- Ahimsa = non-violence.
Non-injury to any living being.
All living things have a soul
“Jain” = “a follower of a Jina.”
means victor or conqueror - one who has achieved complete victory over
attachments and aversions. A Jain
is someone who reveres and follows these persons and regards their
teachings as authoritative.
emphasis on non-violence does not mean that they stress docility or
meekness. Jainism’s teaching are
full of martial values. The Jina is
a conqueror - someone who might have been a conqueror of the world but
instead transposed the war from the outer battlefield to the inner one.
Jinas also called
“Tirthankaras” - “one who
establishes a “tirth” (ford or crossing) across “the ocean of existence (as
called by Hindus and Jains).
human being, but extraordinary one who has conquered attachments and
aversions that stand in the way of liberation from worldly bondage.
so by means of his own effort, achieved a state of omniscience, all things
are known to him (past, present, future)
final attainment, Tirthankaras imparts his self-gained liberating
knowledge to others so that they might become victors too. So he establishes a place of crossing
are the core figures of all forms of Jainism -- their teachings are
central to Jainism, they are the main objects of veneration -- some Jains
worship images of the Tirthankaras, others do not.
longer present in our part of the universe -- they came, achieved
omniscience, imparted teaching, departed.
primary purpose of the teachings is the attainment of liberation from the
An infinity of Tirthankaras have come and gone in the
universe -- even now there are Tirthankaras teaching in other parts of the
cosmos. In ours, 24 have come and gone
in the present cosmic period. The first
(Risabha) lived for 8.4 million years.
last of these was Lord Mahavira --
lived and taught some 2500 years ago.
An actual historical figure, a contemporary of Buddha.
founder – eternal. Cyclical time.
Jains believe that time is infinite, without any beginning or end. Time is
divided into infinite equal time cycles (Kalchakras).
will be no more until the next cosmic cycle of time begins.
divisions: Digambaras and Svetambaras, 1st century CE
The self is
ensnared in repeating cycles of death and rebirth; liberation is escape from
cycle has no beginning nor end; the cosmos and souls that inhabit it also
have no beginning or end, they will never cease to be
soul has been wandering from birth to birth from beginningless time and
will do so eternally unless it achieves liberation. Achieving liberation is based entirely
on one’s own efforts, and it’s not easy.
Jiva: soul. Main feature is awareness, consciousness
liberated jiva. no karma or rebirth, reside at uppermost part of universe
(siddhashila); perfect knowledge and perception, infinite bliss
jiva: non-liberated jiva
are found on earth, as well as in the water, air, and sky, and are
scattered all over the universe. Human beings, celestial beings,
infernal beings, animals, fish, birds, bugs, insects, plants, etc. are
the most common forms of Jiva with which we can easily relate. However,
Jain scriptures state that there are 8.4 million species of Jiva in
a Jain twist): Jains maintain that karma is an actual physical matter that is
attracted to the soul by an individual’s actions; it adheres to the soul
because of the individual’s desires and aversions.
of karma is responsible for the soul’s bondage - they cover the soul and
conceal its true nature
- To be
liberated, one must avoid accumulating any further karma - this is the
basis for Jainism’s extraordinary emphasis on non-violence
must also eliminate karma already adhering to the soul, this requires
radical measures: asceticism
image: asceticism as a kind of fire that burns away karmic imprisonment
highest aspirations are represented in asceticism
Moksha: visualized as a process occurring in
stages (though it can occur quickly in some extraordinary individuals)
is preceded by obtaining omniscience - an innate quality of the soul that
is occluded by karmas
the last karmic accretions are shed, the body ceases to function, the soul
rises to the abode of the liberated at the very top of the cosmos.
it abides in omniscient bliss for infinity, among other liberated souls,
including those of the Tirthankaras.
- The Hindu notion of maya
(world as illusion) is rejected.
Mind and matter are eternally separate. The visible universe is
continually in the process of change but indestructible. Has its own internal principles.
is ever created or destroyed in the universe -- matter has a reality
status unlike in Hinduism.
cosmos is envisioned as a colossal standing human figure:
the base are the hells, populated by extremely wicked beings
middle world is represented by a thin disc -- this is where humans live. Here is where karma can be
overcome. Deities come and go,
they too are not absolute
of the world is where perfected souls dwell - represented by a crescent
moon or a kind of inverted umbrella.
images are marked by tremendous
restraint; the Tirthankara usually holds nothing in the hands; elongated
arms and broad shoulders; auspicious mark on chest, Jinas are almost
indistinguishable from each other;