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Lecture

RLGA01H3 Lecture Notes - Nonviolence, Rishabhanatha, Jain Cosmology


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGA01H3
Professor
Henry Shiu

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RLGA01H 2010-10-19 to 2010-10-26
1
JAINISM t WEEK 1
Basic Introduction
A religion of ascetism
Mainly stayed within India t only very committed believers could withstand and stay with the religion
Æuo](]Z^ÁÇ}(Á}l_~karmamarga)
What counts most are our actions
How you act and how you behave defines your attainment of religious gratification
You behave completely differently, in accordance to what is prescribed in the religion
o}oÇo}Z]v]o}(^v}v-À]}ov_~ahimsa)
Religious History
Arose in reaction to changing condition of Indian life and religious systems
In roughly the 6th century BCE, there was a rising class of merchants and property owners in India
Economic, social, etc. environments were changing rapid Æ as a result, there was a period of great
social and intellectual ferment
People began to question the validity of Hinduism and the authority of the brahmans
If the priests are so much higher, why are the merchant classes rising and becoming so wealthy and
powerful if they have no access to Vedic means?
At the time, Vedic priests became very corrupted
New religious and philosophical groups surfaced
Rejecting the basic claims of the Vedic tradition
Asserting what they saw as reality of the universe being able to be attained by any cast, without
priests, through meditation
These groups were known as the sramana ~o]X^]À_Æ Jainism and Buddhism are results
Principles and Beliefs of Jainism
Often abandoned family, social ties, and social status for the pursuit of liberation Æ often wandered forests
Also abandoned orthopraxy (rules of ritually proper behaviour)
The hereditary priesthood, along with its sacrifices and other rituals, were rejecting
Extreme non-violence beliefs disdained animal sacrifices and causing harm to any living things
Compared with Hinduism, Jainism has been more disciplined and systematic
Most are vegetarians, would not wear leather
Some would walk VERY carefully to avoid stepping on living creatures
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RLGA01H 2010-10-19 to 2010-10-26
2
^}uÁul}ZZÇÁ}v[]vooÇ]vZoo]À]vPthings from the air
Filter water from rivers to filter off tiny living organism in order to not harm them
Extreme non-violence precautions
It has been described as an ethical religion or a philosophy
How to live to transform yourself perfectly in a karmic way
Not a theology, therefore there is no belief in God
Believes in the existence of a soul in every single living being
sÇ](]µvv]vP}(Z^lu]u_
Believe that karma is material in nature
o Whatever you do, however you act, creates tiny physical substances that will stick on your soul
Intention is important to determine the quality of karma
Soul had a nature of attracting more and more of different qualities of karma (i.e., bad karma attracted
even more bad karma accumulation)
Liberation is only possible if you can leave behind all comic mature stuck to the soul
Will often go to extreme extends, even if it causes harm to them, in order to rid karmic matter
Bad karma is considered to be the intention to cause harm unto others
Examples of extreme methods of practice
x Using sharp objects to stab yourself in the cheeks
x Carrying heavy items by your genitals
x Doing these self-harming practices would help achieve liberation faster
What is more common, is that we attain/attract more karmic matter with the more desires we have and
therefore get farther away from liberation
The transformative path to attain moksa (liberation) is believed by the Jains to have been laid out by the
^trithankaras_ t ooZ^(}(]v_ Æ transcended the waters of samsara to obtain moksa
x 24 trithankaras in the Jainism belief
JAINISM t WEEK 2
Principles and Beliefs of Jainism, continued
The transformative path to attain moksa (liberation) is believed by the Jains to have been laid out by the
^trithankaras_t ooZ^(}(]v_Æ transcended the waters of samsara to obtain moksa
x 24 trithankaras in the Jainism belief, beginning with Rabsa
x Some belief the 19th was a female
x Most scholars see all but the 23rd and 24th trithankaras, Parsva and Mahavira, as having been fable
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