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2.7: Jainism

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    13 Jainism


    Main teachings

    Non-violence (ahimsa)

    The principle of ahimsa (non-violence or non-injury) is the most fundamental and well-known aspect of Jainism. The everyday implementation of the principle of non-violence is more comprehensive than in other religions and is the hallmark for Jain identity. Jains believe in avoiding harm to others through thoughts (mana), speech (vāchana), and actions (kāya). According to the Jain text, Purushartha Siddhyupaya, "killing any living being out of passions is hiṃsā (injury) and abstaining from such act is ahimsa (non-injury)".

    Jains extend the practice of nonviolence and kindness not only towards other humans but towards all living beings. For this reason, vegetarianism is a hallmark of Jain identity, with the majority of Jains practicing lacto vegetarianism. If there is violence against animals during the production of dairy products, veganism is encouraged.

    Jainism has a very elaborate framework on types of life and includes life-forms that may be invisible. Therefore, after humans and animals, insects are the next living being offered protection in Jain practice, with avoidance of intentional harm to insects emphasized. For example, insects in the home are often escorted out instead of killed. Jainism teaches that intentional harm and the absence of compassion make an action more violent.

    After nonviolence towards humans, animals and insects, Jains make efforts not to injure plants any more than necessary. Although they admit that plants must be destroyed for the sake of food, they accept such violence only as much as it is necessary for human survival. Strict Jains, including monastics, do not eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions and garlic because tiny organisms are injured when the plant is pulled up and because a bulb or tuber's ability to sprout is seen as characteristic of a living being.

    Jains believe that the intent and emotions behind an act of violence are more important than the action itself. For example, if a person kills another living being out of carelessness and then later regrets the act, the bondage (bandha) of karma is less compared to when a person kills the same kind of living being with anger, revenge, etc. A soldier acting in self-defense is a different type of violence from someone killing another person out of hatred or revenge. Violence or war in self-defense may be justified, but this must only be used as a last resort after peaceful measures have been thoroughly exhausted.

    According to the Jain text, Sarvārthasiddhi, "He who has passions causes injury to himself by himself. Whether injury is then caused to other living beings or not, it is immaterial."


    The second main principle of Jainism is anekāntavāda (non-absolutism). For Jains, non-absolutism means maintaining open-mindedness. This includes the recognition of all perspectives and a humble respect for differences in beliefs. Jainism encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties, including other religions. The principle of anekāntavāda influenced Mahatma Gandhi to adopt principles of religious tolerance and non-violence.

    Anekāntavāda is more formally stated by observing that objects are infinite in their qualities and modes of existence, so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception. Only Kevalins (omniscient beings) can comprehend objects in all aspects and manifestations; others are only capable of partial knowledge. Accordingly, no single, specific human view can claim to represent absolute truth. Jains illustrate this theory through the parable of the blind men and an elephant. In this story, each blind man feels a different part of an elephant: its trunk, leg, ear, and so on. All of them claim to understand and explain the true appearance of the elephant, but due to their limited perspectives, can only partly succeed. The concept of anekāntavāda (non-absolutism) is further explained by Syādvāda and Nayavāda.

    Syādvāda and Nayavāda

    Syādvāda and Nayavāda expand on the concept of anekāntavāda (non-absolutism). Syādvāda recommends the expression of anekānta by prefixing the epithet syād to every phrase or expression. Syād here means "in some ways" or "from some perspective". As reality is complex, no single proposition can express its full nature. The term syāt- should therefore be prefixed to each proposition, giving it a conditional point of view and thus removing dogmatism from the statement. There are seven conditioned propositions (saptibhaṅgī) in syādvāda. Nayavāda is the theory of partial standpoints or viewpoints. Nayavāda is a compound of two Sanskrit words: naya ("partial viewpoint") and vāda ("school of thought or debate"). It is used to arrive at a certain inference from a point of view. Every object has infinite aspects, but when we describe one in practice, we speak only of relevant aspects and ignore the irrelevant. Nayavāda holds that philosophical disputes arise out of confusion of standpoints, and the standpoints we adopt are "the outcome of purposes that we may pursue" – although we may not realize it. Naya, being a partial expression of truth, enables us to comprehend reality part by part.


    The third main principle in Jainism is aparigraha which means non-attachment to worldly possessions. Therefore, non-attachment also includes non-possessiveness and non-materialism. Jainism emphasizes taking no more of something than is necessary. While ownership of objects is allowed, non-attachment to possessions is taught. Followers should minimize the tendency to hoard unnecessary material possessions and limit attachment to current possessions. Further, wealth and possessions should be shared and donated whenever possible. Unchecked attachment to possessions is said to result in direct harm to oneself and others.

    Further, Jain texts mention that "attachment to possessions (parigraha) is of two kinds: attachment to internal possessions (ābhyantara parigraha), and attachment to external possessions (bāhya parigraha). Both internal and external possessions are proved to be hiṃsā (injury). According to the Jain text Sarvārthasiddhi, "He who has passions causes injury to himself by himself. Whether injury is then caused to other living beings or not, it is immaterial."

    For internal possessions, Jainism identifies four key passions of the mind (kashaya):

    • Anger
    • Pride (ego)
    • Deceitfulness
    • Greed

    Jainism recommends conquering anger by forgiveness, pride by humility, deceitfulness by straight-forwardness and greed by contentment.

    In addition to the four passions of the mind, the remaining ten internal possessions are:

    • wrong belief;
    • the three sex-passions (male sex-passion, female sex-passion, neuter sex-passion); and
    • the six defects (laughter, like, dislike, sorrow, fear, disgust);

    In Jainism, the non-manifestation of a passion such as attachment is termed ahiṃsā (non-violence), and the manifestation of such a passion is considered himsa (injury). This is said to be the essence of the Jaina scripture. Additionally, according to the Tattvartha Sutra (a sacred Jain text), "Infatuation is attachment to possessions."

    Jain Ethics and Five Main Vows

    Jainism encourages spiritual development through cultivation of personal wisdom and self-control through five main vows:

    1. Ahimsa: Ahimsa means nonviolence or non-injury. The first major vow taken by Jains is to love and cause no harm to other living beings. It involves minimizing intentional and unintentional harm to other living creatures by actions, speech or thoughts. The vow of ahiṃsā is considered the foremost among the 'five vows of Jainism'.
    2. Satya: Satya means truth. This vow is to always speak the truth. Given that nonviolence has priority, other principles yield to it whenever they conflict: in a situation where speaking truth could lead to violence, silence may be observed.
    3. Asteya or Achaurya: Asteya means not stealing. Jains should not take anything that is not willingly offered. The five transgression of this vow as mentioned in the Tattvārthsūtra are: "Prompting another to steal, receiving stolen goods, underbuying in a disordered state, using false weights and measures, and deceiving others with artificial or imitation goods".
    4. Brahmacharya: Brahmacharya means chastity for laymen and celibacy for Jain monks and nuns. This requires the exercise of control over the senses to control indulgence in sexual activity.
    5. Aparigraha: Aparigraha means non-possessiveness. This includes non-materialism and non-attachment to objects, places and people. Jain monks and nuns completely renounce property and social relations.

    Monks and nuns are obligated to practice the five cardinal principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, not stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness very strictly, while laymen are encouraged to observe them within their current practical limitations.

    Supplementary vows and sallekhana

    Jainism also prescribes seven supplementary vows and a last sallekhana vow, which is practiced mostly by monks and nuns. The supplementary vows include three guņa vratas (merit vows) and four śikşā vratas. The sallekhana (or Santhara) vow is observed at the end of life most commonly by Jain monks and nuns. In this vow, there is voluntary and gradual reduction of food and liquid intake under some conditions. These condition are:

    • Severe famine
    • Incurable disease
    • Great disability
    • Old age or when a person is nearing his end.

    Sallekhana is seen as spiritual detachment requiring a great deal of spiritual accomplishment and maturity and a declaration that a person is finished with this world and has chosen to leave. Jains believe this allows one to achieve death with dignity and dispassion along with a great reduction of negative karma.



    Vegetarianism is a hallmark of Jainism, in accordance with the principle of non-violence towards all beings. Strict followers will also limit dairy products, avoid root vegetables and avoid eating after sunset.


    Jains fast throughout the year, particularly during festivals. This takes on various forms and may be practiced based on one's ability.[] Some examples include, but are not limited to: eating only one or two meals per day, drinking only water all day, not eating after sunset, not eating processed foods, and eating food without sugar, oil, or salt.


    In Jainism, the purpose of prayer is to break the barriers of worldly attachments and desires and to assist in the liberation of the soul. Jains do not pray for any favors, material goods or rewards.

    The Navkar Mantra is the fundamental prayer of Jainism and may be recited at any time. In this mantra, Jains worship the qualities (gunas) of the spiritually supreme, including those who have already attained salvation, in order to adopt similar behavior.


    Jains have developed a type of meditation called sāmāyika, a term derived from the word samaya. The goal of sāmāyika is to achieve a feeling of perfect calmness and to understand the unchanging truth of the self. The preposition sam means one state of being. To become one is samaya. Sāmāyika is aimed at developing equanimity and to refrain from injury. Sāmāyika is particularly important during the Paryushana religious festival. It is believed that meditation will assist in managing and balancing one's passions. Great emphasis is placed on the internal control of thoughts, as they influence behavior, actions and goals.Through Samayika, Jains try to achieve control over Mana (Mind), Vachana (Speech) and Kaya (Actions).

    Jains follow six duties known as avashyakas: samayika (practising serenity), chaturvimshati (praising the tirthankara), vandan (respecting teachers and monks), pratikramana (introspection), kayotsarga (stillness), and pratyakhyana (renunciation).

    Jain texts prescribe meditation on twelve forms of contemplation (bhāvanā) for those who wish to stop the influx of karmas that extend transmigration. These twelve reflections as mentioned in ancient Jain texts, like Tattvārthsūtra, Sarvārthasiddhi, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya are:

    1. anitya bhāvanā – the transitoriness of the world;
    2. aśaraņa bhāvanā – the helplessness of the soul;
    3. saṃsāra – the pain and suffering implied in transmigration;
    4. aikatva bhāvanā – the inability of another to share one's suffering and sorrow;
    5. anyatva bhāvanā – the distinctiveness between the body and the soul;
    6. aśuci bhāvanā – the filthiness of the body;
    7. āsrava bhāvanā – influx of karmic matter;
    8. saṃvara bhāvanā – stoppage of karmic matter;
    9. nirjarā bhāvanā – gradual shedding of karmic matter;
    10. loka bhāvanā – the form and divisions of the universe and the nature of the conditions prevailing in the different regions – heavens, hells, and the like;
    11. bodhidurlabha bhāvanā – the extreme difficulty in obtaining human birth and, subsequently, in attaining true faith; and
    12. dharma bhāvanā – the truth promulgated by Tirthankaras.


    Paryushana or Daslakshana is the most important annual event for Jains, and is usually celebrated in August or September. It lasts 8–10 days and is a time when lay people increase their level of spiritual intensity often using fasting and prayer/meditation to help. The five main vows are emphasized during this time. There are no set rules, and followers are encouraged to practice according to their ability and desires. The last day involves a focused prayer/meditation session known as Samvatsari Pratikramana. At the conclusion of the festival, followers request forgiveness from others for any offenses committed during the last year. Forgiveness is asked by saying Micchami Dukkadam or Khamat Khamna to others, which means, "If I have offended you in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or action, then I seek your forgiveness." The literal meaning of Paryushana is "abiding" or "coming together".

    Mahavir Jayanti, the birth of Mahāvīra, the last tirthankara of this era, is usually celebrated in late March or early April based on the lunar calendar. Diwali is a festival that marks the anniversary of Mahāvīra's attainment of moksha. The Hindu festival of Diwali is also celebrated on the same date (Kartika Amavasya). Diwali is celebrated in an atmosphere of austerity, simplicity, serenity, equity, calmness, charity, philanthropy, and environmental consciousness. Jain temples, homes, offices, and shops are decorated with lights and diyas (small oil lamps). The lights are symbolic of knowledge or removal of ignorance. Sweets are often distributed. On Diwali morning, Nirvan Ladoo is offered after praying to Mahāvīra in all Jain temples all across the world. The new Jain year starts right after Diwali. Some other festivals celebrated by Jains are Akshaya Tritiya and Raksha Bandhan.


    There are many rituals in the various sects of Jainism. The basic worship ritual practised by Jains is "seeing" (darsana) of pure self in Jina idols. One example related to the five life events of the tirthankaras called the Panch Kalyanaka are rituals such as the Panch Kalyanaka Pratishtha Mahotsava, panch kalyanaka puja, and snatra puja. Jain practices include performing abhisheka (ceremonial bath) of the images.

    Jains follow six obligatory duties known as avashyakas: samayika (practising serenity), chaturvimshati (praising the tirthankara), vandan (respecting teachers and monks), pratikramana (introspection), kayotsarga (stillness), and pratyakhyana (renunciation).


    Jain pilgrim (Tirtha) sites are divided in the following categories:

    • Siddhakshetra – Site of the moksha of an arihant (kevalin) or Tirthankara, such as Mount Kailash, Shikharji, Girnar, Pawapuri and Champapuri (capital of Anga).
    • Atishayakshetra – Locations where divine events have occurred, such as Mahavirji, Rishabhdeo, Kundalpur, Tijara Jain Temple, Aharji.
    • Puranakshetra – Places associated with lives of great men, such as Ayodhya, Vidisha, Hastinapur, and Rajgir.
    • Gyanakshetra – Places associated with famous acharyas, or centers of learning, such as Shravanabelagola.


    In Jainism, monasticism is encouraged and respected. Monks and nuns live extremely austere and ascetic lifestyles. They follow the five main vows strictly and observe complete abstinence. Jain monks and nuns have neither a permanent home nor any possessions. They do not use vehicles and always travel barefoot from one place to another, irrespective of the distance. They wander from place to place except during the months of Chaturmas. They do not prepare food and live only on what people offer them. Digambara monks and nuns carry a broom-like object, called a picchi (made from fallen peacock feathers) to sweep the ground ahead of them or before sitting down to avoid inadvertently crushing small insects. Svetambara monks carry a rajoharan (a broom-like object made from dense, thick thread strands). Jain monks have to follow six duties known as avashyakas: sāmāyika (practising serenity), chaturvimshati (praising the tirthankara), vandan (respecting teachers and monks), pratikramana (introspection), kayotsarga (stillness), and pratyakhyana (renunciation).

    The monks of Jainism, whose presence is not needed for most Jain rituals, should not be confused with priests. However, some sects of Jainism often employ a pujari, who need not be a Jain, to perform special daily rituals and other priestly duties at the temple.


    Dravya (Substance)

    According to Jainism, there are six simple substances in existence: Soul, Matter, Time, Space, Dharma and Adharma. Jain philosophers distinguish a substance from a body (or thing) by declaring the former to be a simple element or reality and the latter a compound of one or more substances or atoms. They claim that there can be a partial or total destruction of a body or thing, but no substance can ever be destroyed. According to Champat Rai Jain:

    Substance is the sub-strate of qualities which cannot exist apart from it, for instance, the quality of fluidity, moisture, and the like only exist in water and cannot be conceived separately from it. It is neither possible to create nor to destroy a substance, which means that there never was a time when the existing substances were not, nor shall they ever cease to be.

    Jīva (soul)

    Jain philosophy is the oldest Indian philosophy that separates body (matter) from the soul (consciousness) completely. Jains maintain that all living beings are really soul, intrinsically perfect and immortal. Souls in saṃsāra (that is, liability to repeated births and deaths) are said to be imprisoned in the body.

    The soul-substance, called Jīva in Jainism, is distinguished from the remaining five substances (Matter, Time, Space, Dharma and Adharma), collectively called ajīva, by the intelligence with which the soul-substance is endowed, and which is not found in the other substances. The nature of the soul-substance is said to be freedom. In its modifications, it is said to be the subject of knowledge and enjoyment, or suffering, in varying degrees, according to its circumstances. Jain texts expound that all living beings are really soul, intrinsically perfect and immortal. Souls in transmigration are said to be embodied in the body as if in a prison.

    Ajīva (Non-Soul)

    • Matter (Pudgala) is considered a non-intelligent substance consisting of an infinity of particles or atoms which are eternal. These atoms are said to possess sensible qualities, namely, taste, smell, color and, in certain forms, touch and sound.
    • Time is said to be the cause of continuity and succession. It is of two kinds: nishchaya and vyavhāra
    • Space (akāśa)- Space is divided by the Jainas into two parts, namely, the lokākāśa, that is the space occupied by the universe, and the alokākāśa, the portion beyond the universe. The lokākāśa is the portion in which are to be found the remaining five substances, i.e., souls, Matter, Time, Dharma and Adharma; but the alokākāśa is the region of pure space containing no other substance and lying stretched on all sides beyond bounds of the three worlds (the entire universe).
    • Dharma and Adharma are substances said to be helpful in the motion and stationary states of things, respectively, the former enabling them to move from place to place and the latter to come to rest from the condition of motion.

    Tattva (Reality)

    Jain philosophy is based on seven fundamentals which are known as tattva, which attempt to explain the nature of karmas and provide solutions for the ultimate goal of liberation of the soul (moksha): These are:

    1. Jīva – the soul, which is characterized by consciousness
    2. Ajīva – non-living entities that consist of matter, space and time
    3. Āsrava (influx) – the inflow of auspicious and evil karmic matter into the soul
    4. Bandha (bondage) – mutual intermingling of the soul and karmas. The karma masks the jiva and restricts it from reaching its true potential of perfect knowledge and perception.
    5. Saṃvara (stoppage) – obstruction of the inflow of karmic matter into the soul
    6. Nirjarā (gradual dissociation) – the separation or falling off of part of karmic matter from the soul
    7. Moksha (liberation) – complete annihilation of all karmic matter (bound with any particular soul)

    Soul and Karma

    According to Jain belief, souls, intrinsically pure, possess the qualities of infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite bliss, and infinite energy in their ideal state. In reality, however, these qualities are found to be obstructed due to the soul's association with karmic matter. The ultimate goal in Jainism is the realization of reality.

    The relationship between the soul and karma is explained by the analogy of gold. Gold is always found mixed with impurities in its natural state. Similarly, the ideal pure state of the soul is always mixed with the impurities of karma. Just like gold, purification of the soul may be achieved if the proper methods of refining are applied. The Jain karmic theory is used to attach responsibility to individual action and is cited to explain inequalities, suffering and pain. Tirthankara-nama-karma is a special type of karma, bondage of which raises a soul to the supreme status of a tirthankara.

    Liberation and Godhood

    The Path to Liberation

    According to Jainism, the following three jewels constitute the path to liberation:

    1. Right View (samyak darśana)– Belief in substances like soul (Jīva) and non-soul without delusions.
    2. Right Knowledge (samyak jnana)– Knowledge of the substances (tattvas) without any doubt or misapprehension.
    3. Right Conduct (samyak charitra)– Being free from attachment, a right believer does not commit hiṃsā (injury).

    According to the Jain text, Sarvārthasiddhi, (translated by S. A. Jain):

    Perfect release from all karmas is liberation. The path to liberation is the method by which it can be attained. The singular 'path' is used in order to indicate that all the three together constitute the path to liberation. This controverts the views that each of these singly constitutes a path. Hence it must be understood that these three‍—‌right faith, right knowledge and right conduct‍—‌together constitute the direct path to liberation.

    Stages on the Path

    In Jain philosophy, the fourteen stages through which a soul must pass in order to attain liberation (moksha) are called Gunasthāna. These are:

    Gunasthāna Explanation

    1. Mithyātva Gross ignorance. The stage of wrong believer

    2. Sasādana Vanishing faith, i.e., the condition of the mind while actually falling down from the fourth stage to the first stage.

    3. Mishradrshti Mixed faith and false belief.

    4. Avirata samyagdrshti Right Faith unaccompanied by Right Conduct.

    5. Deśavirata The stage of partial self-control (Śrāvaka)

    6. Pramatta Sanyati First step of life as a Jain muni (monk). The stage of complete self-discipline, although sometimes brought into wavering through negligence.

    7. Apramatta Sanyati Complete observance of Mahavratas (Major Vows)

    8. Apūrvakaraņa New channels of thought.

    9. Anivāttibādara-sāmparāya Advanced thought-activity

    10. Sukshma sāmparāya Slight greed left to be controlled or destroyed.

    11. Upaśānta-kasāya The passions are still associated with the soul, but they are temporarily out of effect on the soul.

    12. Ksīna kasāya Desirelessness, i.e., complete eradication of greed

    13. Sayoga kevali (Arihant) Omniscience with vibrations. Sa means "with" and yoga refers to the three channels of activity, i.e., mind, speech and body.

    14. Ayoga kevali The stage of omniscience without any activity. This stage is followed by the soul's destruction of the aghātiā karmas.

    At the second-to-last stage, a soul destroys all inimical karmas, including the knowledge-obscuring karma which results in the manifestation of infinite knowledge (Kevala Jnana), which is said to be the true nature of every soul.

    Those who pass the last stage are called siddha and become fully established in Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. According to Jain texts, after the total destruction of karmas the released pure soul (Siddha) goes up to the summit of universe (Siddhashila) and dwells there in eternal bliss.

    The soul removes its ignorance (mithyatva) at the 4th stage, vowlessness (avirati) at the 6th stage, passions (kashaya) at the 12th stage, and yoga (activities of body, mind and speech) at the 14th stage, and thus attains liberation.


    Jain texts reject the idea of a creator or destroyer God and postulate an eternal universe. Jain cosmology divides the worldly cycle of time into two parts (avasarpiṇī and utsarpiṇī). According to Jain belief, in every half-cycle of time, twenty-four Tīrthankaras grace this part of the Universe to teach the unchanging doctrine of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct. The word Tīrthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha, which means a fordable passage across a sea. The Tīrthankaras show the 'fordable path' across the sea of interminable births and deaths. Rishabhanatha is said to be the first Tīrthankara of the present half-cycle (avasarpiṇī). Mahāvīra (6th century BC) is revered as the last Tīrthankara of avasarpiṇī. Though Jain texts explain that Jainism has always existed and will always exist, modern historians place the earliest evidence of Jainism in the 9th century BC.

    In Jainism, perfect souls with the body are called Arihant (victors) and perfect souls without the body are called Siddhas (liberated souls). Tirthankara is an Arihant who helps others to achieve liberation. Tirthankaras become role models for those seeking liberation. They are also called human spiritual guides. They reorganise the four-fold order that consists of male ascetics (muni), female ascetics (aryika), laymen (śrāvaka) and laywomen (śrāvikā). Jainism has been described as a transtheistic religion, as it does not teach the dependency on any supreme being for enlightenment. The tirthankara is a guide and teacher who points the way to enlightenment, but the struggle for enlightenment is one's own. The following two verses of the Ratnakaranda śrāvakācāra expound the definition of God according to Jainism:

    In the nature of things the true God should be free from the faults and weaknesses of the lower nature; [he should be] the knower of all things and the revealer of dharma; in no other way can divinity be constituted. (1–5)

    He alone who is free from hunger, thirst, senility, disease, birth, death, fear, pride, attachment, aversion, infatuation, worry, conceit, hatred, uneasiness, sweat, sleep and surprise is called a God. (1–6)



    The origins of Jainism are obscure. Jainism is a philosophy of eternity, and Jains believe their religion to be eternal. Ṛṣabhanātha is said to be the founder of Jainism in the present half cycle. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice President of India wrote:

    There is evidence to show that so far back as the first century B.C. there were people who were worshipping Ṛṣabhadeva, the first tīrthaṅkara. There is no doubt that Jainism prevailed even before Vardhamāna or Pārśvanātha. The Yajurveda mentions the name of three Tīrthaṅkaras-Ṛishabhadeva, Ajitnātha and Ariṣṭanemi. The Bhāgavata Purāṇa endorses the view that Ṛṣabha was the founder of Jainism.

    Further, he believed that Jainism was much older than Hinduism:

    There is nothing wonderful in my saying that Jainism was in existence long before the Vedas were composed.

    And in the first volume of The Cultural Heritage of India:

    The Jains claim a great antiquity for their religion. Their earliest tirthankara was Rishabhdeva, who is mentioned even in the Vishnu and Bhagawat Puranas as belonging to a very remote past. In the earliest Brahmanic literature are found traces of the existence of a religious Order.

    Jains revere Vardhamana Mahāvīra (6th century BCE) as the twenty-fourth tirthankara of this era. He appears in the tradition as one who, from the beginning, had followed a religion established long ago.

    Parshvanatha, predecessor of Mahāvīra and the twenty-third tirthankara was a historical figure. He lived in the 9th century BCE.

    On antiquity of Jainism, Dr. Heinrich Zimmer was of the view that:

    There is truth in the Jaina idea that their religion goes back to a remote antiquity, the antiquity in question being that of the pre-Aryan so called Dravidian period, which has recently been dramatically illuminated by the discovery of a series of great Late stone Age cities in the Indus Valley, dating from the third and perhaps even fourth millennium B.C.

    — Dr. Heinrich Zimmer

    This page titled 2.7: Jainism is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Noah Levin (NGE Far Press) .

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