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Jainism. Student-led Tutorial By: Catherine, Pooneh, Leona, Jennifer, Tracy. Jainism: The Religion. Jainism is an ascetic religion of India that teaches the immortality and pilgrimage of the soul, denies the existence of a supreme being and emphasizes the art of non-violence.

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Student-led Tutorial

By: Catherine, Pooneh, Leona, Jennifer, Tracy

jainism the religion
Jainism: The Religion
  • Jainism is an ascetic religion of India that teaches the immortality and pilgrimage of the soul, denies the existence of a supreme being and emphasizes the art of non-violence.
jainism the religion3
Jainism: The Religion
  • The Jain community is composed of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.
  • There are two distinct religious groups: the Digambaras (the sky-clad) and the Svetambaras (the white clad).
  • This division probably occurred around 300 B.C. over two issues: the nature of Mahavira and monastic nudity.
  • Though they both believe in the same doctrines that are important to Jainism, their practices are different.
origins of jainism
Origins of Jainism
  • The exact place where Jainism started is not confirmed, but India is most commonly referred to as the place of origin.
  • Jainism, as a religion, was, at various times, found all over South Asia including Sri Lanka and what are now Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Afghanistan.
  • Jainism started out in the sixth century B.C as a protest against the overdeveloped rituals of Hinduism. The actual date is still questioned, but it is believed that it started no earlier than 850 B.C (7th-5th Century B.C).
key figures of jainism
Key Figures of Jainism
  • Vardhamana Mahavira is the most important figure in Jainism as he was the last in line of the Tirthankaras.
  • He was born in 599 B.C. and died in 527 B.C. His birthplace was Kundalpur, India.
  • His life and teachings were dedicated to the art of ahimsa or non-violence, which is the central belief of Jainism.
  • He grew up in India where Hinduism was the dominant religion. He accepted the aspects of Hinduism, but felt that some changes needed to be made.
  • It was he who built up the Jain Church and laid such a firm foundation for it that it has existed almost unchanged for more than twenty-five centuries.
key figures in jainism
Key Figures in Jainism

Left: Mahavira picture

Top: Mahavira statue

Right: Mahavira on



Rock image of 24 Tirthankaras

jainism key beliefs
Jainism: Key Beliefs
  • Ahimsa - The central Jain belief is an agreement to avoid physical violence and conduct that can be mentally and emotionally damaging to oneself or others. It also involves commitment to all life forms on earth and not engaging in practices which may bring harm.
  • Karma –the belief that for every action, there is a consequence.
  • Reincarnation –One’s soul that is reborn into different bodies over the course of many lives.
  • Proper Conduct - Jains are encouraged to make a vow to conduct themselves according to the following principles: 1) Non-violence (ahimsa) 2) Truthfulness 3) Non- Stealing 4) Celibacy 5) Non-possession
jainism key beliefs8
Jainism: Key Beliefs
  • Moksha - Results in the elimination of the effects of karma in one’s life (achieved through meditation)
  • Atomism - Jains believe that every living thing on the planet possesses a soul or “Jiva”. They also believe that people are bound to act more compassionately if they acknowledge that everything is composed of a spirit or soul.
  • No absolutes - No perspective of any person is wrong, despite the fact that different perspectives have different effects on the specific situation.
key practices and rituals
Key Practices and Rituals
  • Meditation (samayika) - the process of eliminating self-centered thinking and becoming united with the spirit that governs the universe
  • Mantras - the Five Homages (panka namaskarais) are recited on a daily basis, usually in the morning; another mantra called ahimsa vikas, helps Jains to pursue a life without violence.
  • Worship - takes place at stone temples or at wooden shrines near the house which resemble the temple itself.
  • Fasting - occurs at mostly festivals and holy days such as Paryushana and Mauna Agyaras
key practices and rituals10
Key Practices and Rituals
  • Small brooms are carried to sweep insects away from their path
  • Jain nuns and monks do not accept food that is not cooked by themselves, they do not physically touch people of the opposite sex, and they wear simple white clothes or even nothing at all.
  • A disciplined life is expected from all believers of Jainism, not only the monks or the nuns
  • Sacred Rituals - performed at the temple
  • These are some of the rituals:



Namokar Mantra

symbol of jainism
Symbol of Jainism

Swastika and the Open Pal

  • The outline of this picture represents the universe in the Jain description. It is supposed to resemble a person standing on his feet with his feet apart, and the arms are rested on the hips.
  • The swastika represents the soul in which it can be reborn and reincarnated into during the time it is in the universe.
  • There are three dots above the swastika. They represent Right Faith, Right Knowledge, and Right Conduct. The three dots are the three jewels of Jain philosophy in which they believe liberation can be found.
  • The half moon is where the liberated soul is being kept, and the dot inside of it is the liberated pure soul.
  • The hand below the swastika is a gesture of blessing and protection.
  • Inside the hand, there is a wheel of 24 spokes, and this represents Jinas. In the middle of the wheel, a word is inscribed which says: “ahimsa”
jainism in the 21st century
Jainism in the 21st Century
  • As of early 21st century, there are 4.5 million followers.
  • Most Jains live in India, with smaller populations in Canada, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • Jainism has been an influence for the Indian culture for over 2500 years and has contributed to Indian philosophy and logic, art and architecture, mathematics, astronomy and astrology, and literature.
  • Jainism’s culture possibly influenced the religion of Buddhism today.
  • There is little question that Jainism influenced the great Hindu Mohandas Gandhi.
  • Even though it isn’t well known, Jainism has affected spiritual development of the world.