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Primer DJA

Philosophy/Religion (HCMII) by
Joseph Anbarasu
Adopted 1937 Swastika: Four types of birth
into witch a sole can
Out side shape:
Jains description
Of the shape of the Stylized hand: Gesture of blessing
Universe. A person and
standing with feet protection
apart and arms
rested on both hips

Wheel of 24 spokes: Represents Jains

inside says ahimsa
the essence of Jains
ethnical teachings


 The outline of the symbol is
defined as the universe (Lok).
 The raised hand means stop. The
word in the center of the wheel is
 The four arms of the swastika
remind us that during the cycles
of birth and death
 The three dots above the swastika
represent the three jewels of
Jainism: Samyak Darshan (Right
Faith), Samyak Jnan (Right
Knowledge), and Samyak Charitra
(Right Conduct).
 At the very top part of the Jain
Universe symbol is a small curved

 At least 2500+
years old
 Look at the
Sithanavasal Caves,
where the saints of
Jains lived about
1500 years ago. It
is in Tamil Nadu.
 The shrines were
probably enriched
by the rulers
Kalabhras, believed
to be the latter days

 Paintings of Sithannavasal
and few other rocks found
in Tamil Nadu depicted
 About 20 percent of Tamils
and Kannadigas were
Jains in 6th and 7th
Centuries. No more today.
 Naladiyars,
Silappathigaram and
Manimegali are
jainclassical works in
Tamil, telling about
Jainism in South India.
 Today, Followed by 3 - 4
million people mostly in
North India

Jainism in SOUTH INDIA

 Life affirming but
 Seeks to release the
soul from the round of
rebirth, to liberate spirit
from matter
 Ahimsa – non-violence
– is the hallmark of this
spiritual discipline
 No creator god
 Spiritual life is primarily
moral rather than

 24 Tirthankaras (“ford maker”):
great teachers engraved in a
rock in Tamil Nadu (Ginge)
 Going back countless
thousands of years before
recorded history
 Mahavira (“great hero”) – the
24th and final Tirthankara –
reformer of ancient Jainism
 Nataputta Vardhamana
 Lived 599 - 527 BCE in
northeast India
◦ 30 years as student (never married)
◦ 12 years as ascetic renunciant
◦ 30 years as spiritual teacher

The founders of Jainism

 Jina: (conqueror) an enlightened
being who has conquered
material existence and released
the soul from the round of rebirth
 Tirthankara: a jina who is a
great spiritual teacher
 Siddha: a liberated soul
 The goal of Jainism: to become
a Jina, thus freeing one’s soul
from the material realm
◦ we can all become “gods” but these gods
do not intervene or respond to
petitionary prayer
o Microscopic life-forms trapped in
matter (water beings, rock
beings, fire beings, air beings)
This bas-relief at Kazhugumalai has three
rows of Jaina Tirthankaras seated on lotus

Jain Beliefs: Spiritual Beings

 Jiva = life-giving
spirit (soul)
 Ajiva = inert/non-
living matter
 All living beings
contain soul and are
considered Jiva
(soul trapped in
◦ Humans
◦ Animals
◦ Plants

Jain Beliefs: Jiva & Ajiva

 Karma: impurity of the
soul that keeps the soul
bound to the cycle of
rebirth into matter
 Karma is built-up through
actions in this world:
thoughts, words, deeds,
 Reduce and eliminate
karma so as to achieve
moksha (nirvana)–
release of the soul from
the cycles of rebirth
 How are we to do this?…

Jain Beliefs:
Karma & Reincarnation
 Ahimsa: non-violence to any and all life forms.
Intent to do no harm. Strict vegans (avoid all
meat and animal products, including milk, eggs,
fish and even avoid root vegetables).
 Aparigraha: non-attachment
 Anekantwad: non-hatred
 Asceticism: to live a monastic life, detached
from this world and society – a life of poverty and

Jain practices: Spiritual Discipline

 There was a poor man named Mangal.
In the day he would cut wood and in CUTTER
the evening he would go to the market
with the wood. After selling the wood,
with the money earned he could go to
the grocery to purchase some things
for his house. He was satisfied with his
income. One day he went to the forest
to cut wood and climbed a tree at the
river bank. While he was cutting the
branch, his axe fell into the river.
Mangal came down from the tree and
jumped into the river to find his axe,
but he did not find his axe. He was
very sad and cried. He had no money
to buy an other axe and it was difficult
for him to feed his family without any
 The Goddess of the forest took pity on him
and went towards him and said,"Why are CUTTER
you crying my son?" Mangal said, "My axe
fell into the water and how shall I do my
work now?" The Goddess said, "Do not
weep, I will bring your axe from the river".
So the Goddess jumped into the river and
came out with a gold axe. She asked
Mangal is this your axe? Mangal said," No
this is not my axe. I am a poor man so how
I can have gold axe?" The Goddess again
jumped into the river and came out with a
silver axe and asked him," Is this your
axe?" But Mangal replied, "No this is not my
axe." The Goddess jumped into the river for
third time and came out with an iron axe.
Now Mangal was very happy because it was
his very own axe. The Goddess also became
happy with Mangal truthfulness. The
Goddess said," I am very happy with your
honesty and because of that you can take
the gold and the silver axe too. Now Mangal
was not poor but rich.
 Digambara (“sky
◦ Wear no clothes
◦ Live alone or in small
groups in the forests
◦ Admit only men
 Svetambara (“white
◦ Wear white robes
◦ Live in community
◦ Admit both men and
◦ Some wear face masks
to protect minute life
forms from harm

Jain Monastics: Two major sects

 Ahimsa: non-violence
(do not harm others)
 Satya: truth (do not
 Achaurya: non-
 Brahmacharya:
celibacy & chastity
 Aparigraha: non-
ownership (poverty

Five Monastic Vows:

 A thief stole a horse and went to
the market to sell it. One customer THIEF
asked the price of the horse. The
thief asked him," How much will
you give?" The customer said, "I
can give four hundred rupees for
it". The thief didn't know that the
customer was also a thief. The
customer thought that this horse
was stolen. So he asked him that
he would like to try the horse
before he could buy it. He agreed to
let him try. The customer took the
horse and run away without paying.
When people asked him for how
much he sold the horse, he would
say," At the same price what I got it
for. "He had stolen the horse
therefore it went without any
 Householders: marry and
have children
 A simple life but not ascetic
(may take temporary
monastic vows)
 Modified vows (five plus
seven more) to guide life in
this world
 Maintain Vegan diet
 Do not expect to achieve
moksha in this life (it takes
full asceticism and monastic
life to hope to become a

Lay Jainism (non-monastic)

 According to Jainism there lived
a hunter in the forest. Once
there came a Digamber Saint.
He preached the people about
vegetarianism. Most people
took an oath not to eat meat in
their life. When he asked the
hunter to leave the eating of
meat, the hunter said, "Lord,
the meat is our main food and
we can't live without it". At the
end he decided to leave eating
meat. Once he became very ill.
The doctor advised him to eat
meat as medicine. He refused
and did not take meat because
of his oath. He was born in the
heaven. So we should remain
pure vegetarians and never eat

 Make pilgrimages to
sacred sites (related to
the lives of the
 Attend temples
 Revere the Tirthankaras
 Observe holy days:
◦ Mahavir Jayanti (April;
commemorating the birth of
◦ Paryushana Parva (Aug. –
Sept.; a festival of fasting
and forgiveness)
◦ Mahavir Nirvan (Diwali)
(Oct. – Nov.;
commemorates the
liberation [death] of

Lay Jainism: religious practices

 "If you kill someone, it
is yourself you kill.
 If you overpower
someone, it is yourself
you overpower.
 If you torment some
one, it is yourself you
 If you harm someone,
it is yourself you

Bhagwan Mahavir
Thank you
 Jainism Literature Center (from Harvard
University’s “Pluralism Project”):
 Fundamentals of Jainism:
 Jainism Heritage Centres, “your guide to Jain
heritage centres across the globe”:

Jainism on the Web: