Originally founded in 1971, the Jain Samaj of USA (JSOU) was started with the intention of gathering the people of Mevada Samaj, who had recently migrated to America. The first meeting was held in 1973 at 215 Park Avenue, Hoboken, New Jersey as the Shree Visha Mevada Digamber Jain Samaj.
From that moment, the Samaj has grown rapidly with the support and cooperation from its proud members. Currently, there are hundreds of families registered as members and many families registered as Life Time members.
The JSOU continues to do a remarkable job of integrating the traditional Jain values and religion into the American culture. It inspires people of all ages to follow the Jain religion.
Established and originally founded in 1971, the Jain Samaj of USA was the first vision of what has now turned into a reality of the first completely Digambar Jain Temples outside of India.
The focus of this temple and its committee is to integrate the ancient beliefs of Jainism into the daily lives of all its ardent followers. The temple conveys the Jain teachings of a life of doing no harm to anyone or anything, as well as renouncing all material belongings as a way to attaining the ultimate goal of nirvana, or eternal peace.
And while the overarching goals remain true of all branches of the Jain religion, there remains significant differences, especially between the main Digambar and Swetambar sects.
As a Digambar Temple, the first and most significant difference can be seen in the pratimas, or statues, of the Tirthankars. These pratimas remain unadorned and with closed eyes which differentiate them from their Swetamber counterparts. Digambars believe that by presenting the Tirthankars with closed eyes and no material belongings, the worshiper is guided on the path to realize a Jain’s true state of being.
Currently, there are 11 pratimas that reside in the temple. They include:
Parshwanath, Mahavirsami, Adinath, Santinath, Chandraprabhu, Bahubali, Sarswati, Dharnenra, Padmavati, and Shasendevi