Understanding jainism south asian religious world
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Understanding Jainism: South Asian Religious World. Remember the South Asian Religious World. Legend of NattaputtaVardhamana. Mahavira (“Great Hero”) NattaputtaVardhamana Last in a long line of founders (like Buddha) Truth: discovered, fades, lost, recovered Truth finders= TIRTHANKARAS

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Understanding Jainism: South Asian Religious World

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Understanding jainism south asian religious world

Understanding Jainism:South Asian Religious World


Remember the south asian religious world

Remember the South Asian Religious World


Legend of nattaputtavardhamana

Legend of NattaputtaVardhamana

  • Mahavira (“Great Hero”)

  • NattaputtaVardhamana

  • Last in a long line of founders (like Buddha)

  • Truth: discovered, fades, lost, recovered

  • Truth finders= TIRTHANKARAS

  • “Bridge Crossers”

  • Between this life and nirvana


Legend of nattaputtavardharmana

Legend of NattaputtaVardharmana

  • Legend similar to Siddhartha

  • Born to wealth & status

  • But not fulfilled….

  • Was visited by wandering ascetics…

  • Desire to join, but tied to his duties

  • Once parents died, and others took over his domestic affairs, he renounced the world

  • Joined other ascetics, but was not fulfilled by their ways

  • So, charts his own path, based on extreme asceticism


Basis of jain thought dualism

Basis of Jain thought: Dualism

  • Why did Mahavira decide that extreme asceticism was the ideal path?

  • Urban context

    • Gross materialism

    • Loss of ethics

    • Lust

    • Status, discrimination and harm

  • Upanisadic ideas (Critique of Vedic ritual)

  • Hindu tradition of the Sunnyasin (renunciant)

  • Asceticism= ahimsa (non violent reverence for life)


Jain thought dualism

Jain Thought: Dualism

  • All is atman (Hinduism)

  • All is mind (Buddhism)

  • All is jiva&ajiva(Jain dualism)

  • Jiva: soul, life, eternal.

  • Ajiva: lifeless, material, evil

  • Goal: to liberate the jiva from ajiva, or the soul from matter

  • How: to deny the material body, and its attraction to things in the world…

  • Including ritual, worship, other people and Gods…

  • How does the world of materialism lead to violence and harm to the world?

  • Lust

  • Desire

  • Greed

  • Want

  • Competition

  • Power

  • Fortune without ethics

  • All the things we desire in the world, are in fact harmful

  • Jain literature tries to ‘wake us up’ to our material enslavement—including the enslavement of our own bodies! (See story…)


More on jiva ajiva ahimsa

More on Jiva, Ajiva, Ahimsa

Everything has jiva

Humans, plants, animals, insects, atoms, etc

How do we know we have jiva?

For Jains, thought or awareness (which is all that we can be sure of) is explained as the function of the soul. It is what makes us aware, intelligible and conscious

Interruption– or harm– in another jiva’s spiritual progress increases karma, and attachment to this world

Ahimsa= non violent respect for all life

So—a Reform of present day, urban, sinful, material society


Jina jaina and jaina s

Jina, Jaina, and Jainas

  • Jina= conqueror of material body

    • Monks; follow example of Mahavira

  • Jaina= followers of those who conquered

    • Layity (like Sangha) who follow Ahimsa

  • 2 major division

  • 1. Svetambaras (white clad; liberal)

  • 2. Digambara (sky clad; orthodox)

  • Women as temptresses?

  • Nude appearance?


Classification of ajiva the world s first natural science

Classification of Ajiva: The World's First Natural Science?

  • Though Jainism rejects Ajiva i.e. to be avoided and conquered…

  • Led to an intense classification of what ajiva is.

  • 4 characteristics (touch, taste, smell, colour)

  • Perceptible (Skandhas= molecules) matter & Imperceptible matter( anus = atoms)

  • 3 parts (numerable, innumerable, and combinations of the 2)

  • 6 sub classes of matter

  • Solids (earth, stone)

  • Liquid (water, milk, oil, etc)

  • Energy (manifest heat, light etc)

  • Gases (air, etc)

  • Fine matter (responsible for thought activities; beyond sense perception)

  • Extra-fine matter: (forms of single elementary particles are made of extra fine matter)

  • …and more

  • Classification of sound, bodies, union and combination of parts of matter, fineness and grossness, divisibility………

  • And so on…..


Jain festival and expression

Jain festival and expression

  • All festivals are connected to the 5 major events in a Tirthankara’s life

  • Womb, birth, renunciation, attainment of knowledge, final release

  • Paijusana: fasting, forgiveness, new year

  • Diwali: celebrates Mahavira’s enlightenment


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