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• Response to Hinduism and rejection of castes system

• “Founder”—Mahavira or the last of 23 founders
• Tirthankaras—“ford builders” or “crossing builders”
Mahavira ca. 599-527 BCE
•Parallels Buddha’s life
•Family wealth vs. poverty
•Joined ascetics
•Became far more extreme
•Ahimsa yields true release
•Ahimsa produces Jina (release
from this life or conqueror over
attachment, hence the name
Tirthankaras—“ford builders” or “crossing builders”
• Reincarnation—until one finally breaks the cycle
• Karma is the glue that sticks you to life
• Reduce involvement and one reduces karma
• Dualism:
Jiva=soul=good, pure, eternal
Ajiva=matter=bad, impure, temporal
• Asceticism cleanses the soul of the karma
• Salvation comes from ones work at release
• God, prayers, rituals, etc. aren’t necessary

1. Ahimsa
2. Speak the truth
3. Don’t steal
4. Celibacy
5. Renounce attachments
Jain hand is the emblem of
the Jainism, which
symbolizes Ahimsa,
nonviolence, the wheel in
the center is the wheel of
Samsara, the word in the
center of the wheel reads
Palitana, Gujarat

1. White Clad—will wear white clothes (north)

2. Sky Clad—nudist (south)
3. Sub-group of the White Clads—reject temples
White Clad monks
New Religion
• 500 BC, group of Hindus broke away, founded new religion called Jainism
• Led by teacher Mahavira, Jains thought most Hindus put too much emphasis on

Ritual Unnecessary
• Jains thought ritual unnecessary
• People could achieve moksha by giving up worldly things, carefully controlling

• Central to Jain teaching, idea of ahimsa, nonviolence
• Most Hindus also practiced ahimsa, but not to same extent
• Jains carefully avoid harming living creatures, are usually vegetarians
Other Traits
• Jains promise to tell only truth
• Avoid stealing
• Strive to eliminate greed, anger, prejudice, gossip
from lives
Lifestyle Principles
•• Most
These things
devout becomecan prevent
monks, nuns, person
• Most from
Jains notachieving
monks, nuns
give up possessions
moksha • Pledge to uphold principles of ahimsa,
• Live outdoors, seek shelter only during have careers that do not involve
rainy months harming of animals
• Cover mouths with masks, sweep • Jainism calls for periodic fasting,
ground to avoid accidentally killing especially during festivals, on holy
insects days; limiting worldly possessions
Find the Main Idea

What are the major principles of Jainism?

Answer(s): practice nonviolence; tell the truth; do not

steal; try to eliminate greed, anger, prejudice, and