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RLG100 Lecture 25 Monday.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Arti Dhand

RLG100 Lecture 25 Monday, January 13, 2014 Jainism: -one of the ancient religions of the Indian Subcontinent -Jains form tiny minority today in India -was extraordinarily important in shaping way that all the Indian traditons would follow -exemplifies everything that the Sramana movement stood for -asked Existential questions about life -Metaphor of the Forest -should conjure up the image of renunciation -juxtaposed to society, represents an opposition to society -society is organized and has order, forest is opposite -represents a rejection of the values of society -family life, wealth, order -the Sramanas would leave their homes and go into the forest to search for the meaning of life and new ways of thinking about life, or how to live -various degrees associated with Ascetic movement (Asceticism) -made efforts to overcome the body -rigorous habit of fasting, exposing one’s body to fire on a hot day or to extreme cold, depriving the body of things as a way of stern discipline -evolved among the Sramana movement -understands itself to have 24 Vedas -24 Tirthankaras (Jina, ‘conqueror’) -bridge-builder -conquerors are those who have crossed over from Samsara into Moksa -they have conquered the world experience and escaped the cycle of rebirth -Vardhamana Kasyapa (aka Mahavira) -founder of Jainism -599-527 BCE -elder contemporary of the Buddha -Hagiography -account of someone’s life from the faith perspective within the tradition -give us some details on his life -seek to underscore the point that this was an individual who made great leaps in the Existential questions of life, understood that there is suffering inherent in life and found ways to overcome this suffering and pain -some point left his home (age 30) was born to prosperous parents -as a child was concerned with the suffering of others and keeping people from harm (even as a fetus) -accentuate the qualities that Jains most value in life -waited for parents to die before renouncing the world -this was to save them from any pain
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