1. Metaphysics and Ontology - It starts with the axiom that nothing is destructible i.e. nothing can be created out of nothing - which is also common to the Samkhya system. The cosmos or universe is uncreated and real by virtue of its being existential. Therefore it is eternal, everlasting, without a beginning and without an end. It differs from Vedantic concept or proof of the Creator.
Jiva (living beings) are infinite number of souls (spirit units). The non living (Ajiva) belong to five categories (a) matter (pudgala), (b) medium of motion (dharma), (c) medium of rest (adharma), (d) space (akasha), and (e) time (kala).
2. Classes of Jivas (souls) - They are of two kinds, ( a ) the liberated (mukta) and ( b ) the mundane or embodied (Samsari). The second kind are mobile and immobile. The souls embodied in earth, water, fire, air and vegetation are immobile kind and have, one sense organ. There is marked difference between the Hinduism and this religion here because, even for those Hindus who believe in the duality - air or water, etc., the inert substances , are not considered to have embodied souls.
Among the mobile living beings there are different kinds. There are some which have between two to five sense organs, and only a few of the five sensed beings are equipped with mind and intelligence; others do not have this faculty. The mundane Jivas go through the cycles of birth and death until they attain nirvana.
3. The Karma Doctrine - It is quite different from those of the Hindus. Here karma is a subtle matter which flows into the soul when the latter comes under the influence of attachment (raga) or aversion (dvesa). The mundane soul has to go through the cycle of birth and death unless it frees itself from the karmic matter which clings to it and which can be of two types (a) bhava karmas (involving feelings, emotions, passions) and (b) dravya karmas (material forms). To get the soul free, one has to basically perform all satvik actions, even in Jainism. The difference here is that there is no merger of this soul with the Parmatman because It does not exist for the Jains as it does for the Hindus. The Jainist Theory of Karma is founded on simple law of cause and effect. No effect is without a cause. One has to bear, sooner or later, the consequences of one's actions; it is not possible to escape from them. The diversities in the physical and mental conditions, etc. at the birth of human beings or other living beings, can easily be explained by this theory. With its help, one can also prove the Theory of the Transmigration of Souls. It shows that the human beings themselves are the preserver or dispenser of justice. It inspires persons to get their souls free of the karmic forces by developing will power and proper actions.
4. Divinity - The Jain concept of divinity is unique. Here each of the souls, after freeing the karmic material becomes 'svambhu' and is transformed into divinity. It is a state of highest spiritual evolution. The Siddhas and Arhatas represent two types of divinities; the former are absolutely liberated and the latter, those obtained emancipation (Jivan Mukta) from life. These (the latter ones) are Also Called Kevalins or Jinas. Jainism believes in Godhood but does not believe God to be the First Cause as in the Advait philosophy. There are large pantheon of godlings, celestials or angels who are superhuman in this religion just like the Hindu gods. These beings are also considered mortal just like humans.
5. Pragmatic Optimism - This world is looked upon as `Vale of Tears'. It involves suffering, struggle, anxiety, etc. One reaches the end of journey after attaining nirvana.
6. The Jains believe in Idol Worship just like the Hindus.
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