BUENA PARK, Calif. - Adherents to the ancient Indian religion of Jainism have held a weekend conference in California to consider ways to apply their faith to modern living.
The teachings of the centuries-old religious philosophy inspired Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent protests. Jains believe, for example, that even microbes in the air and water are sacred life and any action that impacts other living things -- such as driving or using electricity -- can add to bad karma.
The faith's Western evolution is being talked about openly and with greater urgency. Since the tiny ex-pat community arrived in the 1960s, the faith has established itself with a national umbrella organization, youth groups and more than 100 temples, including an enormous one south of Los Angeles.
This weekend's conference was held at the new Center for Jain Studies at Claremont Lincoln University.
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