Date of Award

8-2000

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Falk

Second Advisor

Dr. Susanne Mrozik

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Wilson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

When people migrate into new geographical locales where they, and their religion, are relative new arrivals, they must try to how to balance their desire for continuity in their familiar cultural and religious practice with the need for accommodation to the constraints imposed upon them by their new circumstances. These immigrants must also try to decide what rituals, traditions, and practices are fundamental to their religion/culture and which of them are flexible. The goal of this thesis is to illustrate a specific struggle to balance cultural/religious continuity and change in the Jain Center in Bartlett, Illinois: sectarian interaction.

The Bartlett Jain Center and community demonstrate this sectarian interaction in two specific ways: temple architecture and ritual practice. Although the main three Bartlett Jain sects present harmoniously share the temple for many functions, they primarily perform rituals in relative autonomy. The type of ritual discussed in this work is puja, specifically the puja performed during Mahavira Jayanti, Mahavira's birthday celebration. Lastly, this thesis explores a temple in the Bartlett Jain Center entirely devoted to a non-Tirthankara who stressed the dangers of sectarian division in religion, Shrimad Rajachandra: the only one of its kind in the United States.

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