JINA AND THE SOUL
Jainism - The 'Jains' are the followers of the Jinas. 'Jina' literally means 'Conqueror.' He who has conquered love and hate, pleasure and pain, attachment and aversion, and has thereby freed `his' soul from the karmas obscuring knowledge, perception, truth, and ability, is a Jina. The Jains refer to the Jina as God. Know more about Jainism.
ORIGINS OF JAINISM
Originating on the Indian subcontinent, Jainism -- or, more properly, the Jain Religion ( Dharma ) -- is one of the oldest religions of its homeland and indeed of the world. Jainism has prehistoric origins dating before 3000 BC, and before the beginning of Indo-Aryan culture.
Jain religion is unique in that, during its existence of over 5000 years, it has never compromised on the concept of nonviolence either in principle or practice. Jainism upholds nonviolence as the supreme religion (Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah) and has insisted upon its observance in thought, word, and deed at the individual as well as social levels. The holy text Tattvartha Sutra sums it up in the phrase 'Parasparopagraho Jivanam' (all life is mutually supportive). Jain religion presents a truly enlightened perspective of equality of souls, irrespective of differing physical forms, ranging from human beings to animals and microscopic living organisms. Humans, alone among living beings, are endowed with all the six senses of seeing, hearing, tasting smelling, touching, and thinking; thus humans are expected to act responsibly towards all life by being compassionate, egoless, fearless, forgiving, and rational.
THE JAIN CODE OF CONDUCT
In short, the code of conduct is made up of the following five vows, and all of their logical conclusions: Ahimsa, Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Aparigraha (non-possessiveness), and Brahmacharya (chastity). Jain religion focuses much attention on Aparigraha, non-possessiveness towards material things through self-control, self-imposed penance, abstinence from over-indulgence, voluntary curtailment of one's needs, and the consequent subsiding of the aggressive urge.
Vegetarianism is a way of life for a Jain, taking its origin in the concept of compassion for living beings, Jiva Daya. The practice of vegetarianism is seen as an instrument for the practice of nonviolence and peaceful, cooperative coexistence. Jains are strict vegetarians, consuming only one-sensed beings, primarily from the plant kingdom. While the Jain diet does, of course, involve harm to plants, it is regarded as a means of survival which involves the bare minimum amount of violence towards living beings. ( Many forms of plant material, including roots and certain fruits, are also excluded from the Jain diet due to the greater number of living beings they contain owing to the environment in which they develop.)
JAINISM BELIEFS AND PRACTICES
The universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It had no beginning and will have no ending.
It consists of:
The supreme abode: This is located at the top of the universe and is where Siddha, the liberated souls, live.
The upper world: 30 heavens where celestial beings live.
Middle world: the earth and the rest of the universe.
Nether world: 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments
The Nigoda, or base: where the lowest forms of life reside
Universe space: layers of clouds which surround the upper world
Space beyond: an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest.
Everyone is bound within the universe by one's karma (the accumulated good and evil that one has done).
Moksha (liberation from an endless succession of lives through reincarnation) is achieved by enlightenment, which can be attained only through asceticism.
They are expected to follow five principles of living:
Ahimsa : 'non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical.' 3 Committing an act of violence against a human, animal, or even vegetable generates negative karma which in turn adversely affects one's next life.
Satya : speaking truth; avoiding falsehood
Asteya : to not steal from others
Brahma-charya : (soul conduct); remaining sexually monogamous to one's spouse only
Aparigraha : detach from people, places and material things. Avoiding the collection of excessive material possessions, abstaining from over-indulgence, restricting one's needs, etc.
They follow Jains follow a vegetarian diet. (At least one information source incorrectly states that they follow a frutarian diet -- the practice of only eating that which will not kill the plant or animal from which it is taken. e.g. milk, fruit, nuts.)
They read their sacred texts daily.
Jains are recommended to pass through four stages during their lifetime:
Brahmacharya-ashrama: the life of a student
Gruhasth-ashrama: family life
Vanaprasth-ashrama: family and social services
Sanyast-ashrama: life as a monk; a period of renunciation
PRAYER OF - JAIN RELIGION:
Every day Jain's bow their heads and say their universal prayer, the Navkar-mantra. All good work and events start with this prayer of salutation and worship.
• Namo Arihantanam: - I bow to the arithantas - the ever-perfect spiritual victors
• Namo Siddhanam: - I bow to the siddhas - the liberated souls
• Namo Ayariyanam: - I bow to acharyas - the leaders of the jain order
• Namo Uvajjayanam: - I bow to upadhyayas - the learned preceptors
• Namo Loe Savva Sahunam: - I bow to all saints and sages everywhere in the world
• Eso Panch Namukkaro: - These five obeisances
• Savva PavapPanasano: - Erase all Sins
• Mangalancha Savvesin : - Amongst all that is auspicious
• Padhamam Havai Mangalam: - This is the foremost
In the above prayer, Jains do not ask for any favors or material benefits from their Gods, the Tirthankaras or from monks and nuns. They do not pray to a specific Tirthankara or monk by name. By saluting them, Jains receive the inspiration from the five benevolent for the right path of true happiness and total freedom from the misery of life.