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Diverse Ethics - Atul Shah - Wisdom Blog

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Group photo of the VIPs gathered on this special day. All photos - Ajay Mehta, Ki-Rin



We have long been passionate about helping leaders explore wisdom traditions, and learn from direct experience of their timelessness. On 30th September 2017 a group of VIP’s were hosted by the Oshwal Centre in Potters Bar, London, for their Jain Ayambil Festival. It was a beautiful sunny day, and members of the community welcomed the visitors with big smiles. We started with a tour of the temple and its lovely sculpture garden, followed by a community festive lunch, prepared by volunteers and served by them, and finally ended with a two hour dialogue on the themes of culture, ethics, diversity and leadership.

Among the visitors were Lord Andrew Phillips, a former Chancellor of Essex University, John Christensen, founder of the hugely successful Tax Justice Network, Ajay Mehta, Senior Independent Board member of NHS, Mr Nick Barnard, Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, faculty and staff from the University of Suffolk, London School of Economics and other organisations. Here is what Nick Barnard said after the event:

“Thank you very much, and thank you for the excellent day on Saturday. The tour of the temple was excellent and it was very good to participate in the Ayambil meal. I found the discussion afterwards was stimulating and thought-provoking. It was very good to meet this interesting group of people with such a wealth of  experience and to discuss some very important issues.”

Nick Barnard, Victoria and Albert Museum

“There is nothing to rival first hand engagement with the previously unknown. So it proved with my visit to the Jain temple at Potters Bar, hosted by Professor Atul Shah. It was much easier to relate to than I had expected, aided and abetted as it was by the universal goodwill that welcomed us warmly. In an age of enfeebled ethics, we are indeed fortunate to have the Jains in our midst.”

Lord Andrew Phillips

Mr Jayesh Shah, Minister of Religion at Oshwal Centre, welcomed the guests warmly, and shared the meaning of the festival, and the deep respect the Jains have for knowledge and scholarly wisdom. It is a festival of fasting and detoxification, designed to heal and cure the body, and encourage the pursuit of spiritual goals and wisdom. Many Jains do this fasting of one meal a day for nine days and this year there were nearly 200 such people all over the country fasting together.

The leaders dialogue, which brought out various aspects of ethics, culture and diversity

We are deeply grateful to staff and volunteers at Oshwal Centre who made our visit so warm and nourishing, in particular Mr. Manu Shah, the General Manager. He is truly a master juggler, with a calm ever-present smile, and a deep love for the community.

Article added on 7th October 2017 at 3:04pm