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Jainism Essay

1178 words - 5 pages

Jainism Jainism is one of the oldest religions deriving from Ancient India. Although it shares many similar characteristics with many other religions, Jainism is indeed unique. Prominent and revered figures from the past, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, have led the fight against their oppressors following Jainism teachings. Janis¡¦s Jainists believe that life is perpetual, with no real ending or beginning. They traditionally believe in a final stage of bliss, where the soul, liberated from the necessity of rebirth on earth, infinitely enjoys a spiritual and conscious existence. What is this condition known as? However, to obtain that status, one has to live an extreme and strict lifestyle. Purification and self-salvation are core to this faith rather than looking more towards a God(s) for leadership.This religion preaches teaches many different ideas. Resembling Hinduism, Jains wholeheartedly believe in the idea of Karma; how every action produces consequences or reactions. In addition, there are five principles that create the essence of Jainism. The first ideology, Ahimsa [ "non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical¡¨ (Robinson para 4) ] epitomizes their way of life. The living (humans, animals, plants) are considered sacred and valued beyond anything else. In order to attain their spiritual release, the absence of Ahimsa is essential. The second principle is Satya, which is the dedication towards truth and honesty. No form of deception is tolerated due to the fact that it goes against the teachings of Jainism. Asteya follows the same lines as Satya, with its emphasis on the deplorable act of theft. The fourth principle is Brahma-charya, which further cements the sanctity of marriage and prohibits any sexual acts with a non-spouse. Finally, the concept of Aparigraha preaches hinges upon the theory that focus on worldly possessions obstructs a person from reaching is an obstruction to spiritual liberation. It is imperative to a Jain that s/he must separate him/herself from externalities such as people or any material goods.There are many common things between Jains and Hindus. In matters of dress and ornaments, occupations and professions, games and amusements, language and literature, outlook on life and behavior, superstitions, beliefs and practices, religious festivals and fasts, sacraments and rituals. Similarities are quite visible.for example: Like the Hindus, the Jains also believe in ages that are defined in terms of morality. Unlike the four ages that are recognised in Hinduism, the Jains recognise only two viz. the Utsarpini or Ascending and the Avasarpini or descending. This connotation of these two ages have a close parallel in the Satyuga and Kaliyuga of the Hindus. Over the ages the Jains have in practice drawn so near to Hinduism as to present outwardly little difference in modes of worship and ritual. The Jains reject the authority of the Vedas but recognize the caste...

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