings and sometimes call them Bhagavan or God in name only. A learned Jain would only call them Tirthankar, meaning (A teacher who teachers the art of crossing the worldly ocean to attain salvation to the masses and also crosses himself and attain salvation).

31. What purpose does prayer serve to individuals and groups of Jains in their community?[14]

The prayers remind us and inculcate the finest qualities possessed by Tirthankars while they were on the path of austerity. One must bear in mind that Jainism, Tirthankars have attained salvation and therefore, are detached from the worldly affairs. Thus, they are unable to shower any gifts or curse us.

32. With respect to orthodox and non-orthodox divisions and sects, what component of the complete Jain philosophy and life practice produces the greatest division among Jains?[15],[16],[17],[18],[19]

The practice of rituals and limits of possessions by Monks and laymen. Also, the degree of severity in following daily life of Monks; namely, Skyclad’s highest monk will sleep on the floor, takes a vow, if certain conditions occur, only then he will accept food from the household that practice the cooking of food according to strict Jain principles and cleanliness. He takes his food in forming a bowl with his two hands, once only in 24 hours, that also goes for water. If and when his vow does not match, he goes without food until the next day.

Secondly, Skyclads still fully believe in the scriptures and practices laid down by all Tirthankars, and have not added or subtracted any new ideas.

33. What most unites Jains?[20]

The vegetarianism, worship of the Tirthankars, reverence for all kinds of lives and a sernee, peaceful, honest, and sincere life style in daily business life.

34. Jains believe in concern for the health and welfare, or the wellbeing, of the universe, have emphasis on “three jewels”: right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct, have belief in reincarnation, ground themselves in self-help or destitution of assistance from the gods – or God – for human beings, believe in souls for animals, plants, and human beings, believe in the need for consideration of equal compassion, respect, and value for these souls, and aim for the elimination of Karma.[21],[22] How does wellbeing of the universe, self-help devoid of the gods’ or God’s assistance, existence of the soul in everything, its reincarnation in novel forms, and ethical requisite for compassion, respect, and value for the souls themselves, interrelate in this Jain conception of the biosphere, human beings, and their mutual interrelationship with the universe?[23]

All that said points to respect for the environment. Jainism has taught to be frugal in using water; carefully and cautiously excavating and tilling land; not even moving your body in the air without any reason. All it means limiting harm to the environment.

35. What are the long-term plans of the Jain Center of British Columbia?[24]

Long-term plan for the Jain Centre of BC is to provide a conducive, friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all; visiting Monks and scholars; a school for the youngsters.

Jains do not believe in proselytizing, yet anyone willing to learn and practice Jain philosophy is warmly welcome. Jainism is not a caste-based religion. It is a practice-based religion.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Jain.

I feel you are a professional, doing your duty very well, have taken your time to read all of the scriptures, and were so brave to form these questions for me, and you spent your time. I am retired. I am happy. I don’t worry about going to the office or money. God has given me more than enough. So I thank you very much because that way through your hard work and publishing people will have ideas about Jainism. And, hopefully, they like it, and it makes their lives better. Thank you very much.

Bibliography

  1. BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.
  2. Deshpande, M. (2014). Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/language-india/.
  3. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2016). InEncyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com.
  4. Gandhi, M. (2013, April 30). Let us Celebrate Mahavir Jayanti on April 23, 2013. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/documents/Article%20by%20Mrs.%20Maneka%20Gandhi.pdf.
  5. JAINS: Federation of Jain Associations in North America. (2015). JAINS: Federation of Jain Associations in North America. Retrieved from http://www.jaina.org/.
  6. Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/president-message/.
  7. Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/.
  8. Jain Library. (2015). Jain eLibrary. Retrieved from http://www.jainlibrary.org/.
  9. Statistics Canada. (2005, January 25). Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
    (Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon). Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo30c-eng.htm.
  10. Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer.” Jain Centre of British Columbia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: August 1, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[5] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[6] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[7] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[8] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[9] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[10] Deshpande, M. (2014). Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/language-india/.

[11] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[12] Deshpande, M. (2014). Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/language-india/.

[13] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[14] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[15] Indian philosophy. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Indian-philosophy.

[16] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[17] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[18] Deshpande, M. (2014). Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/language-india/.

[19] Webb, M.O. (n.d.). Jain Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/.

[20] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[21] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[22] karma. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/karma.

[23] karma. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/karma.

[24] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four) [Online].August 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, August 1). An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, August. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (August 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):August. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Four) [Internet]. (2016, August); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-four.

License and Copyright

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Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,572

ISSN 2369-6885

Anand Jain.jpg

Abstract

An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: importance of interfaith dialogue; relationship with Hindus and Buddhists in British Columbia; relationship with Hindus and Buddhists in Canada; relationship with Hindus and Buddhists in the world; “Ahimsa, Aparigraha, and Anekant”; the grounding of the manifestation; Five mahavatras and influence on daily life; Digambras and Svetambras; origination of their division; purpose for monks and nuns in Jainism; and salvation with end result of zero Karma.

Keywords: Anand Jain, British Columbia, Founder, Jain, Preserver, Sustainer.

An Interview with Anand Jain: Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer.” Jain Centre of British Columbia (Part Three)[1],[2],[3]

*Footnotes throughout the interview and citation style listing after the interview.*

16. What importance comes from interfaith dialogue?[4]

It shows how other religions think about us, other faiths think about us. It is great to shun all of our differences and discuss things – how we can give to the society. And I think this is one way we can mutually get education, and I am the only one that always goes to these events.

I do not deny that it is not easy to take out time, but somehow I look for them, you know.

In this library right here [Simon Fraser University Surrey Campus Library – Scott], I think twice there was a big interfaith conference. I was invited once by the Bahá’í faith. It is a good thing if we can dispel some of the misgivings.

It is enlightening to note that Jainism has always taught to respect the views of other religions. A very amicable relationship exists with both Hindus and the Buddhists.

17.  Jainism exists, in history and in the present, alongside other Indian philosophies and life practices, or religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] What relationship exists among the Hindus and Buddhists of British Columbia?[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17],[18]

It is not common knowledge that Buddha was a Jain monk for 7 years before devising a middle path for himself called Buddhism.

It is not common knowledge that lineage of most of the Hindu Gods and Jain Tirthankaras are the same. Both share the same family inception and culturally there is hardly a difference.

It is not common knowledge that Hindus and Jains do have interfaith marriages, because our culture is similar. And why not? Like, before and now, people do like to – everybody has their own differences. Even a brother or another have a different ideology, but that does not mean you can sit together and eat, on the other hand, we have an advantage because other religions have learned non-violence and vegetarianism from the Jains. Come to think of it, one of the Hindu universities’ chancellor’s once said that to become a good Hindu you have to be a Jain first.

We wish we all continue to do the same. Only then we can make this world a beautiful place to live other than you can see now, or done 15 years ago.

I wrote a poem in Hindi, and I predicted that the culprit or the perpetrator would survive, and you could see a few years after what happened. So those are the thoughts.

18.  What about Canada?[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25]

It is very amicable, the relationship, in Canada.

19. . How about the world?[26],[27],[28],[29],[30],[31],[32]

It is a very amicable, the relationship, in the whole world.

20. What does each principle of “Ahimsa, Aparigraha, and Anekant” mean to the Jain community – in British Columbia and its global manifestation?[33],[34],[35],[36]

Ahimsa is non-injury to any being by way of thoughts, speech and actions. Aparigraha simply means limit your needs, your possessions, let it be available for others, and keep only what you need.

If you keep it to yourself, it will degenerate itself, it will go moldy, or go out of fashion, so why do you need to hold it? Let go, you will have better sleep. That’s how our saints live. They do not even have clothes or bowls. They make a bowl by clutching their two hands together, and they take food once in 24 hours, and he thinks a person in a black jacket and blonde hair (referring to me – Scott) should meet him and then he should eat.

Anekant means tolerance of all kinds of views of all kinds of faiths. Never say that you are the one who is always right. Different people think differently, so we should not be criticizing them and this is not one. Truth is not one-sided, and you are not the contender that I am the only one. Others are, and there are many ways to look at it. It is very intricate. There are seven sides that you have to apply on all subjects, and only then do you come to the truth. Anekant is about multiple states, multiple views.

Non-violence, non-possession. Jainism also says there are the same rules with the saints. The ones who are away from the worldly life have stern rules. And then the household owners can then devolve them to their own level, and then they can increase them to their own level in degrees. So those are the three explanations that are important for those things.

21. What grounds these principles?[37],[38],[39],[40]

Since religion in Jainism is a way of life, a rational belief system; a yearning desire for salvation, these principles guide our total behaviour.

One must understand that Jainism is the only religion that is not organized.

22. Five mahavatras, or great vows, exist in Jainism: ahimsa or non-violence – the supreme principle, “non-attachment to possessions, not lying, not stealing, and sexual restraint.”[41],[42] Duly note, the emphasis on restraint in contrast with aid, or encouragement, with the prefix “non-.”[43],[44] How do these influence daily, mundane, life for a Jain?[45],[46]

No doubt that a child and adolescent would only observe and imitate what the parents and the community members do in daily life. Accordingly, these five principles are very dead to all Jains.

The degree of understanding them well depends upon one’s knowledge of the religion. Age factor has nothing to do with it.

Once again, knowledge of the principles and how much importance a Jain grants to them depends on person to person and their situations, conditions and guidance. Modern day to day life is so mechanical that one has little time to fully practice these five principles. Never the less a Jain would think of these five principles before violating them grossly.

23. What divides the Digambras, the “sky clad,” and Svetambras, the “white clad”?[47]

Skyclads follow the attire and way of life as it was dictated by all the twenty-four Tirthankaras even until three hundred years after the last seer in 300 BC. Digambras or Skyclads have always followed the original path and are still following it in India ever since.

24. Where did this division originate?[48]

The Whiteclads or Swatambers came about after 300 BC when a 12 year famine in the province of Magadh (present day State of Bihar) was predicted by a Skyclad monk who advised the followers to go south to survive…

But, some were adamant to stay in Magadh during the famine and had to change themselves according to the calamities of the day. They adopted and amended different principles.

25. What purpose comes from the existence of monks and nuns in Jainism?[49],[50]

Monks and Nuns have a dual purpose in Jainism. Firstly, they want to be in the front of the line for salvation by fully practising the principles of Jainism called Mahavratas.

Second purpose is that they are real examples for the layman in the Jain community.

Frankly, they are the greatest source of encouragement and guidance. They the upholders of the Jain religion without having any authoritative behaviour.

26. According to About (2015), it states:

Jainism is the one of the most ancient religions of India teaching non-violence, peaceful co-existence, a disciplined lifestyle, and limiting possession. It teaches not to hurt any soul by thoughts, speech, and actions. Thus, no injury to all beings, including our ecosystem. It precisely elaborates the route to salvation by reducing all Karmas to zero.[51]

How does the Jain tradition define “salvation” and its end result in zero Karma?[52],[53]

An intensive practice of Jain principles, denying one’s body of pleasure and pain; fasting for long times; walking on foot, controlling even the subtle greed, anger, passions and possessions one reduces Karmas to zero and thus is closer to salvation.

Salvation, according to Jainism, is only possible after shedding all Karmas. Salvation is an eternal abode where the soul remains with it’s own individual identity and possess all virtuous qualities of a liberated soul. This is an abode where the soul does not have to travel to different places and is not subjected to the vagaries and sufferings of Birth, old age and death. The soul ceases the cycle of birth and death.

One must know that Jainism is not one the ancient religions of India. It is the only ancient religion of India. Others are imports into the country. So-called Hinduism based on the Vedas are imports.

Of the Aryans who arrived from the North East.

It is said that in the scriptures that you cannot get Salvation in this world. You cannot get ther because the time there is eternal. We have divided time into six-fold time, and we are in the fifth, which is bad, and the sixth will be horrible, and the fourth was good. Always, the fourth time prevails. So, from there, we have to do penance there. It does not matter if you do it there or here, you cannot have Salvation with penance, and no one is spared – even the Tarthinkars were not spared.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer.” Jain Centre of British Columbia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 22, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[5] In Hinduism (2015), it, in part, states:

Hinduism, major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. Although the name Hinduism is relatively new, having been coined by British writers in the first decades of the 19th century, it refers to a rich cumulative tradition of texts and practices, some of which date to the 2nd millennium bce or possibly earlier. If the Indus valley civilization (3rd–2nd millennium bce) was the earliest source of these traditions, as some scholars hold, then Hinduism is the oldest living religion on Earth. Its many sacred texts in Sanskrit and vernacular languages served as a vehicle for spreading the religion to other parts of the world, though ritual and the visual and performing arts also played a significant role in its transmission. From about the 4th century ce, Hinduism had a dominant presence in Southeast Asia, one that would last for more than 1,000 years.

Hinduism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism.

[6] Indus civilization. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Indus-civilization.

[7] Sanskrit language. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Sanskrit-language.

[8] Southeast Asia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Southeast-Asia.

[9] In Buddhism (2015), it, in part, states:

Buddhism, religion and philosophy that developed from the teachings of the Buddha (Sanskrit: “awakened one”), a teacher who lived in northern India between the mid-6th and the mid-4th centuriesbce (before the Common Era or Christian era). Spreading from India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, Buddhism has played a central role in the spiritual, cultural, and social life of Asia, and during the 20th century it spread to the West.

Buddhism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism.

[10] Buddha. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Buddha-founder-of-Buddhism.

[11] India. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[12] Hinduism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism.

[13] Indus civilization. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Indus-civilization.

[14] Sanskrit language. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Sanskrit-language.

[15] Southeast Asia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Southeast-Asia.

[16] Buddhism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism.

[17] Buddha. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Buddha-founder-of-Buddhism.

[18] Inia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[19] Hinduism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism.

[20] Indus civilization. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Indus-civilization.

[21] Sanskrit language. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Sanskrit-language.

[22] Southeast Asia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Southeast-Asia.

[23] Buddhism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism.

[24] Buddha. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Buddha-founder-of-Buddhism.

[25] India. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[26] Hinduism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hinduism.

[27] Indus civilization. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Indus-civilization.

[28] Sanskrit language. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Sanskrit-language.

[29] Southeast Asia. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Southeast-Asia.

[30] Buddhism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Buddhism.

[31] Buddha. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Buddha-founder-of-Buddhism.

[32] India. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[33] India. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[34] ahimsa. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/ahimsa.

[35] anekantavada. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/anekantavada.

[36] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[37] India. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/India.

[38] ahimsa. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/ahimsa.

[39] anekantavada. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/anekantavada.

[40] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[41] ahimsa. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/ahimsa.

[42] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[43] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[44] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[45] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[46] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[47] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[48] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[49] BBC UK. (2014). Jainism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

[50] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[51] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[52] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[53] karma. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/karma.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three) [Online].July 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, July 22). An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, July. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (July 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):July. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Three) [Internet]. (2016, July); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-three.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 15, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 3,328

ISSN 2369-6885

Anand Jain.jpg

Abstract

An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: falsehoods about Jainism; truths that dispel the falsehoods; greatest difficult as a minority religion in the Lower Mainland; non-Jain to Jain citizen relationships; consideration of other religions from Jainism; motivation for “promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue”; and reason for espousing vegetarianism.

Keywords: Anand Jain, British Columbia, Founder, Jain, Preserver, Sustainer.

An Interview with Anand Jain: Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer.” Jain Centre of British Columbia (Part Two)[1],[2],[3]

*Footnotes throughout the interview and citation style listing after the interview.*

9. If we can explore something a bit, which comes from the specificity of the previous response, then this might be of community value in the short, or long, term. In a very pluralistic society, as Canada is, there can be a lot of superficial knowledge about various religious belief systems. What falsehoods exist about Jainism?[4]

The biggest falsehood is that this is an offshoot of Hinduism. Even most of the Hindus have no knowledge that their first Ved, namely, Rig Veda elaborately mention Jain’s first tirthankar as the first person to teach the civilization and whose son’s name gave the name Bharat to the sub-continent of India.

10. What truths dispel them?[5]

Basically, people are not informed about it. Jains have done a very poor job about informing others simply because they do not want to, they are not in the habit of beating their own drum, which would put them in another category – where they will be accused of proselytizing other people, and also they do not want to be haughty. If somebody wants to learn, there are libraries and temples. Come, we will be happy to tell you about our functions.

Some of them know very well. Some of the pundits know that it is the oldest one. They know that it is a separate entity. If they can say that the other religions came out of that in a different form, then that is true. Some of them still do not want to believe it because the number is not great. Some will say, “If it is such a great and big religion, why are there not a lot of followers?”

The answer is that it is a religion is practice. You have to practice what you are taught. You cannot simply not practice, not being able to do anything and still call yourself religious. Even somebody that is a Jain would not be a Jain, if they do not follow the principles because it is not based on the caste system, it is an action-system. It goes by your acts.

Traditionally, Jains do not tangle in arguing and imposing their religion on others, but the scholars like the Late Dr. Radhakrishnan, the second President of India, and numerous others with knowledge of the history of India clearly wrote that Jainism is an ancient religion separate from Hinduism. This remains a difficult issue where the 80% of the problem of the land are Hindu. Jains do not want to create a problem; since, we are taught to put the country or your land first and religion after. Jains are devout nationalists. When it comes to receiving honours from the President of India in 2015, Jains stole the show. Out of 109 medals, 8 were received by Jains. Being a large majority in India, Hindus think that all is wrote in their book and they believe that Jesus was south Indian Hindu and Christianity was born in India. So, you can judge for yourself.

Like I told my friend, I never sold 22 karat gold. I was a jeweller, but when I see all f the Indians buying 2 karat gold. I can come out and put a smoke screen and say, “Yes, yes! I do sell it.” But that is not. What should I say? I should say I sell diamond watches and 10 Karat. So I should state that that way. But the other religions have a different perspective. They say they sell coffee, Starbucks. No, you brew your own and stay there.

11. Two religious sects in society come to mind to the earlier point about proselytizing to individuals in a society. Whereas the Jains consider national identity first and then religious identity in terms of priorities, and without proselytizing, if one looks at the Jehovah’s Witnesses or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (The Mormons), they tend to come to you. That’s a different methodology for bringing people into the community. To me, that is a poignant point by you.

So if one looks at the demographics of the religions in British Columbia, if you add Roman Catholics and Protestants together, that amounts to about 73% of the Canadian populace with 16.5% for those without religious affiliation, which leaves 10.5% for the rest of the religious demographics of the nation.[6] That is, 89.5% of the Canadian populace have labels as Roman Catholic, Protestant, or No Religious Affiliation, which means the lack of knowledge about the intricacies of small (by demographic numbers, not ethnicity) religions is not deliberate but, rather, a natural and predictable consequence of size compared to the large religious/irreligious labels in the country. What remains the greatest difficulty as a minority religion within the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, and Canada – with some insight into the intricacies?[7],[8],[9]

The greatest difficulty being the availability of Jain food in restaurants and some groceries mainly used by Jains. It is comforting to note that since Jains enjoy a respectable place in Indian society and in educated masses outside India. Jains are given a special welcome by all upon knowledge of their Jain identity.

I, myself, have experience welcome gesture from different quarters when people knew that I am a Jain. My benefactor an Irish Canadian who sponsored my application to come to Canada and gave my first job before arriving in Canada confided in me that he believed Jains to be honest and educated when he took the decision to sponsor me: “Ethics have their worth in gold.” This is my own invented, experienced, proverb.

Don’t love wealth too much. Jains are not worried about what other people do. We are not here to teach other people how to live.

12. How might non-Jain Canadian citizens reach out to Jain Canadian citizens, and their community, in a compassionate, reasonable, and respectful manner, and vice versa – even simple day-to-day words and deeds?[10]

Even before our place in Surrey that we acquired on September 1, 2015, people used to phone me up. People who were really interested in Jains found out. I had a store, a jeweller store that said Jain Jewllers. They would say, “oh, are you a Jain?” And when they read my article in the paper about Diwali being an invention of the Jains, I found it comforting that none of the non-Jains came and discouraged it because it is in the scriptures. In fact, the word Diwali is not in any of the Jain scriptures.

Yet, they emulated. They followed, which is good. Nothing wrong because Mahavira was for everyone, not just the Jains. Now, we have the centre and the telephone and email, and a website. So, they can contact us. I was always available for those who are eager to learn, but I would not go and talk to a person on the street and say, “How about turning into a Jain?” We have all of the books and so on. As long as I am here, I am sure others will be, so there is no problem. We welcome them.

I do believe that most Canadians do respect their fellowman and I always heard praise by Jain-Canadians about how well they were treated by people and fellow workers and employers here in Canada. Almost all Jains are highly educated professionals they manage their affairs intelligently, yet there is a need on the part of the Jain Centre of BC to host an open house or knowledge session for Canadians and non-Jains to come to the Temple and enjoy the philosophy at work.

13. Some religions conceive alternate religions, philosophies, and ways of life as partial truths. For instance, Islam considers adherents of Judaism and Christianity as Ahl al-Kitāb or “People of the Book.”[11],[12],[13],[14] Of course, in the past, this came with the special tax, called jizyah, during the great Caliphate for the non-believers, named dhimmis, belief in non-Islamic religions.[15],[16],[17],[18] Regardless, in comparison to its own considered total truth – internal to itself, where does Jainism hold other religions, philosophies, and ways of life?[19]

At the time of the 24th and last Seer Mahavira of the Jains, there were 363 main religions in India and all were passionate about their own religions and there was a great chaos and violence Mahavir, at that time, invented the theory of relativity (before Einstein brought it to light). He told the masses that the truth is to examine with seven aspects of an object, only then, one can reach the full truth. This way he not only separated himself from one’s own path. On that basis, Jains refrain from argumentative behaviour.

Jains can explain what they believe and should stay away from criticism. Criticism leads to revenge and violence; violence is the one we abhor. Incidentally, once a reporter asked Einstein if he were to believe in transmigration of the soul, in which religion would he want to be born in his next life. His answer was he wanted to be born as a Jain in a Jain family.

14. According to About (2015), the Jain Center of British Columbia states:

Jain Center BC is a non profit organization established in 1984 for the purpose of promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue. Our aim is to provide a place to worship together for Jain followers, learn and promote Jainism. Through this organization we want to support and promote Jain principles of Ahimsa, Aparigraha, and Anekant. We also want to provide a platform to enrich our future generation to learn and value their spiritual heritage. We celebrate Mahavir Jayanti, Paryushan, Das Lakshan, Mahavir Nirvan (Deepawali) besides other celebrations.[20]

What motivates the principles of “promoting non-violence, peaceful co-existence, vegetarianism, and interfaith dialogue”?[21]

Interfaith dialogue brings people of different faiths and beliefs under one umbrella for understanding different religions and tolerance of one another’s way of life. It is a great education for all mankind.

The underlying thing is this, lest we forget. So it is our duty to teach these good habits taught to us through the religion and familial backgrounds, and make sure that they are not encroaching on anyone. Incidentally, even in India, 90% of the Jains are highly educated, here our children are outstanding in school.

I do not want to brag, but I have four daughters. All of them, including myself, are all University of BC graduates. My oldest daughter is a 48-year old. She had been practicing pediatrics for the last 20 years. Another one is a clinical pharmacist and worked fro ten years in a hospital. The third one is a speech pathologist living in the states. The last one graduated as a producer for television and radio.

My friends, their children, most of them are doctors and in good professions, lawyers, and so on. That shows that these teachings have a lot to do with it. Whenever we went to the parent-teacher meeting in West Vancouver, they were very thankful that our children went through their school. And I remember there were two incidents. My daughter was selected valedictorian. Second, another second daughter also served as the host for the dinner, gave a speech, and so on. My wife was saying that my first one got two scholarships, and I do not know about the other daughter, and I said do not worry she will get it too. And she did.

One of the teachers got up and said, “I want to say something. All of my students re equal to me, but if I say Sarita Jain is special to me, then I am not lying.” The only thing I heard from her was that if they can produce a kid like Sarita, then I will become vegetarian. And I said to my wife, “I have accomplished my purpose coming here.”…

I have very, very good moments in these 50 years. I feel happy meeting people. I feel happy not because of making money, but because of having lots of moments. Teaching my kids, seeing them accomplish something, I have ten grandchildren and they are achieving something above the norms. So I am a happy person.

I do not know if you can see my age. What do you think is my age?

65 to 70?

According to my passport, I’ll be 75 in August. But in those days, the babies were born at home. And when we were sent to school, the headmaster in the kindergarten, I remember today. He said, “Because the government exams for civil servant are restricted to people who failed the exam twice after a certain date every year, they cannot sit in the exam.” To my dad, he was saying, “So because of that, why don’t you put the date two years younger.” So, in August, I’ll be 77.

Canada has been good to me.

In Jainism, we are taught not to be jealous or find fault. There are good things everywhere.

15. The leading medical institutions in the world such as the Mayo Clinic espouse the Mediterranean and similar diets. Why vegetarianism?[22]

Vegetarianism has numerous advantages for the society. It keeps us away from animal violence; it helps in maintaining our natural environment; it promotes healthy lifestyle; bones, blood and flesh are not meant for human consumption, one has no right to take any living being’s life. Believe it or not killing brings Bad Karmas.

In my own experience, and this is the truth, one’s own diet is related to the environment the person lives in. If you go far north, you cannot find vegetables. In the Indian subcontinent, the weather is warm. We can grow lots of grains and lots of foods, fruits, and vegetables. India is a land of sages and saints who wanted to pay more attention to their soul rather than their body. They wanted through free will and didn’t want to interfere with their environment.

What I will tell you is an anecdote, 5 people are travelling through a jungle. They are hungry. Suddenly, they find a big mango tree. One says, “I’m hungry, let’s cut it, bring it home, and then we can grow all of the mangoes we want.”

Second person says, “No, no, no, we can take a big part of it, and there will be plenty for us.”

Third person says, “No, no, no, you just take a branch, enough to fill our belly, and leave the rest here.”

A fourth one says, “You know, I am not in favour of cutting anything. I am just in favour of taking what is right for ourselves.”

A fifth person says, “I do not want to do anything because we do not know who owns this and we are not asking its permission, so we just take whatever we have and drop on the ground.”

This is how the Indian culture comes down to, the minimum harm to the environment. Jain philosophy very in tune with that. There is the path that is the minimum harm to the environment. When you play with animals, the dogs, birds, and so on, it feels good. They have a right for their own life, right. It all depends on one’s environment that they live in, their heritage, how they were brought up, the history and location of the land, and we can only speak for ourselves. Even the Jain sages, everything they ever said was negative. They simply explained the results, the qualities. It brings bad Karma even when killing a small life. Even with water, we cannot simply leave the tap open.

For instance, if I have to wash five dishes, I have to take out the leftovers with the utensil, and after the first through fourth, we start to clean one, two, three, four, five with new soap, and that way you use less water. We cannot just breathe in the air for nothing. If there is a need, go ahead, if there is a reason, go ahead. Don’t eat after sunset, or otherwise you get indigestion. Don’t drink water right out of the well or the stream. Now, the municipality will do that.

So, it is a must for us to strain it. Things like that for the Jains. Now, people are finding out it is good for everybody.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer.” Jain Centre of British Columbia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 15, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[5] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[6] According to Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
(Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon)
, the total population of Canada amounts to 29,639,035 with 12,936,905 Roman Catholics and 8,654,850 Protestants, which means 12,936,905+8,654,850/29,639,035 amounts to 72.8%. 4,900,090 label as No Religious Affiliation, which means 4,900,090/29,639,035 amounts to 16.5%. 73%+16.5%=89.5% leaves 10.5% for the other religious categorizations in Canada.

For more information from 2001, Statistics Canada. (2005, January 25). Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
(Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon). Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo30c-eng.htm.

[7] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[8] Vancouver. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Vancouver.

[9] Central Intelligence Agency. (2015). Canada. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ca.html.

[10] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[11] Islam. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Islam.

[12] Judaism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Judaism.

[13] Christianity. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity.

[14] Ahl al-Kitab. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Ahl-al-Kitab.

[15] jizya. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/jizya.

[16] Islam. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Islam.

[17] Ahl al-Kitab. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Ahl-al-Kitab.

[18] Caliphate. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/place/Caliphate.

[19] Jainism. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Jainism.

[20] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[21] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

[22] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). About. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/about/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two) [Online].July 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, July 15). An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, July. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (July 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):July. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part Two) [Internet]. (2016, July); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-two.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 11.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Seven)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2016

Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 2,621

ISSN 2369-6885

Anand Jain.jpg

Abstract

An interview with Anand Jain. He discusses: geographic, cultural, and linguistic family background; the foundation and development of the Jain Centre of British Columbia; memorable moments in its developmental partnership; current status of the Jain Centre of British Columbia; the content and purpose of prayers; the Jain image of heaven and hell; the purpose of community; and the central communal event.

Keywords: Anand Jain, British Columbia, Founder, Jain, Preserver, Sustainer.

An Interview with Anand Jain: Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer,” Jain Centre of British Columbia (Part One)[1],[2],[3]

*Footnotes throughout the interview, and bibliography and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your family background reside?[4]

Old Delhi (walled City), India; North India Culture; Hindi language.

2. You co-founded, and remain a member of the board of directors for, the Jain Center of British Columbia.[5],[6] How did this begin and develop in its early years?[7]

I am actually the founder, preserver and sustainer as I solely registered the society with my own funds and obtained the Federal Government Charitable status for which I had to communicate and convince Revenue Canada to issue Charitable status. I have been the president and director for many years.

My parents always performed worship in the morning at their temple in India. So, we decided to hold it at my home. There were, maybe, three families that we knew at the time. They came home and performed the prayers and so on, which I knew by heart because I was doing these prayers with my dad at the temple when I was even eight years old. When one prays, they take a bath if they want to. They do their prayers close to the altars, go to the bath there, take a long white cloth, and after wearing it, and they are away from worldly affairs, then they go upstairs and have books. All of the utensils and the offerings. And, we start doing prayers there, and then we go and study some more of the scriptures.

Then we would come home, and only then did our mother give us food. So I started from my house, and then later on I had an idea. That when we have more money we should build a temple. It came about because I was still trying to establish myself. And then I discussed the idea of incorporating a society. People told me, “If you want to do it, then do it on your own. You don’t know who’s interested or not interested.” So, I went ahead and then incorporated this society, the Jain Society of BC.

We had, maybe, a dozen Jain members. And one of the members kept saying, “You don’t have the charity number from the government of Canada.” I didn’t worry about that. Then I went ahead and worked very hard and brought in the money. I was the first one. I spent my own money, and I did it. It was my passion, and is still to this day.

Actually, way back, I came in 66’. My parents came in 76’ just to visit. At the time, I invited a few Jains to my home and conducted Jain prayers with Digamber Puja; similar pattern continued on three times a year at my home until 1984 when one prominent Jain Muni visited Vancouver. At the time, he initiated us to form a society and I complied whole-heartedly.

Every now and then and one religious festivals, I invited members at my house or at other member’s home for prayers. I always gathered the prayer items and conducted the prayers leading them myself. With research and past knowledge of Jain prayers and ceremonies, I compiled a manuscript containing salient prayers and printed thirty copies and later revised it with more additional prayers.

Since 1984, we held one prayer meeting every year until 1913 on the occasion of the birthday of Lord Mahavira at a prominent Hindi temple with guest speakers. By this time, we had approximately 30 members who all helped financially. I always made sure that we put some funds in term deposits and between 1984 and 2015, the funds great to $26,000.

Along with the above, we held prayers at a rented hall twice a year.

3. After acquisition of the charity number, what were one or two of the memorable moments in its developmental partnership?

Before I got that number, and even after, I was the only one who used to invite people into my home. Luckily, I still had a bigger home. I still have. Very spacious and nice place. I was the only one who knew the prayers, the routine. And then they came. Some of the closer ones with me. They reciprocated. They hosted some of the prayers at their home, but very few.

After that, the society grew. A lot of newcomers came from Africa, India, and so on. We needed a bigger place. We used to go and rent a place, and some of the big buildings, where they have meeting rooms set up for the tenants and so on. Once in a year, we made sure, after 84’, that a saint came from New Jersey. He advised us to have a society at that time. Formally, the society was formed.

Every year, we used to do a big prayer meeting in a Hindu temple. Until 2013.

4. Where does the Jain Center of British Columbia stand now?,[8]

It’s still in transition because we bought a unit, a warehouse complex that was already approved for public assembly. It had been in operation for 18 years, and their membership was dwindling, and so they sold it to us. It was 2015 that we acquired that. It is in Surrey, British Columbia.

At present, the Jain Centre is in a transitional period of setting up a temple in a strata title public assembly approved warehouse complex in Surrey. We have approximately over 100 families eager to see the full-fledged Jain Temple in July 2016. We have a very efficient and diligent working executive committee with a hard working progressive president.

I do prayers from 10 o’clock.

5. In terms of the content of the prayers and the purpose of the prayers, what are they?

You see, Jainism is very peculiar compared to other religions in terms of antiquity. What happened, the scriptures say, way back, many, many years ago, there was a different system of existence, then came a system where we would be judged by our karmas. At that time, the first teacher, we call him Rishabhanatha, who’s history and teaching are also in the other religious scriptures.

He taught us how to cultivate the land, how to live in the society, reading, writing, arts, and barter in those days. And then that person also told us how to get salvation. He taught us that whatever you do will be debited or credited to your account. If it is debited to your account, you might inherit hell. If it is credited in your account, you might inherit heaven, but still you are subject to life, birth, old age, and death. But when your debits and credits are zero, that is the time that one can attain salvation.

One other peculiar thing about Jainism si that we have 24 seers. And none of them can help us or, or put us in heaven or hell by pleasing them or displeasing them. Whatever is done is done to our own karmas, they are only a means to teach us, or they are not here, only the scripture, we believe, we follow their path. If we emulate their path, only then we can get salvation. If we pray for them, they don’t feel happy.

If we abuse them, they curse us. This is a very good system. Jainism, we are independent. Nobody is controlling us. This is the only religion that is not organized, which is very, very good. Because we don’t believe in dwarfing any other religion, it’s independent thought. So, when we pray, we just recite their lives. And their good deeds and teaching. Non-violence, non-stealing, or understanding the truth, no false pride, things like this.

6. Two questions come to mind, for me. From the Jain scriptures, what is the image of heaven? What is the image of hell?

Very good question, in Jainism, we believe there are 16 stages in heaven, and hell there are seven stages. I took it this way. Even if it is just a thought, it is a very good insight, just like we do in daily life with promotion, promotion, promotion, and demotion, demotion, demotion. The scriptures say that in heaven or hell, one’s lifespan is limited.

So once you’re out of there, one can go into different lives, transmigration of souls. But in heaven, it’s peaceful, luxurious, but even then there are many, let’s say, stages or many elevations like one, two, three, four, five… sixteen. One might feel jealous of the other one. And when one does that again, one can go back to hell. One’s thoughts must be controlled. If we control our thought processes, our actions will be limited.

7. According to President Vijay’s President Message, the Jain Center of British Columbia provides numerous activities and services for its community including the following:

[P]athshala, Hindi classes, performing Satsang every Friday, and performing Pooja and Pravachans everyday during Mahaparyushan par…Jain Pathshala, Hindi Classes, Satsang, Jaina (Jain Association in North America) activities and other activities for Youth that we are planning for this summer. We have also added a Jain Calendar…E-newsletter every three months, comprising of religious articles, health articles, quiz, and Jain recipes.[9]

What purpose does community activity serve to Jains in British Columbia?[10]

All the activities elaborated by Vijay Jain are part and parcel of the Jain Centre of BC and the purpose of such activities is to bring the community closer to each member.

This helps in maintaining our religious tradition; cultural tradition; helping non newcomers in the lower mainland to deal with government and city authorities; introducing pioneers to have liaison for education, jobs and finding housing including advising for the purchase of residence. To make the newcomers at home in a new environment by narrating examples of early settlers. In the past, I have helped many lone students in their teens coming to study in the lower mainland universities with setting up their accommodation, transportation and early free lodging and boarding at my house.

The main purpose is to bring them together where they have a place to come together, share their sorrows, get some advice from each other. It’s like intermingling. Jainism has a very good principle that says we all have to live together and one person cannot live alone because the society is interdependent on one another. Keeping in mind that philosophy: birds of a kind flock together. At the same time, we have to be very friendly, open, helpful, towards our neighbour. That’s the whole religion. Mainly the newcomers come and usually do not know, like if I go to a new country. Usually, if somebody helps us, it is a boon. That is the purpose.

8. What remains the Jain Center of British Columbia’s central communal event?[11]

Couple picnics in the summer every year. At this time, the membership freely intermingles with each other and open-heartedly talk their achievements and problems. Kids enjoy meeting and playing with other kids.

Central communal event, we have mainly went to Mahavira’s or Lord Mavi’s birthday. Sometimes March and sometimes April because of the Indian calendar. Sometimes in September, we have our fasting days, and ten days of brooding, thinking on ourselves with all of the teachings that have been given to us. All that they mean, and how we can incorporate them into our lives.

And the third is Diwali. Most people do not know that Diwali is the invention of the Jains. I wrote this article, or I had an interview, like the one I’m doing with you right now, with the Vancouver Sun reporter one day. Ten years ago, at least. He said, “How do the Jains celebrate Diwali?” The Jains celebrate Diwali because the Jains invented Diwali. Lord Mahavira had nirvana on this day. So, that’s a big day for us. Those three are important. Since we’re in a situation with this new location, that once a month we have a general prayer, where everybody is invited. One of the people can sponsor it. I go for that. If there is no sponsor, the center will be the sponsor for it.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Founder, and “Preserver and Sustainer,” Jain Centre of British Columbia.

[2] Individual Publication Date: July 8, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com; Full Issue Publication Date: September 1, 2016 at https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

[3] Photograph courtesy of Anand Jain.

[4] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/board-of-directors/.

[5] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/.

[6] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/board-of-directors/.

[7] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Board of Directors. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/board-of-directors/.

[8] Jain Center of British Columbia. (2015). Jain Center of British Columbia. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/.

[9] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/president-message/.

[10] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/president-message/.

[11] Jain, V. (n.d.). President’s Message. Retrieved from http://jaincenterbc.org/president-message/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One) [Online].July 2016; 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, July 8). An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A, July. 2016. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 11.A (July 2016). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 11.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 11.A (2016):July. 2016. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Anand Jain (Part One) [Internet]. (2016, July); 11(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-anand-jain-part-one.

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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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