Sometimes before 1990, a handful of Jain families in Columbus, Ohio â€“ who used to get together at each othersâ€™ homes to practice Pratikraman* and Samayik* often talked about a need to have a common place where all (not only those who know each other but anyone and all) can come and practice Jain religion. Well, this talk went on among families in social-setups for a while when a few other families also joined.
A need to perform Puja and other rituals were added to the list. First such Snatrapuja was held at the Old Bhartiya Hindu Temple in Westerville. All of those participating families were invited to attend the Snatrapuja and lo, a conceptual form was born of a Jain center. The home-based practice was shifted to the old Bhartiya Hindu Temple. It began on a monthly basis but soon it became a weekly event. The family meetings began to become regular so much so that the Hindu Temple management noted that the Jain community was using the temple facility more often than any other communities. As a result, they asked us that we help the Hindu temple with a rent. A need to form a formal committee arose to handle monetary issues such as mentioned. A tax-exempt status was obtained under the name – Jain Center of Central Ohio (JCOCO) and a constitution was written in 1991.
All who were present during the foundation days had a common understanding that Jain Center is not formed to run it like an ordinary business, but is run in light of principles of Jain Darshan. It is not to simply carry out usual work, but it is an opportunity to put some of the Jain principles in practice – with a necessary discrimination. In this way, serving a committee is a demanding Jain practice, requiring diligence as well as alertness.
To offer a trustworthy and structured ground for projecting a common voice of all Jains for promoting principles of Jain religion, providing Jain education to the community, and celebrating Jain social and cultural events in a manner that is compassionate, vibrant, & dynamic to all. In doing so, the organization shall execute its affairs ethically based on a sound infrastructure and responsible conduct.
To establish an inspiring Jain lifestyle that focuses on youth involvement, boasts the highest membership among Jain Centers outside of India, demonstrates having a positive impact on every stakeholder, grows financially to a stable and sustainable debt-free position, becomes a "can't live without" for the community, and attracts visitors as a "must visit" place on Chicago's list.