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What is Jainism?: 

What is Jainism? At least 2500+ years old Followed by 3 - 4 million people mostly in India Life affirming but world-denying Seeks to release the soul from the round of rebirth, to liberate spirit from matter Ahimsa – non-violence – is the hallmark of this spiritual discipline No creator god Spiritual life is primarily moral rather than ritualistic

The founders of Jainism: 

The founders of Jainism 24 Tirthankaras (“ford maker”): great teachers Going back countless thousands of years before recorded history Mahavira (“great hero”) – the 24th and final Tirthankara – reformer of ancient Jainism Nataputta Vardhamana Lived 599 - 527 BCE in northeast India 30 years as student (never married) 12 years as ascetic renunciant 30 years as spiritual teacher (tirthankara)

Jain Beliefs: Spiritual Beings: 

Jain Beliefs: Spiritual Beings Jina: (conqueror) an enlightened being who has conquered material existence and released the soul from the round of rebirth Tirthankara: a jina who is a great spiritual teacher Siddha: a liberated soul The goal of Jainism: to become a Jina, thus freeing one’s soul from the material realm we can all become “gods” but these gods do not intervene or respond to petitionary prayer

Jain Beliefs: Jiva & Ajiva: 

Jain Beliefs: Jiva & Ajiva Jiva = life-giving spirit (soul) Ajiva = inert/non-living matter All living beings contain soul and are considered Jiva (soul trapped in matter): Humans Animals Plants Microscopic life-forms trapped in matter (water beings, rock beings, fire beings, air beings)

Jain Beliefs: Karma & Reincarnation: 

Jain Beliefs: Karma & Reincarnation Karma: impurity of the soul that keeps the soul bound to the cycle of rebirth into matter Karma is built-up through actions in this world: thoughts, words, deeds, attitudes Reduce and eliminate karma so as to achieve moksha (nirvana)– release of the soul from the cycles of rebirth How are we to do this?…

Jain practices: Spiritual Discipline: 

Jain practices: Spiritual Discipline Ahimsa: non-violence to any and all life forms. Intent to do no harm. Strict vegans (avoid all meat and animal products, including milk, eggs, fish and even avoid root vegetables). Aparigraha: non-attachment Anekantwad: non-hatred Asceticism: to live a monastic life, detached from this world and society – a life of poverty and chastity

Jain Monastics: Two major sects: 

Jain Monastics: Two major sects Digambara (“sky clad”) Wear no clothes Live alone or in small groups in the forests Admit only men

Jain Monastics: Two major sects: 

Jain Monastics: Two major sects Svetambara (“white clad”) Wear white robes Live in community Admit both men and women Some wear face masks to protect minute life forms from harm

Five Monastic Vows:: 

Five Monastic Vows: Ahimsa: non-violence (do not harm others) Satya: truth (do not lie) Achaurya: non-stealing Brahmacharya: celibacy & chastity Aparigraha: non-attachment/non-ownership (poverty)

Lay Jainism (non-monastic): 

Lay Jainism (non-monastic) Householders: marry and have children A simple life but not ascetic (may take temporary monastic vows) Modified vows (five plus seven more) to guide life in this world Maintain Vegan diet Do not expect to achieve moksha in this life (it takes full asceticism and monastic life to hope to become a Jina)

Lay Jainism: religious practices: 

Lay Jainism: religious practices Make pilgrimages to sacred sites (related to the lives of the Tirthankaras) Attend temples Revere the Tirthankaras Observe holy days: Mahavir Jayanti (April; commemorating the birth of Mahavira) Paryushana Parva (Aug. – Sept.; a festival of fasting and forgiveness) Mahavir Nirvan (Diwali) (Oct. – Nov.; commemorates the liberation [death] of Mahavira)

Jainism on the Web:: 

Jainism on the Web: Jainworld.com: http://www.jainworld.com/ Jainism Literature Center (from Harvard University’s “Pluralism Project”): http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/ Fundamentals of Jainism: http://www.angelfire.com/co/jainism/ Jainism4u.com: http://www.marwaris.com/jain4u.htm Jainism Heritage Centres, “your guide to Jain heritage centres across the globe”: http://www.jainheritagecentres.com/index/jainism.htm

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