Jainism – The Teachings and Principles
Origin of Jainism
Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world and the religion of self-help. Jain religion has long been respected as the world’s most peace-loving religion. The origin of Jainism can be traced back to the Indus river valley civilization of 3000 years before Christ. Jainism is a religious minority in India with only 4.2 million adherents. Some Jains spread to Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Singapore, and the U.S.
Jains believe that 24 great teachers were Tirthankaras.
1. Right Belief
2. Right Knowledge
3. Right Conduct
But the supreme principle of Jainism is non-violence. Non-violence is the most fundamental aspect of Jain religious practice. The father of India, M.K. Gandhi, firmly believed in non-violence. He practised, followed and wrote widely about the importance and value of non-violence. Like this, Jainism is very against Violence. They firmly believe that anger does more harm rather than any other emotions of Humans. So Jains are bound with non-violence and never show violated anger in their speeches, though actions and thoughts.
Teachings of Jainism
The first Jain figure for whom there is reasonable historical evidence is Parshvanatha, a renunciant teacher who may have lived in the 7th century BCE. He is the 23rd Tirthankara. Vardhamana Mahavira is the 24th Tirthankara. His teachings are called the Agamas.
Jains are divided into two major sects—the Digambara(sky-clad) sect and the Svetambara(white-clad). Jainism has no priests. Its professional religious people are monks and nuns.
The Jains follow five vows.
- Ahimsa. (non-violence)
- Satya. (Truth)
- Asteyo. (not stealing)
- Aparigraha. (non-acquisition)
- Brahma Carya. (chaste living)
Jainism Practices And Fasting
Another important activity in the Jain religion is Fasting. Fasting is very common in Jain spirituality. In India, the monsoon period is a time of fasting, and fasting is a feature of Jain festivals. On the fasting day, Jains stop the desire of wanting to eat. If they continue to desire food, the fast is pointless. Jains believe that fasting purifies the body and mind.
Types of Fasting:
- Complete fasting – giving up food and water entirely for a period.
- Partial fasting – eating less than you need to avoid hunger.
- Vruti sankshepa – limiting the number of items of food eaten.
- Rasa Parityaga – giving up the favourite food.
Jain concept of ‘Universe :
In the belief of Jains, the Universe contains two classes one is Jivas means living things, and the second one is Ajivas means non-living things. Nothing in the Universe is destroyed or created; they change from one form to another.
In the view of the Jain religion concept, Universe is in 5 parts.
- The supreme abode – where the region lives forever.
- The upper world – Where the region lives, but not forever.
- The middle world – where human beings live.
- The lower world – The region consisted of seven hells.
- The base – Where the region’s lowest forms of life live.
Jain Religion – Death and Reincarnation
Jains believe that the concepts of Life and Death are mysterious events in every religion. When a human, animal, tree or any being dies, the Jiva(soul) instantly goes to the following body. This body may or may not be human or even animal. The nature of the next life is determined by its Karma in the present life.
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