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About Jainism

 

Jainis

Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul toward divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called a jina ("conqueror" or "victor"). The ultimate status of these perfect souls is called siddha. Ancient texts also refer to Jainism as shraman dharma (self-reliant) or the "path of the nirganthas" (those without attachments or aversions).

 

The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Among the five great vows taken by Jain ascetics, non-violence is the first and foremost. Jains believe in reincarnation; the soul is trapped in the cycle of birth and death (samsara) due to the actions of karmic particles. They emphasize that liberation can be achieved through the three jewels of Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. According to Jains, reality is multifaceted, and humans can grasp only a partial understanding of reality. This has led to the development of doctrines like Anekantavada (theory of multiple viewpoints), Syadvada (theory of conditional predication) and Nayavada (theory of partial viewpoint). Jains follow the teaching of 24 Tirthankara (ford-makers). Contemporary Jainism is divided into two major sects, Digambara and Svetambara.

 

Jainism has its roots in the Indus Valley Civilization, reflecting native spirituality prior to the Indo-Aryan migration into India. Some scholars have suggested that the shramana traditions were separate and contemporaneous with Indo-Aryan religious practices of the historical Vedic religion.

 

Jainism is a religious minority in India, with 4.2 million followers, and has adherents in immigrant communities in Belgium, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and elsewhere. Jains have the highest degree of literacy for a religious community in India, and several Jain libraries are the oldest in the country.

 

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