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Jainism. Nature of the Universe. World is cyclical, generation and degeneration, without beginning or end; no creator god

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  1. Jainism

  2. Nature of the Universe • World is cyclical, generation and degeneration, without beginning or end; no creator god • The universe which is eternal is called loka, a vast yet finite space of 3 lands (Heavens, Middle Realm (including Mahavideha), Hell Realms) in which all beings dwell. Beyond loka, there are only strong winds. • Existence is divided between jiva(living/soul) and ajiva(nonliving/matter), these elements will always remain individual/unique (no union into oneness); all jivas are equal • This wheel of time and existence of samsara has upward and downward turns over 12 ages (yugas) of approx. 21,000 years each. • Upward turn: 6 ages of ascendancy • Downward turn:6 ages decline to utter depravity and then begins upward turn again.

  3. Human Condition and Kevala Humans are depraved and need help from multiple spiritual leaders, not just one. Trapped in Samsara, though human realm is best as only realm for attaining kevala. A kevalin has achieved omniscience. Kevala is no longer possible in our current world (5th spoke of downward turn-Kali Yuga). We need another tirthankara to show us the way to achieve perfect bliss but will have to wait. Rebirth in the Mahavideha realm of loka is possible for pious Jain ascetics. Asceticism, then, helps lead to omniscience For Jains, reducing karma, not just getting good karma is important.

  4. 3 Jewels of Jainism Darshana: Right Faith-right mindset/right seeing Jnana: Right Knowledge Caritra: Right Practice

  5. Liberation/Moksha Salvation in Jainism requires knowing the realities of samsara and the means to overcome samsara’s challenges. This is why kevala is necessary for achieving final liberation upon death. A deity will not liberate you. Jainism has gods, but they are not necessary to salvation. Goal of a religious life is to return the jiva to its ultimate purity so that it will no longer be weighed down by ajiva’s karma. For Jains, karma itself is part of samsara. The less actions one’s jiva wills, the safer one is. Virtuous actions don’t way the soul down. Intention is also particularly important because the jiva is enacting its will, and karma is attached therefore to intent.

  6. Teachings • The Tirthankaras (“makers of the river crossing”) were the first to find the path to spiritual liberation asjinas(“conquerors”) of samsara. There has been an infinite line of Tirthankaras, and more will come. There have been 24 in this world cycle. They are known by their symbol. Parshva(historically first known-800-700BCE) and Mahavira are most popular. • Mahavira(aka: NataputtaVardhamana): most recent and popular of these “conquerors.” Depending on the source, he lived anywhere from the 6th to late 5th Centuries BCE. His historical context and teachings are similar to that of the Gautama Buddha. • Vardhamanacarita: 9th Century CE biography of Mahavira by poet Asaga

  7. Vardhamanacarita Vardhamana was member of ruling class; father was a Jain. Married princess Yashoda (this detail about marriage is denied by the Digambara) Leaves palace life to join Jain ascetics Strikes out on his own for 12 years: extreme austerities and exemplified nonviolence in face of physical harm In 13th year he attains kevala, all-knowing wisdom/perfect knowledge

  8. Mahavira • Vardhamana, now liberated is called Mahavira(“great hero”). • Mahavira preaches and embodies Jain principles for 30 years. His disciples are called ganadharas: • Ahimsa:strict principle of nonviolence that is the eternal law-to the point of avoiding harm to any life. • Anekantavada(nonabsolutism)-respect views of others • Aparigraha(nonpossessiveness)-balance need and desire without attachment to possessions • Mahavira dies at 72 yrs old in Pava (N. Indian state of Bihar near his birthplace) at which point he ascends to eternal bliss

  9. Sacred Texts • 58 books of scripture based on Mahavira’spreachings which were rooted in tirthankaras before him • 3 categories • Purva (Digambara) • Anga-11 books (Shvetambara) • Angabahya-34 books (Shvetambara)

  10. Ascetics Diksha is the commitment to the ascetic life; most wander for 8 months and commune with lay communities during rainy season. 5 Great vows: ahimsa, abstain from lying, do not take what is not given, renounce sexual activity, renounce possessions. 6 Obligatory Duties: 1. Equanimity 2. Praise of the tirthankaras3. Veneration of teachers 4. Repentance 4. Laying down the body (standing or sitting w/o motion) 5. Abandonment (renunciations) Sallekhana: fasting to death intentionally

  11. Ascetics: Shvetambara and Digambara • Digambara (sky-clad) monks are generally more conservative and strict • Women must be reborn as men to attain kevala • Cup hands/no alms bowl-because of ahimsa • With regard to women,Shvetambarabelieve one of the tirthankaras, Malli, symbolized by the jar, was a woman.

  12. Laity Laity are encouraged to practice the 6 Obligatory Duties that ascetics must practice; esp. repentance (admitting wrongdoing and asking forgiveness) Worship: Often worship gods of Hindu pantheon but also worship the tirthankaras as a means to orient themselves to the proper religious attitude. Pilgrimage: Mount Shatrunjaya: site with hundreds of Jain shrines (for Shvetambara) Rituals and Observances: dietary habits, fasting

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