This data was last updated on 28 September 2018.
History: The Jain Sangh of New England was founded in 2000 by a group of Svetambar Jain families, who decided to separate from the Jain Center of Greater Boston with the goal of promoting more traditional Jain practice for the Svetambar Jains in the Greater Boston area. The opening of the derasar (temple) was marked by a ceremony of installation of a marble murti (icon) of tirthankara Mahavira (the historical founder of Jainism), which was donated by one of the founding member families. For the first three years, the temple was housed in an office space in Burlington. In 2003, the temple was relocated to a new space in a professional building complex in Woburn.
Description: The derasar (temple) is now located in an office space with a smaller separate room that houses a large marble murti of Mahavira surrounded by a number of smaller murtis of other Jain tirthankaras (Jain “ford makers” or spiritual pathfinders). The main area is used for worship, lectures, discussion groups, and social activities. The main hall is traditionally decorated and contains photographs of murtis and Jain temples as well as a large painting of a Jain pilgrimage site in India. A smaller room serves as a storage space and a changing room for those wishing to put on clean clothes before services. In October 2009, the Sangh purchased a property in Burlington, Massachusetts, with the hopes of developing a purpose-built -- and “properly consecrated” -- derasar.
Activities and Schedule: The Sangh performs regularly scheduled Arthi and Mangal Divo flame-offering rites that are conducted by volunteers on weekdays from 7:15 P.M. until 7:45 P.M. and at varied times on the weekends. A Mahavira Puja Mandal, a service commemorating tirthankara Mahavira, is conducted on the fourth Sunday of each month. The temple also hosts lectures by Jain scholars. Both services and lectures are conducted primarily in Gujarati. In addition, the center celebrates annual holidays including Paryushana Parva (the most important Jain festival of the year), Mahavira Nirvana Din (celebration of Mahavira’s spiritual liberation), Gautam Swamino Din (Jain New Year), Mahavira Jayanti (the birthday of Mahavira), Ayambil Oli (a period of fasting), and Diwali (the festival of lights). All activities are followed by Jain vegetarian meals. The Sangh also organizes an annual picnic in late summer with cricket playing and a vegetarian picnic. On the first Sunday of every month there is a pathshala, or Sunday school, for both adults and children. The center also hosts a fortnightly swadhyay, a religious study and discussion group. Visitors are welcome, but are advised to confirm the timing of the events.