Saṃsāra (Jainism)

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Saṃsāra (transmigration) in Jain philosophy, refers to the worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and reincarnations in various realms of existence. Saṃsāra is described as mundane existence, full of suffering and misery and hence is considered undesirable and worth renunciation. The Saṃsāra is without any beginning and the soul finds itself in bondage with its karma since the beginningless time. Moksa is the only way to be liberated from saṃsāra.


According to the Jain text, Tattvartha sutra:

(There are two kinds of influx, namely) that of persons with passions, which extends transmigration, and that of persons free from passions, which prevents or shortens it.

— Tattvārthsūtra (6-4-81)[1]

Activities that lead to the influx of karmas which extends transmigration are:[2]

  • Five senses
  • Four passions (kasāya)
    • Anger
    • Ego
    • Deceit
    • Greed
  • The non-observance of the five vows
  • Non-observance of the twenty-five activities like Righteousness

Saṃsāra bhavanā[edit]

Jain texts prescribe meditation on twelve forms of reflection (bhāvanā) for those who wish to stop the influx of karmas that extend transmigration.[3] One such reflection is Saṃsāra bhavanā:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jain 2011, p. 81.
  2. ^ Jain 2011, p. 81-82.
  3. ^ a b Champat Rai Jain 1917, p. 52.