Jainism in Europe

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The Jain symbol that was agreed upon by all Jain sects in 1974.
Jain temple in Antwerp, Belgium

The credit of introducing Jainism to the West goes to a German scholar Hermann Jacobi who translated some Jain literature and published it in the series 'Sacred Books of East' in 1884.[1] In Europe, the largest Jain populations are in Britain with a population of about 25,000 (as of 2006).[2]

Jains living outside India belong to various traditions, Digambara, Shvetambara, Terapanthi, Sthanakvasi, Shrimad Rajchandra are all represented.[3] In many cases, they gather and worship together in spite of sectarian differences.

Jainism in Belgium

The Jain community in Europe, especially in Belgium, is mostly involved in the diamond business.[4]

The Jains in Belgium are estimated to be around about 1500 people. The majority live in Antwerp, working in the wholesale diamond business. Belgian Indian Jains control two-thirds of the rough diamonds trade and supplied India with roughly 36% of their rough diamonds.[5] They are building a major temple in Wilrijk (near Antwerp), with a cultural centre.[6] Their spiritual leader, Ramesh Mehta, is a full-fledged member of the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders put up on 17 December 2009.[7]

Jainism in the United Kingdom

The Jain centre on Oxford Street

As of 2006, there are around 25,000 Jains in the United Kingdom.[8]

One of the first Jain settlers, Champat Rai Jain, was in England during 1892-1897 to study law. He established the Rishabh Jain Lending Library in 1930. Later, he translated several Jain texts into English.[9]

Leicester houses one of the world's few Jain temples outside of India.[10] There is an Institute of Jainology at Greenford, London.[11]

The last decade has seen the growth of the Jain community in Greater London. Currently the Jain Network have a derasar in Colindale and The Mahavir Foundation in Kenton.

Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur also have UK centres in [null Leicester, London and Manchester].[12]


  • 1847: Vegetarian Society established in UK.
  • 1873: Hermann Jacobi encounters Jain texts in London. He later visited India to further study and translate some of them.
  • 1891-1901: M.K. Gandhi in London corresponds with Shrimad Rajchandra regarding questions raised by missionaries.
  • 1893 : Virchand Gandhi captivates western world with his participation in First ever World religion Parliament at Chicago. And thereafter had huge fan followings from US and Europe.
  • 1892: Champat Rai Jain (C.R. Jain) in England during 1892-1897, to study law. He established a Jain library. Later he translated several Jain texts into English.[13]
  • 1906-1910: Jugmandar Lal Jaini (J.L. Jaini) at Oxford as a law student.
  • 1909: J. L. Jaini created the Jain Literature Society in London together with F. W. Thomas and H. Warren.[14]
  • Hemchandra’s "Yogasastra" was first translated into Japanese in the 1920s![15]
  • 1930: the Rishabh Jain Lending Library was established by Champat Rai Jain.
  • Tattvartha Sutra and the Dashavaikalika Sutra were translated in the 1940s.[15]
  • 1949: The World Jaina Mission, founded in London, by M. McKay, W. H. Talbot, F. Mansell, and Mrs. K. P. Jain.
  • Forty Japanese students were sponsored by the Govt. of India in the early 1950s to live and study in India – some of them studied Navinaya in Varanasi and Gujrat, which led to new interest in the study of Jainism in Japan; one of the accomplishments was the first Japanese book by Minakata Kumagusu to simplify and translate the concepts of Jainism into Japanese for use by the common people in Japan.[15]
  • 1971: Idi Amin expelled Indians from Uganda. Jains from Eastern Africa started migrating to UK.
  • 1973: Jain Samaj Leicester was formed.[16]
  • 1979: An old church building in Oxford Street, in heart of Leicester was bought and named the Jain Centre.
  • 1980: The Jain Samaj was expanded as a European body.
  • 1980: First Digamber Temple outside India established in Kenya.[17]
  • In the early 1980s, the Jain Society of Toronto was founded and the first Jain Center was established in that city[18]
  • 1982: Jain Samaj opened an office in London, The All India (Overseas) Jinalaya Samiti, was created to complete the temple according to the plans drawn by the architects from Leicester, Bombay and Ahmedabad.
  • 1983: On 10 November, Shilanyas ceremony the laying of the foundation stones for the first fully consecrated Jain Temple in the western world, was performed.
  • 1984 : On 14 December, the Anjanshalaka ceremony was carried at Pali (Rajasthan) for the images of Shree Shantinath, Shree Mahavirswami and Shree Parswanath.
  • 1985 : On 25 August, the above images were placed in the Jain Centre, Leicester.
  • 1988 : On 8 July, images were entered in Garbagriha (permanent place of adobe) and the Pratistha Mahatosova was celebrated for 16 days starting from 8 July 1988 to 23 July 1988.
  • 1992 The Jain Cultural Centre of Antwerpen VZW was formed with 12 committee members and 52 founder members. And land for Jain temple and meditation centre (upashray) was purchased.
  • 2001 Construction of Antwerp Jain temple and meditation hall began.
  • 2007 Antwerp Jain idols Anjanshalaka took place on 31 January in India and was performed by 'Jain Saints Acharyashri Subodhsagarji, Acharyashri Manohar KiritiSagarsuriji, Acharyashri Udaykirtisagarsuriji ' and also Shri Narendra Hiralal.
  • 2008 On 25 August the idols were brought to Antwerp soil by air, followed by a huge procession.
  • 2010 On 27 August in Antwerp the idols pratistha was performed

Photo gallery

See also


  1. "Jainism at a Glance". Jainstudy.org. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Religions - Jainism: Jainism at a glance". BBC. 2009-08-27. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions - Mark Juergensmeyer - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "An Introduction to Jainism: History, Religion, Gods, Scriptures and Beliefs". Kwintessential.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International ... - Devesh Kapur - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Interdisciplinair Centrum Religiestudie & Interlevensbeschouwelijke Dialoog – Faculteit Theologie en religiewetenschappen KU Leuven" (in Nederlands). Kuleuven.be. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Presentation of the Belgian Council of Religious Leaders". Orthodox Archdiocese of Belgium and Exarchate of the Netherlands and Luxemburg. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Religions - Jainism: Jainism at a glance". BBC. Retrieved 2013-09-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "on www.jainsamaj.org ( Jainism, Ahimsa News, Religion, Non-Violence, Culture, Vegetarianism, Meditation, India. )". Jainsamaj.org. Retrieved 2013-09-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The Jain Centre, Leicester. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
  11. Kurt Titze, Klaus Bruhn, Jainism: a pictorial guide to the religion of non-violence, p. 264
  12. "Abroad Centres - Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur". www.shrimadrajchandramission.org. Retrieved 2016-05-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. BARRISTER CHAMPAT RAI JAIN (1867 - 1942)
  14. "Microsoft Word - The Invention of Jainism _without photo_" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Mehta, Dr. Manish. "Article Archive | 9th Jaina Studies Workshop - Jainism And Modernity - A Manish Mehta Report". Herenow4u.net. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Jain Samaj Europe". Jaincentre.com. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Anupreksha Jain, Gnayak Jain, Samil Shah (webmaster), Nirav Gudhka (webmaster), Suchita Shah, Sheetal Shah. "Shree Digamber Jain Association". Sdja.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-21. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Michael Lambek. A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion. Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved 2012-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links