For those looking for a religion to call your own that places emphasis on non-violence, as well as a spend-thrifty way of life, Jainism might appeal to you. When it comes to this ancient Indian religion, you will find a deep history attached that can be traced back to the 6th century BC, which occurred during the same time Buddhism was in the works.
When you follow this belief system, you will be referred to as a Jain, which comes from the term, “jinas,’ meaning that one has achieved a level of liberation and perfection. These spiritual leaders are often referred to as “ford-makers,” where there are 24 in total. Another name for this position is “tirthankaras,” with the last of them being Mahavira (599-527 BC).
Mahavira was a Buddhist contemporary and is often referred to in texts as being the founder of Jainism.
Jinas are thought to live in the top levels of heaven, which is the realm located just above the gods. While some religions hold gods as the highest characters in their world, Jainism views liberated souls higher. When studying Jainism, you will come across a wealth of Indian concepts that deals with issues, such as karma and reincarnation. There are many things that the religion also doesn’t agree with in terms of Indian belief. This includes the Veda scriptures, as well as the establishment of Hindu castes. Their idea of a creator god also differs.
When it comes to the goal of life regarding Jainism, it is the way to achieve liberation through leading a life filled with purity and discipline. This is the way that was taught by the “tirthankaras.” Through Jainism, followers are supposed to be peaceful, as well as adhere to a disciplined way of life that is often seen connected to monks and laymen. As you view the rituals pertaining to the religion, you will encounter a variety of sacred images, as well as mantras.
If you were wondering where most of the Jains reside, you should know that India serves as home for many followers, which actually make up .5% of the population. Throughout the world, you may locate around 25,000 Jains within the United Kingdom, as well as 25,000 (mostly in Leicester, England) in the United States area.
When it comes to major sects, there are two to mention. The first is called Digambaras, which also stands for “sky-clad.” The second is known as Shvetambaras, which stands for “white-clad.” When studying the religion, you will encounter sacred texts. It is the various teachings of Mahavira that illustrate the way, which can be found in many different collections. The original language that these texts are written in is Sanskrit.
The spiritual leaders on Jainism are called monks, who call their house of worship a temple. It is here that the system of belief, which is dotted with both polytheism and pantheism. Through the teachings of Jainism, you will find that the purpose of life is to attain liberation through a cycle of rebirth, causing no harm to others. As one enters repeated reincarnation, only then where they find liberation.