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Spotlight on Religion: Jainism May 8, 2013

It’s been a while, but it’s finally time for our third spotlight on religion. This time, as you can tell from the title, we’re going to be talking about is Jainism.

Religion: Jainism is a religion that believes in non-violence to all living things, and one of the oldest religions on the planet. The founder is unknown, but the beginning of this religion has been traced to the Indus Valley Civilization, though nobody knows for sure.  Jainism used to have a great many worshipers, but now there aren’t as many (only 4.2 million) because of the growing popularity of Hinduism.

Where it is Practiced: Jainism, as I mentioned before, has been traced to have started somewhere in the Indus Valley Civilization, which was in current-day India. It is now mostly practiced in India, but immigrants have spread/now practice it in countries like Belgium, the US, Canada, China, Japan, and Singapore.

Beliefs: Jainism’s main belief (or, as it are more commonly referred to, principle) is non-violence (ahimsa). Non-violence is seen as the biggest religious duty for all Jains, which means that it is the most important thing for them to follow/do. Jains strictly hold in place this view, which means that they are vegetarians, pacifists, and don’t fight each other with fists — ever. They also try not to injure plants more than they have to, and consider arguments and harsh words another form of violence. However, Jains know that they cannot go through life without hurting anything, so they rate the thing from 1 to 5 based on how many senses they have. Things with more senses are valued more and they do their best not to hurt them more than  those with less senses.

Practices: Jainism has many rituals and practices. The Navkar Mantra is one of their most important prayers. They do not mention names or ask for favors, but they do try their best to respect all beings with the prayer. They may thank them for what they have done or compliment them or something like that. Jains preform prayers like this so that they can break barriers of worldly desires/attachments and therefore help to liberate their soul. They also follow six rituals to liberate souls, as well. Some important festivals in Jainism are Paryushana, Mahavira Jayanti, and Diwali. During these festivals, Jains don’t really party like you’d expect — they mostly fast and meditate and pray. Meditation and fasting are a huge part of the Jainism practices, which also, I suppose, helps them to liberate their souls. In that way, they are similar to Hindus — they try to be good in this life so they can reach nirvana, or the point where they don’t have to do life over anymore and can simply be with God.

If you want to find out more about Jainism, I used this Wikipedia page to do my research:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism

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2 Responses to “Spotlight on Religion: Jainism”

  1. totorofan Says:

    Cool! I didn’t know anything about Jainism before, thanks 🙂


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