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Western University
Religious Studies
Religious Studies 1023E
William Acres

Jainism Important Parts in the Supplementary notes • Jains worshipping together with Hindus in North America • Jains have a strong punjabi connection, especially in matters of diet and culture • The Jinas who attain Kevali (Jain Nirvana) set an extraordinary standard, but Jains are not paralyzed by that any more than Hindus who are certainly not stopped in their tracks by the complexity of the Brahman/Atman, or Buddhists by the exhausting difficulties of holding the four noble truths, the eightfold path and the five precepts. • Faith is integrated and not apart or remote from daily life. • Highly-educated and deeply interested in Jain practices no matter their professional expertise. • Karma is a substance; it is matter, “pugdal”. • For Jains, matter really matters—as does the fascinating thing, which goes on around even the smallest particles of matter, “life”, or “jiva”. • The most infinitesimally small organisms are “Nigodas”. • The Jinas conquered matter by never changing it and learning how to exist independently of its claims, I then understood why the Jain tradition devotes much effort to a very meticulous (very, very, very meticulous) understanding of the nature of all creation. • Everything for Jains exists conditionally • Non-violence should be infused every action, no matter how small, with the best possible way of not rupturing the universe and its structures. • Because the essential question of living (jiva) and non-living (ajiva) is posed in even the smallest action. • Must seek to have this quality of non-violence, “ahimsa”, so that liberation may be obtained. • A very different view of karma—as particulate, sticky, actual, clinging, of a million different conditions, and conditionally affecting all actions. • 24 Tirthankarthas • The last of them, Virdhamana Mahavira, is the exemplar for much of Jain learning, and it is from his life that we learn much about how the human navigates in the world of living and non-living • Liberation, or “kevala” • The outermost ring of our consciousness (our world) is full of these kevali, or enlightened ones—and that is where the Tirthankarthas are. • Time, as rooted in karmic particles, becomes as thin as the materials, eventually ceasing altogether at the highest perimeter. • It is almost like a reversed bicycle wheel (the Buddhist configuration) where the outermost edge has the least motion (the Buddhist wheel is still in the centre). • For every time cycle there are 24. • Pure consciousness preceded him in the other 23, • Jain is a tradition of non-karma, but of pure “ahimsa”, that is given to those of us living in karma as a series of teachings, lessons, in obtaining our release from karma. • Series of truths which appears through the Tirthankarthas so that the karmic human can grasp that there is a way out. • Jains worship all of the 24, not only the Mahavira. • He is called the “ultimate” Tirthankara • “Jinas”, the great ones. • The first of them, Rishabha, lived early in our present time cycle • He lived for 72 years, attaining his nirvana at the very end of his life. • There formed two main Jain schools o A primarily monastic tradition, called Digembara o A lay tradition which includes monks and nuns, Svetembara (White Clad) o These traditions have slightly differing versions of the Mahavira’s life: for Svetembara, he married and had children, and he began his renunciation at about 30 years of age, with the full support of holy beings in the universe. • Pulling out all of their hair signified the beginning of the renunciation of the body, and called attention to the pain of life. • Both schools agree that he gave up wearing clothing another distancing from the vanities of life and possessions. • Digembara hold to the idea that Mahavira gave up all impurities, sleep, eating. • The Svetembara maintain that he did travel to send his message • The Digembara believe that he did not travel and he did his teaching and sharing his philosophy, but retreated to a “sacred hall” where he sent his teachings mentally, using a meditation method. • Five principal events in the “Ultimate One’s” life o The moment of his conception o His birth o His renunciation o His nirvana o His final release from this world of pain. o Much of Jain culture is textured by these five events, and their clear indication that this is a “jina” path. Art, and buildings, prayers, festivals, plays all celebrate this life pattern of the Mahavira. • Monks left, going to the south of India. They renounced clothing and lived in the forest. Those who were left are considered by the Digembara (southern) to have become very lax: wearing clothing and relaxing the following of the precisely defined life pattern of the jina. • There became a strong division between the monks and the householders. • The Jain family are Svetembara—householders. • Here there was a historical formation of the various classes, or “tirthas” of the human community: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. • These four groups suggest the strong differentiation in gender; as men garner more respect, so the monks get more respect than the nuns • Svetembara have no difficulty according great status to women, the Digembara ideal forbids nakedness among women, so that they cannot renounce properly according to the orthodox Jina pattern. • The historical role of women is far inferior for the Digembara. • Women must be re-born as men to achieve nirvana—kevala—in the Digembara school. • Underline the complex Jain study of the universe, time, particles, and the nature of the holy, living, and non-living. • The purvas, the earliest texts are believed by all Jains to have disappeared in the ancient times; and Digembara believe that some of the other major texts which Svetembara use to be not correct and the originals lost. • Svetembara hold to the Agamas: these are treatises in volumes. • Mahavira: the chapter from the anga babya • Similar to the Brahman part of the Brahman-Atman—does not know the human being, his or her sufferings: this is a state of complete aloneness • During the fundamental disagreement, the monks, who were to be called the Digembara, saw that the Mahavira’s original ideas had been watered-down into more lax and easily-observed habits. • Perhaps holding to a now (by Svetembara) discredited idea, they proposed that no woman in this life could achieve Kevala, but only the male monks would so move to the state of liberated ‘aloneness’. • The purvas, or sayings, were thus entirely discredited by the radically hardcore group General Introduction • It started as a variation of Hinduism in the 6th century BCE • This is debated • Jain practices are extremely ancient • They might predate Mohenjo-Daro • Jainism is named after "Jina" • Jina means conqueror, not military, but one's self, passions, desires o Has attained the highest form of consciousness, realized his own true nature o Consciousness is indentifying yourself, conquering pudgal o We want to overcome pride, deceit, and greed • It is a very tolerant religion • It teaches to respect al views, religions, and races • The mean message is non-violence • Followers are known as Jains, not Jainists General Information • Jains lived as a tiny minority within the Hindu culture for many centuries • It is not inconsistent to see Jains worshipping with Hindus in NA • They are fully integrated • They sometimes marry Hindus • Many Jain centers are in large urbam areas • They take tragedy as an opportunity to do good things • Their diet consists of less pulling and picking, no root vegetables • Many Jains are highly educated Regional Connection • Regional connections and philosophical teaching aspcts of their faith are important • JAINA is one way the international Jain community connects with each other • Jain family makes it clear that their faith integrates with other cultures without losing its essential kindness and commitment to non-violence The Life of the Founder (Mahavira) • Jains trace their history through the lives of the 24 Tirthankaras • This means the bridge makers • Mahavira means great hero, and it was a title given to him • His real name was "Virdhamana" which means properous • He was a prince • He was married and had a daughter • He became ascetic at the age of 30 • After 12 years of self-moritifcation, he attained enlightenment • He taught for 30 years and died at 72 Sacred Texts • Teachings were orally transmitted for centuries • They were written around 300 BCE • They were divided into two groups o The Purvas (transmitted by memory and were gradually lost) o The Agamas (originated in Mahavira's teachings) • Jain possesses literature on cosmology, geography, astronomy, division of time, logic, medicine, grammar etc. • It contributed much to art and architecture What are the Mantras? • Logassa Sutra o Popular prayer for the Svetambara • Namokar Mantra What two principles does the ultimate reality consist of? • Living o Life or consciousness o Possesses infinite knowledge, infinite consciousness, infinite power, infinite bliss o It is formless and cannot be perceived by senses o There are an infinite number and it is infinately small o It can occupy space o It has dimension and it capable of expansion and contraction o Classified into five groups based on the sense organ that they possess o AUM represents five supreme souls  Arihant  Ashariri (Siddha)  Acharya  Upadhyaya  Muni (Sadhu) • Non-Living o Lack of consciousness o Characteristics of touch, smell, taste, colour o Consists of atoms o Groups of atoms create diverse things  Principles of time, space, motion What ar
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