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The Sramana traditions- Upanisads, Jainism

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Andre Maintenay

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World Religions November 29 , 2011. The Sramana traditions: Upanisads, Jainism Reading: Ch. 7 The Jain Tradition, pp. 353-375 The Sramana Tradition groups of people who rejected Verdic tradition and who left their home, wandered off into wilderness searching for answers to different kinds of questions Such individuals characterized by giving up social world and embrace of a lifestyle of homeless wandering and focusing on larger spiritual understanding Ascetic tradition, tradition that focuses fair bit on disciplining body, depriving it of luxuries or basic comfort, e.g. bed, limiting food, and expose themselves to various extremities (extreme cold, extreme heat) Backdrop of how all Indic traditions develop, origins of Jainism among Sramana Somewhere through expanse of history, Jain tradition has 24 teachers in total to instruct and guide people on the right path Usually these teachers appear on the downward phase of the cycle why? Before you hit rock bottom so you have some guidance with which to go back up again Teachers are morally disciplines, self mastered characters, set out guidelines on how to live an orderly, morally informed life, there to refresh human learning on these points, remind us of the core principles of living These teachers known generally by 2 names: Tirthankara, meaning a bridge builder (referring to somebody who construct build from sansaarthe world we live in, to mokshralasting, peaceful place) or Jina, meaning one who has concurred (concurred a temptation, distress, the experience of living in the world in a distressed state) Vardhamana Kasyapa, more familiarly known as Mahavira (meaning a great hero) often referred to as founder of Jainism Mahavira lived bw 599 and 527 B.C.E. and therefore elder contemporary of Buddha He was one who brought happiness to other people, concerned with care of other people, but in his lifestyle, was sharama, someone who is engaged in ascetic wanderness Developed indifference to pleasure and pain, whos rich in self control, self discipline and self master, hence Mahavira was great master of shramana Character of extraordinary passion, kindness for other beings Hagiography a faith account of an individual, e.g. Gospels Assumes role of renouncer and begins search for enlightenment Eventually discards all sense of person possession, symbol of this discards clothing, letting go final act of last vestige of his attachment to the norms of society Trying to shed ideal, prejudices, norms of society, begin by leaving home, shed clothing, eventually realize clinging onto sense of shame to clothing (why do we wear clothing? why do we want to cover up? because people react to you differently when youre naked, you have a sense of embarrassment which tells
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