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Reflecting and contemplating on friendship: Maitri Bhavana concept in Jainism
Jainism lays emphasis on the self-reflection on thought process by a human being. According to Jain philosophy, an individual's behavior and actions are the outcomes of his or her thoughts. Therefore, Jainism recommends its followers to contemplate and reflect or meditate the following twelve thoughts or Bhavnas and Maitri Bhavana or meditation on friendship being the most prominent. Thus, in Jainism, 'Bhavana' stands for reflections or contemplation on a thought or concept.
It is believed that contemplation on friendship initiates a feeling of love, being connected, tolerance and fellow-feeling among all and in turn leaves no room for harm and deceit among people. With continuous contemplation on friendship, the thoughts and feelings of friendship get ingrained in the mind and result in amicable actions. As a Jain, Heena Modi, puts it from the preaching of Jinas, "Think to be a friend of all beings in this universe. Once you are a friend, you cannot think badly of anyone, but rather you'd wish to make their life easier."


According to Jain Philosophy, if one contemplates on Maitri Bhavana, his or her thoughts, words, and actions will not be harsh, and he or she will not hurt anybody. Thus, contemplation on friendship leads the practitioner to be tolerant, forgiving, and caring for all and avoiding bad karma.


Friendship toward all is a basic fact of peaceful coexistence. It is believed that reflection upon this basic fact of life leads to purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of Jainism. As a practice, the reflecting on Maitri Bhawana is also called Anupreksha. Jain monks at times hold Anupreksha training sessions to develop and strengthen Maitri Banana among their followers.
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