Lecture 6
The Jain Tradition

I. The Jain Tradition

* Less than 1% of the population; much larger % of charities and tax-base
* Impact on Indian civilization
* Impact on Gandhi
* Jain diaspora

II. Mahavira (599 BCE - 527 BCE)

* Partakes of atmosphere of ferment that produced Upanishads.
* shramanas, "strivers," a varied lot of non-conformist seekers.
* Deny Vedas as shruti
* 24th Tirthankara, "ford-maker" (Adinath to Parshvanath, the 23rd)
* Jina, "victor," those who have won liberation; those who trace heritage to the Jinas are Jainas.
* The last 2 of the 24 Jinas are Neminath, Parshvanatha (9th century BCE)
and Mahavira Vardhamana (6th century BCE)

III. Seven Tattvas, "Realities"

* jiva - the life-force or soul of each being [one to five senses]
* ajiva - "not alive," matter
* ashrava - "influx" of karma
* bandha - "binding" of karma
* samvara - "stoppage" of karmic influx
* nirjara - "destroying" of karmic accretion
* moksha - freedom

* karma: action and results of action

IV. Ethics and Ahimsa, Non-Harm

* Five Vows: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing),
brahmacharya (chastity), aparigraha (non-attachment)
* Three Jewels: right faith or vision; right knowledge or understanding; right conduct

V. Anekantavada: Relativity of Views

* Many-pointedness

VI. Jain Renouncers and Sects

* Sadhus and Sadhvis, Monks and Nuns
* Digambaras (Sky-Clad) and Svetambara (White-Clad) [360 BCE split]
* Murtipujak (Use images or murtis in worship)
* Sthanakvasi (Reject the use of murtis or images)


Cort, John E. Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Dundas, Paul. The Jains. London: Routledge, 1992.
Jaini, Padmanabh S., The Jaina Path of Purification. Delhi: Motilala Banarsidass, 1979.
Tobias,Michael. Life Force: The World of Jainism. Berkeley: Asian Humanities Press, 1991.