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RLGA01H3 Lecture Notes - Rishabhanatha, Tirthankara, Parshvanatha

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Henry Shiu

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Key Terms for the lecture on Jainism:
Karmamarga: Exemplifies “way of works”
Ahimsa: closely related to non-violence
Sramanas: new religious and philosophical groups surfaced, rejecting the basic claims of the
vedic tradition, while asserting what they saw as reality of the universe can be attained by human
beings of any caste through mediation. (“Strivers”)
Karma (in the context of Jainism): Jains believe karma to be material in nature. Intention is
important to determine the quality of karma.
Tirthankaras: those who transcended the ocean of samsara and found moksha from matters
clutches. “Ford-Maker”, epithet 24 Jinas
Moksha: moksha and nirvana are one and the same. When a soul achieves moksha, it is released
from the cycle of births and deaths, and achieves its pure self. It then becomes a siddha.
Attaining Moksha requires annihilation of all karmas, good and bad.
Rsabha: according to Jains, there were 24 tirthankaras in all, beginning with Rsabha. Became a
monk and practiced for 600,000 years before he attained “release”
Mahavira: Scholars believe that Jainism was given its present form by Mahavira (Great Hero).
Some scholars believe that he lived from 599 to 527 BCE, while others hold that he should live
around 350 BCE.
Jina: Mahavira was referred to as this. The victorious one, after he attained his enlightenment.
Alternatively called Tirthankara, conquered the world of desire and suffering, and taught the path
to eternal happiness.
Parsva: Mahavira was preceded by Parsva, believed to have born in about 872 BCE. Renounced
worldly pleasures and began his life of austerity. Gathered disciplines and asked them to observe
the four vows: Not to take life, not to lie, not to steal, not to own property.
Svatambaras: White-clad. Had a schism between Digamabaras. One of the two early sectarian.
Digambaras: Sky-clad. Early sectarian node within Jainism with its own sacred scriptures;
identified by the male mendicant practice of nudity.
Acarya: Each Jain monastic community is governed by an acarya. Monastic life pattern are
defined with rules for truthfulness, study, wandering, begging confession and penance.
Swastika: “Syastika” means “well-being”
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