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Founded in the 5th century BC by Mahavira (599-527), at the same time than Buddhism.

- Buddhism is the "middle way", Jainism is the "most strict religion" with two Denominations: The "Diganbara" (naked) are monks and nuns with vow of "nudity", living in monasteries. The "Svatembara" (white-robed), have 5 rules:

1- Destroy no life.
2- Do not lie.
3- Practice charity.
4- Practice chastity.
5- Posses nothing, want nothing.
6 Devotion of whole life to task (Moshka).

Like Buddhism, it is a rebellion against Hindu life: No gods, no priests, no caste system... but they have the Law of Karma and Reincarnation.
- "Jina", "the conqueror":
To obtain "Nirvana", Mahavira left his rich home and wandered for 13 years with a spartan life of denial of all worldly things, even walking nude... until enlightenment suddenly came to him after meditating for 2 days under saia tree on a river bank in Nepal... here enlightenment is called "Jina" (the conqueror, victorious), and from "Jina" comes the name "Jainism".

- It is a most paradoxical religion:
They rejected the gods of Hinduism, but now practically every existing thing is a god: The mountains and earth and stones have a "soul", every plant, every animal is a god... this leads to respect for the sanctity of life: They carry a small broom to sweep all forms of life from their path, and even they ware masks over their months so as to not accidentally swallow flies or other insects...

- There is no god to help you to obtain "Jain", but Mahavira is god, and they have beautiful temples like the one in Calcutta I have seen... and Mt. Aby in central India is a most holy place.

- They are only 5 million Jains in India, but very influential, because they are most successful bankers and merchants, in spite the Jainism most rigid restrictions on accumulating wealth...

- The first rule is to avoid any bad karma, to control all passions, emotions, pride, anger, lying, greed... and to build good karma, one must practice charity, give freely of one's wealth to aid the poor, build hospitals, homes for the orphans, schools, and build temples for the Hindu gods... though all Hindu gods are no gods, all of them are inferior deities subordinated to Mahavira.

The"Sacred Texts",

are the "Agama", the teachings of Mahavira; the "Cheda-sutras", the rules of asceticism; and the "Culika-sutras", texts concentrating on the nature of the mind and knowledge.

Their "Festivals",

are most important, as in all Hindu related religions:

- August-Sept.: "Pajjusana": A period of forgiving, giving to the poor, and confession of sins.

- Sept.-October: "Oli": A period of fasting and of mythical celestial worship of Jina images.

- Oct.-November: Commemoration of the Jina of Mahavira, by lighting lamps.

- March-April: "Oli": 9 days fasting.

I met a few Jains in India, and they were very respectful, kind, living a spartan hard life... but their main problem is "Reincarnation"... The Jains agree that for a laymen it is almost impossible to obtain "Jina", even after such an spartan life of denials; to obtain Jina you have to be a monk, and a male one!... Come to Jesus!... He is God!, He made miracles to back his words... and resurrected!... and He is at your side to clean all your bad karma, just by believing in Him... and to give you a new life on earth, to do wonderful things... and a real Paradise after death... without any reincarnations!...

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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

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