Firstly a short history on Jainism:
Jainism is an ancient religion from India. The scholars of religion generally hold that Jainism originated in the 7th–5th century bce in the Ganges basin of eastern India, the scene of intense religious speculation and activity at that time that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. The aim of Jain life is to achieve liberation of the soul.
Jains trace their history through twenty-four tirthankara and revere Rishabhanatha as the first tirthankara. The last two tirthankara, the 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha and the 24th tirthankara Mahavira are historical figures.
Basics of Jainism:
Jainism is somewhat similar to Buddhism. Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, whereas Jainism is centered on the life and teachings of Mahavira and other 23 tirthankaras.
Jainism is different to Buddhism in its ascetic beliefs. Both these religions emphasize non-violence, but non-violence is the main core in Jainism. Mahavira just like Buddha isn't the first prophet of his religion. In Jainism like Buddhism there is a belief in reincarnation which eventually leads to liberation.
Jainism does not believe in God as a creator, survivor, and destroyer of the universe (Unlike other religions as we know). However Jainism does believe in God, not as a creator, but as a perfect being. When a person destroys all his karmas, he becomes a liberated soul. He resides in a perfect blissful state in Moksha (It’s a place superior to heaven from where you don’t take birth ever again as an earthling and remain connected to universe).
Basically as per Jainism, almost any person can become god.
Buddhism main goal is to gain enlightenment.
Principles of Jainism:
There are three main principles of Jainism, I call them the 3 A :
- Ahimsa – Non-violence
- Anekantavada - Non-absolutism
- Aparigraha - Non-possessiveness
Ahimsa not only means Non-violence, it also means commit the lowest amount of sins. Do not cause harm to any living beings. This is the reason why jains are born Vegetarian and never believe in revenge. (Ill later brief on why are they vegetarian)
Having multiple faces of the same reality is called Anekantvad, here we see from the neutral prospective as what is correct and what is wrong considering all the factors.
As per jainism, at each stage and situation of life, the right deed as per you is different from right deed for someone else.
Just understanding from one point of view, narrows down our thinking. For example, while eating we always think as we are hungry but we never take a step further to think what will happen to the lives of animals and plants we are killing so easily ? What pain will they feel in their heart? Can we try to minimize their agony? In fact, we just ignore that.
Anekantvad says think beyond, think beyond selfishness. If you start thinking today, tomorrow you might find solution which is beneficial to opposite party as well.
Let's take an example of relationship.
One girl is - daughter for father,same girl is sister for brother and wife for husband.
So for father rest of statement are false. So one will agree when father says, she is my daughter, brother says she is my sister and husband will say she is my wife…
This is Anekantvada.
Ekantvada is simply "I am Right".
Aparigrah refers to keeping the desire for possessions to what is necessary or important, depending on one's life stage and context. The precept of aparigraha is a self-restraint from the type of greed and avarice where one's own material gain or happiness comes by hurting, killing or destroying other human beings, life forms or nature.
Aparigraha is a concept that is related to and in part a motivator of charity, both from giver's and receiver's perspective.
In Jainism, worldly wealth accumulation is considered as a potential source of rising greed, jealousy, selfishness and desires. Giving up emotional attachments, sensual pleasures and material possession is a means of liberation, in Jain philosophy. Eating enough to survive is considered more noble than eating for indulgence. Similarly, all consumption is more appropriate if it is essential to one's survival, and inappropriate if it is a form of hoarding, show off or for ego. Non-possession and non-attachment are a form of virtue, and these are recommended particularly in later stages of one's life.
Einstein had said: "We can only know the relative truth; the absolute truth is known only to the universal observer". Non-violence in thinking;or the multi-dimensional approach in speech; and self- restraint in conduct constitute the master-key to right living.”
Why Jainism believe in vegetarianism and eating dinner early?
According to science and jain Tirthankaras, Every part of earth is living and we are a part of cosmos. Every being that shows emotions and have 5 senses, like animals, insects and humans, have different leves of sins depending upon size and senses, and should never be harmed.
For example: killing an insect will be less sinful then killing a cow. Killing a plant for eating will be far less sinful then killing an insect. But a sin will always be committed be it for food or by mistake. Its obvious that killing anything for pleasure will always be much more sinful then killing by mistake, be it pleasure, fun or food.
Another aspect is that humans cannot eat raw meat and stay healthy for long, which again prooves that uncooked meat is not good for humans and is scientifically proven.
Why eat before sunset?
As we all know, in india sun sets at approx. 6:30pm or 7pm in summers, this was the time suggested by the tirthankaras to have your meals and sleep by dark. The reason was simple: firstly eating dinner early and going to bed early is a proven healthy thing. Secondly waking up early and exercising or meditating is also a healthy way of life.
The most Holy book of Jainism is called “Kalpasutra”
Kalpasutra book consists of a biography of Lord Mahavira in detail, and the lives of the other prophets (Tirthankaras
The book also contains a list of monks from 527 BCE to approximately 500 AD and the code of conduct for Jainmonks.
However, it is the life of Lord Mahavira, which is a favourite among all Jains.
I hope you guys like it, as im already working on the second part. Happy steeming :) Kindly upvote if you like, and follow me for more amazing stuff... :)