The Sramana traditions - Upanisads, Jainism

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Andre Maintenay

World Religions December 6 -10 , 2010 The Sramana traditions: Upanisads, Jainism Reading: Ch. 7 The Jain Tradition, pp. 353-375 Each teacher honoured as a tirthankara one who creates a ford so that other can make their way through a body of water on the other side It is tirthankara who enable the faithful to cross through river of life to shore of enlightenment Tirthas four components of Jain community: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen 1 tirthankara, Rishabha, lived during decline of ideal city st To bring order in chaotic time, Rishabha and son Bharata (1 emperor of subcontinentBharata varsha) introduced basic elements of society, culture, and values Mahavira Mahavira (title meaning great hero) most recent of the 24 jinas, born around 599 BCE near city Patna, N. India Parents members of kshatriya (warrior) class, given name was Vardhamana (one with increasing prosperity) Mahavira portrayed almost divinebirth associated with unusual omens: mother Trisala said to have had 14 wonderful dreams before he was born Accounts of his life differ due to schism amongst followers, 2 centuries after his deathDigambara (sky-clad) and Svetambara (white-clad) Jains diverged in several areas of doctrine and practice Svetambara narrative: Mahavira marries and has daughter before renouncing secular life Digambara narratives: Mahavira never married Mahavira embarks on quest for enlightenment age 30 His renunciation of the world: an event he marks by pulling out all his hair today, those who join Jain orders, monks and nuns, follow this; practice serves double purpose: reminding novices of pain that others suffer while showing their disregard for their own bodies Some point, Mahavira also renounces clothes as sign of attachment to modestyshame and hence selfhood Finally after 12 years of arduous and extreme ascetic practices, he achieves enlightenment Svetambara narrative: Mahavira gives 1 sermon on importance of on-violence ad spends several seasons traveling and spreading teachings through N. India Digambara narratives: Upon his enlightenment, Mahavira cases all worldly activity, his body becomes like crystal, free o all impurities, he doesnt eat or sleep, and instead of travelingteaching, spends remainly 30 years life in kind of celestial hall called the samavasarana (the refugee of all creatures), where
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