Religions - Jainism



Jainism began around 500 BC in India.


Nataputta Vardhamana, known as Mahavira, 'great hero'.


The Jain Agamas and Siddhantas.


About six million, almost exclusively in Central and South India, especially in Bombay.


There are two sects. The Digambara ('sky-clad') sect holds that a saint should own nothing, not even clothes, thus their practice of wearing only a loincloth. They believe that salvation in this birth is not possible for women. The Svetambara ('white-robed') sect disagrees with these points.


Jainism strives for the realization of the highest perfection of man, which in its original purity is free from all pain and the bondage of birth and death. The term Jain is derived from the Sanskrit jina, 'conqueror', and implies conquest over this bondage imposed by the phenomenal world. Jainism does not consider it necessary to recognize a God or any being higher than the perfect man. Souls are beginning-less and endless, eternally individual. It classes souls into three broad categories: those that are not yet evolved; those in the process of evolution and those that are liberated, free from rebirth. Jainism has strong monastic-ascetic leanings, even for householders. Its supreme ideal is ahimsa, equal kindness and reverence for all life. The Jain Agamas teach great reverence for all forms of life, strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, nonviolence even in self-defense, and opposition to war. Jainism is, above all, a religion of love and compassion.

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