Portal:Jainism

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Jainism

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

Jainism /ˈnɪzəm/ is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul toward divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called a jina ("conqueror" or "victor"). The ultimate status of these perfect souls is called siddha. Ancient texts also refer to Jainism as shraman dharma (self-reliant) or the "path of the nirganthas" (those without attachments or aversions).

The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Among the five great vows taken by Jain ascetics, non-violence is the first and foremost. Jains believe in reincarnation; the soul is trapped in the cycle of birth and death (samsara) due to the actions of karmic particles. They emphasize that liberation can be achieved through the three jewels of Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. According to Jains, reality is multifaceted, and humans can grasp only a partial understanding of reality. This has led to the development of doctrines like Anekantavada (theory of multiple viewpoints), Syadvada (theory of conditional predication) and Nayavada (theory of partial viewpoint). Jains follow the teaching of 24 Tirthankara (ford-makers). Contemporary Jainism is divided into two major sects, Digambara and Svetambara.

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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."

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Ṛṣabha sculpture excavated in Khajuraho

In Jainism, R̥ṣabha (Sanskrit: ऋषभ "Bull") or Ādinātha (आदिनाथ "Original Lord"), also known as the "Lord of Kesariya") was the first of the 24 Tīrthaṅkaras. According to Jain beliefs, R̥ṣabha founded the Ikshvaku dynasty and was the first Tīrthaṅkara of the present age. Because of this, he was called Ādinātha.

In the Jain canons, Rishabha was born to King Nabhi Raja (Kulkar) and Queen Marudevi at Ayodhya before civilization developed. He taught people agriculture, tending of animals, cooking, and more. Rishabha had one hundred and one sons, first among them being Bharata and Bahubali, and two daughters, Brahmi and Sundari.

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The Jain flag
The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating 5th century BC. It has five colours: White, Red, Orange, Green and Dark Blue (or Black).

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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