Padmanabh Jaini: Biography

Padmanabh Shrivarma Jaini is a well-known scholar of Jainism and Buddhism. He was born in India, but now lives in Berkeley, California, United States. He is a representative of a Digambar Jain family, but is also versed in the Digambara and Svetambara forms of Jainism. He is a renowned lecturer who taught at a variety of universities and schools, including the Banaras Hindu University, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and at the University of California at Berkeley, from which he retired in 1994. Professor Jaini has written an array of books and papers. His most famous book titled "The Jaina Path of Purification" was published in1979. Some of his best known articles are: "The Collected Papers on Jaina Studies" (2000) and "Collected Papers on Buddhist Studies" (2001).
Jain Svetambara Jaini was born in Nellikar, a small town not far from Moodabidri, Karnataka, India. His father had changed his caste name of Shetty into Jaini, after Jugmandar Lal Jaini (1881-1927), the famous Jain scholar. After graduating from elementary school, he continued his education in Digambara Jain Gurukul, a boarding school in Vidharbha, Maharashtra that was promoting traditional Jain principles. There he got acquainted with contemporary Jain scholars, such as Pandit Nathuram Premi, Dr. Hiralal Jain, Dr. A.N. Upadhye.
Having finished his secondary education here, he entered Arts College at Nashik where he was awarded the degree of BA hons in 1947 in Sanskrit and Prakrit. While studying in college he used to work as a superintendent of a Jain Svetambara Hostel and this is when he got to know the Svetambara community for the first time.
Having graduated, Padmanabh Shrivarma Jaini was offered to continue his studying with Pandit Sukhlal Sanghavi, a famous scholar of the Sthanakvasi Jain tradition. He met with Sanghavi daily to master his knowledge in Jain logic and had a chance to learn much about Sanghavi's views on various sectarian debates and controversial issues. Sukhlalji encouraged him to study Pali canon so Jaini decided to continue his post graduate education in Sri Lanka, where he specialized in Pali Canon and Buddhist scriptures. In Sri Lanka he became a Dharmananda Kosambi memorial Scholar and was awarded Tripatakacarya degree in 1951 at the residence of the Prime Minister Senanayake. He later described the years spend studying there and knowledge obtained there, the Theravada Buddhism philosophy and practices in particular, in his first publication in Gujarati, "Ceylonman Be Varsa" (Two Years in Ceylon).
Having returned to India he worked as a lecturer in Ahmedabad and then in Pali in Benaras university. From 1956 to 1957 he was a lecturer in Pali and Sanskrit with SOAS, London. There he got his Ph.D. in Buddhist work, Abhidharmadipa, supervised by John Borough. He travelled much to Burma, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand where he researched and collected different Buddhist manuscripts which he then edited and translated. After that he worked at University of Michigan as professor of Indic Languages and Literature till 1972. From 1972 to 1994 he was a professor of Buddhist studies in Department of South and Southeast Asian studies, University of Berkeley, California. Having retired, he continued lecturing as Professor Emeritus of the University. The University even established "Padmanabh S. Jaini Graduate Student Award in Buddhist Studies" to honor outstanding achievements of graduate students in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley celebrating Professor Jaini's contribution in the field of Buddhist studies.
Latest Works
Jaini, Padmanabh (1998). The Jaina Path of Purification. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1578-5. (First edition in 1979)
Jaini, Padmanabh (1991). Gender and Salvation: Jaina Debates on the Spiritual Liberation of Women. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1691-9.
Jaini, Padmanabh (2001). Collected Papers on Buddhist Studies. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1776-1.
Padmanabh Jaini & Mark Tully (2009). Christianity and Jainism : An Interfaith Dialogue. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay. ISBN 978-81-88769-42-1.