Portal:Jainism

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Jainism

The Jain symbol that was agreed upon by all Jain sects in 1975.
Jain flag

Jainism (/ˈnɪzəm/), traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina (victory) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to tradition lived millions of years ago, and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.

The main religious premises of Jainism are ahiṃsā ("non-violence"), anekāntavāda ("many-sidedness"), aparigraha ("non-attachment") and asceticism. Jain monastics, renunciants, and devout householders take five main vows known as vratas, outlined in their oldest surviving text, the Acaranga Sūtra: ahiṃsā ("non-violence"), satya ("truth"), asteya ("not stealing"), brahmacharya ("celibacy or chastity"), and aparigraha ("non-attachment"). These principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles. Parasparopagraho Jīvānām ("the function of souls is to help one another") is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most common and basic prayer in Jainism.

Jainism has two major ancient sub-traditions, Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras; and several smaller sub-traditions that emerged in the 2nd millennium CE. The Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical. Jain mendicants are found in all Jain sub-traditions, with laypersons (śrāvakas) supporting the mendicants' spiritual pursuits with resources.

Jainism has between four and five million followers, with most Jains residing in India. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities are present in Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Suriname, Fiji, and the United States. Major Jain festivals include Paryushana and Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, and Diwali. Read more...

Selected article

Division of time as envisaged by Jains.

Jain cosmology is the description of the shape and functioning of the physical and metaphysical Universe (loka) and its constituents (such as living, matter, space, time etc.) according to Jainism, which includes the canonical Jain texts, commentaries and the writings of the Jain philosopher-monks. Jain cosmology considers the loka, or universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end.[1] Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist. This Universe, according to Jainism, is narrow at the top, broad at the middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom.[2]

Mahāpurāṇa of Ācārya Jinasena is famous for this quote: "Some foolish men declare that a creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression."

Selected biography

Image of Rishabhanatha at Kundalpur pilgrimage site in Madhya Pradesh, India

Jains believe that twenty-four tīrthaṅkaras or "ford-makers", teachers who establish the Jain teachings grace every half cycle of time indefinitely. Jains trace their history through a succession of these tirthankaras. Rishabhanatha is said to be the first Tirthankara of the present half cycle of time. He is known by many names like Ādinātha (the first world teacher), Adish Jina (first Jina or conqueror), Adi Purush (first perfect man), Ikshvaku, Vidhata and Srista.

Jains believe that Rishabhanatha introduced karma-bhumi (the age of action) by teaching six main professions to the householders for livelihood. They were Asi (swordsmanship for protection), Masi (writing skills), Krishi (agriculture) Vidya (knowledge), Vanijya (trade and commerce) and Shilp (crafts).

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  1. ^ “This universe is not created nor sustained by anyone; It is self sustaining, without any base or support” “Nishpaadito Na Kenaapi Na Dhritah Kenachichch Sah Swayamsiddho Niradhaaro Gagane Kimtvavasthitah” [Yogaśāstra of Ācārya Hemacandra 4.106] Tr by Dr. A. S. Gopani
  2. ^ See Hemacandras description of universe in Yogaśāstra “…Think of this loka as similar to man standing akimbo…”4.103-6
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