Jainism is one of the oldest religion in the world. It believes in the cyclical nature of the universe. Jains are the followers of 'Jinas' which means conqueror. To conquer love and pleasure, hatred and pain, and thereby freeing his/her vices from the karmas obscuring love, knowledge, perception, truth and ability is called a Jina. Jainism is also a syncretistic religion which contains many elements similar to both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Origins of Jainism
Origin of Jainism dates back before the beginning of Pre-historic culture. Since its existence more than 5000 years ago, Jainism has never compromised its core principle of non-violence. Rather it upholds non-violence as its supreme religion in the following words of Ahimsa paramo Dharmah and has strictly emphasized its practice at all levels.
Principles of Jainism
Ahimsa or Non-Violence is considered to be the most basic doctrine of Jain Philosophy. Traditionally, Jain code of conduct are made up of 5 vows; Ahimsa, Satya or truthfulness, Asetya or non-Stealing, Aparagriha or non- possessiveness, and Brahmacharya or chastity.
Concept of Vegetarianism in Jainism emanated from Jiva-Daya or the concept of compassion for living beings. Vegetarianism is often seen as an extension of the concept of non-violence and peaceful, cooperative existence. Jains are strict vegetarians and consumed only from the one sensed plant kingdom for survival and with minimal use of violence. Everyone is bound by the karma (one's accumulated good and bad deeds).The objective of Jainism is to liberate oneself from the cycle of life and death called Moksha. One who's able to achieve Moksha is called a Siddha.
Jainism is a religious system in India practiced by over 5 million people. It rose as a protest against the over-developed ritualism of Hinduism particularly its sacrificial cults and the authority of the Vedas. Jain tradition teaches that a tirthankaras of 24 gurus originated the religion and the last tirthankara (Saint) Mahavira seems to more crucial.
He preached the concept of truth to people from all walks of life. He divided his followers into four folds; monk(Sadhu), nun(Sadhvi), Shravak(layman) and Shravika (Laywoman).
Jains are usually recommended to pass through 4 phases in their lifetime; the stage of a Brahmacharyaor student life; Gruhasth-ashrama or family life; Vanaspratha ashrama or family and social services; and sanyast-ashrama or life as a monk or period of renunciation. Digambaras Jains are more ascetic than Shvetambaras and even reject clothing. Generally agreed that Jainism is a religion with a scientific perspective.
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