Mr Dashim Shah speaking to his Catholic guests at the Singapore Jain Religious Society.

Non-violence, respect for different views and non-possessiveness.

These are the three pillars of Jainism, some 30 Catholics learnt when they visited the Singapore Jain Religious Society on Feb 27.

The visit was organised by the Archdiocesan Council for Inter-Religious and Ecumenical Dialogue (IRED) as part of its ongoing programme to help Catholics appreciate other faith communities better.

During the two-hour visit, Mr Dashim Shah, president of the Jain society, screened videos about the religion, which has about only five million members around the world.

The visitors learnt that Jains are vegetarians and their religion, which bears similarities to Buddhism, advocate attitudes and behaviour which would liberate one from the cycle of deaths and rebirths.

Jainism is a way of life, and there is no creator god in this religion, the Catholic visitors learnt.

Jains came to Singapore at the start of the last century. There are at present about 2,000 Jains in the country.

A lively question-and-answer session followed the video presentation, which saw the visitors asking questions on the various practices and beliefs of Jains.

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