I travel a lot and often meet people from various walks of life and countries. I’m quite surprised to know that so many people haven’t heard about Jainism. It’s one of the most ancient religion with it’s roots in India. It’s very hard to explain about the religion in just one article,but I’ll try to highlight key points here about the religion.
I believe #Vegans could find similarity with #Jains and #Jainism as Ahimsa(non vi
(Image : Jain temple at the bottom of Shatrunjay hill, the most revered pilgrimage site)
1)The religion is called Jainism and the followers are called Jains. They are mostly present in India, but some have now emigrated to other countries, so there’s a presence in America, London, Dubai etc.
2) Jains don’t believe in God as a creator , they believe the universe exists as it is and evolves in different eras.
3) It’s the most scientific religion with so many things proven by science about life forms lateron . The religion is considered eternal,and will always have atleast one follower even in eras where there’s no religion.
4) The Jains believe there are 8.4 million life forms on this earth, and we are just all part of the universe.
5)They believe we could be born in any of the life forms based on our karmic deeds. The 4 main life forms are (human life, animal life, hell, heaven ) they are called ‘Chau Gatis’ (manushya, tiryancha, dev,narak )
6) They believe the cycle of life and death continues and we can be born in any of the above gatis based on our #karmas. We go through lot of sufferings in whatever life form we take, and hence we must get rid of this suffering by attaining nirvana or moksha.
(Jain temple in Ranakpur -India, has the highest number of pillars)
7) The only way to get rid of sufferings and attain nirvana is through enhancing one’s good karmic deeds, and it’s mostly only possible in human life form to do that, and hence human life is very precious.
8) Since they believe we can be born in any life forms, they respect all life forms and are vegetarians and even don’t eat many underground root vegetables like onions, potatoes, ginger, garlic and anything that could lead to killing of more life, no matter how small(bacteria’s as well).
9) They don’t believe in God as a creator, but they have 24 tirthankars whom they pray like god, as these are the ones who were born as humans, but conquered their egos and desires and attained #moksha or #nirvana. The tirthankars are also called as ‘Jina’, means victor-er. They believe every soul has potential to become God or ‘Jina’ and attain nirvana.
10) The #tirthankars show people path towards liberation, and hence are worshiped and have temples built to pray to them.There are many Jain temples and religious sites all over India.
Please note not everyone understands and follows the religion strictly,as it’s upon individuals to decide how they want to build up good karmas. One of the better ways to build up good karmas, and do less harm to the universe is by renouncing worldly pleasures and becoming a monk or nun. Hence monks and nuns are highly revered in the religion.
Please also note that no one is forced to follow the religion and rituals, and more emphasis is put on getting knowledge from monks and religious texts,so that individuals can try to do less harm to the universe, and work more towards self actualization/liberation.
This article of course doesn’t describe everything, and I will write some more articles to illustrate more points later.
Author : Sue is a world traveller, coach and author of 2 books and a follower of Jainism. She has varied life and work experiences. Get in touch with her on FB.