What is Jainism?

Jainism is ascetic religion and it originated from India around 6th century B.C. this religion propagates non-violence towards all the living beings and the followers are asked to live a harmless life with minimal use of nature’s resources. In Jainism, the ultimate goal is to liberate soul from all the Karma and achieve deliverance. Followers of this religion are around five million and are found mostly in India.

According to Jainism, everything has ‘Jiva’ and it is translated as the ‘Soul’. This soul, according to the religion, is trapped in cycle of rebirths. Hence, this religion says that one should escape the cycle of rebirths and ultimately achieve moksha or liberation.

For achieving liberation, Jainism gives three jewels.They are right conduct, right knowledge, and right belief. Latter refers to avoiding any preconception and seeing clearly. Right knowledge relates to understanding real universe which Jain scriptures say. Right conduct is making oneself free from all the attachments and avoiding any harm to the living beings.

Jains don’t believe in any god or any supreme being. This religion says that universe doesn’t have any end or beginning. There is no creator either. People who get moksha or liberation or release from cycle of rebirth in living form are known as Jinas or ones who have overcome. The people who have reached this stage can be considered as gods or the divine beings who have attained perfection.

Jainism

Jainism also advocates Karma where in the bad thoughts or actions attract karma. This is viewed by Jains as physical substance. There is some karma which is can affect outcome of rebirths. For attaining liberation, it is necessary to burn away all the karma. All the passion too needs to be eliminated so there are no attachments. Once this happens, the soul attains a blissful state.

Jainism also emphasizes lack of any dependence on the different material possessions. Lot of Jains believe that they should have least possible material possessions. There is one section of the religion which do not wear any clothes at all. They are called ‘sky clad’ or digambaras. They practise nudity as a part of renunciation of all material possessions. All Jains nuns or monks need to take 5 vows — renouncing all material possessions, chastity, not stealing, truth telling, and non-violence.

A major figure in Jainism is Mahavira, an Indian man in 6^th century BC. A lot of scholars believe that he was contemporary of Buddha. Jainism share a lot of beliefs with Buddhism and Hinduism.

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