Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jainism Defined

Jainism Defined Cover
Jainism strives for the realization of the highest perfection of man, which in its original purity is free from all pain and the bondage of birth and death. The term Jain is derived from the Sanskrit jina, "conqueror," and implies conquest over this bondage imposed by the phenomenal world. Jainism does not consider it necessary to recognize a God or any being higher than the perfect man. Souls are beginningless and endless, eternally individual. It classes souls into three broad categories: those that are not yet evolved; those in the process of evolution and those that are liberated, free from rebirth. Jainism has strong monastic-ascetic leanings, even for householders. Its supreme ideal is ahimsa, equal kindness and reverence for all life. The Jain Agamas teach great reverence for all forms of life, strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, nonviolence even in self-defense, and opposition to war. Jainism is, above all, a religion of love and compassion.

FOUNDED: Jainism began about 2,500 years ago in India.
FOUNDER: Nataputra Vardhamana, known as Mahavira, "Great Hero."
MAJOR SCRIPTURES: The Jain Agamas and Siddhantas.
ADHERENTS: About six million, almost exclusively in Central and South India, especially in Mumbai.
SECTS: There are two sects. The Digambara ("Sky-clad") sect holds that a saint should own nothing, not even clothes, thus their practice of wearing only a loincloth. They believe that salvation in this birth is not possible for women. The Svetambara ("White-robed") sect disagrees with these points.

The soul passes through various stages of spiritual development, called gunasthanas, progressive manifestations of the innate faculties of knowledge and power accompanied by decreasing sinfulness and increasing purity. Souls attain better births according to the amount of personal karma they are able to eliminate during life. Between births, souls dwell in one of the seven hells, the sixteen heavens or fourteen celestial regions. Liberated souls abide at the top of the universe. All Jains take five vows, but it is the monk who practices celibacy and poverty. Jainism places great stress on ahimsa, asceticism, yoga and monasticism as the means of attainment. Temple pujas are performed to the twenty-four Tirthankaras or spiritual preceptors, literally "ford-makers," those who take others across the ocean of samsara.

You also may enjoy this free books:

Robert Ambelain - Martinism History And Doctrine
Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie - Fairy Fingers
Charlotte Fell Smith - John Dee

Keywords: tantric buddhism  daoist canon  manipulation astral correspondences  jainism sramana  hallucinogenic poisonous field  canonical daosist  invoking pentagram  india mahavira  spirit  rumi poems  england elsewhere united  livres vita libri