Jainism is a religious-philosophical system rooted in ancient India with diaspora communities around the world. One of the tradition’s hallmarks is the philosophical commitment of nonviolence (ahiṃsā) toward all living beings. In this study I explore how Jains enact new transnational modes of “being Jain” in response to COVID-19. Drawing upon multimedia Jain resources created from March 2020 through July 2021, I argue that North American Jains approach the pandemic as an opportunity to reinterpret the “practical” value of the Jain commitment to nonviolence by (1) giving epistemic primacy to medical knowledge, complemented with spiritualized narratives of healing; (2) admitting a diversity of Jain philosophical perspectives on the present pandemic; (3) identifying the positive potential of the pandemic for personal and social development; (4) promoting sectarian unity and intergenerational adaptability among Jains; and (5) fostering public service and charitable work as a form of transcultural social-political belonging.

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