Numerous religions exist in the world. Jainism shares some common characteristics with Buddhism in their practices, features, and beliefs while at the same time having distinct concepts that make them unique. Jainism or Jain Dharma is commonly practiced in India. It revolves around living harmoniously.
Jainism is a religion that began about 2600 years ago after its philosophy was expounded by its funder, Lord Mahävir, who also introduced daily observance to his followers. His philosophies were based on spiritual development (Shah 10). The preachings of Lord Mahävir were compiled into numerous texts known as Jain Agam that teach about respect for all forms of life, vegetarianism, compassion, opposition to violence and war, and self-discipline. Key concepts and main practices that support peaceful living, health, and social equality are drawn from these texts (Shah 27-28). Key concepts in Jainism are also drawn from teaching about the path of liberty on faith, knowledge, and good conduct (Shah 12). Jain followers are organized into four groups nuns, laymen, laywomen, and monks. Some of the followers worship idols of Tirthankaras. Jainism entails spiritual celebrations through reciting sacred texts, studying the scripture, giving donations, and attending religious sermons (Shah 28).
Symbols commonly associate with Jainism include the palm of a hand with a centralized wheel also referred to as Chakra. It symbolizes nonviolence and assurance. The wheel contains 24 spokes that symbolize the 24 Tirthankars in Jainism. Another Jain symbol consists of a crescent moon with three dots the palm, and the Swastika with an external outline. The three dots represent the Jain path of liberty, which entails having the right conduct, faith, and knowledge, while the crescent moon symbolizes the Moksha, a place where liberated souls reside (Shah 30-31).
Jain prayers pay homage to the five different reverential personalities. These prayers include the Arihanta, which is focused on enlightened human beings and the Siddha on liberated souls. The others are the Ächärya, Upädhyäy, and all Sädhu. Other prayers common in this religion are divine refuge prayers, peace prayers, and forgiveness prayers (Shah 33). Their temples, which are decorated with intricate art and detailed architecture represent their holy sites (Shah 30).
Jainism like any other religion in the world has followers who believe in its teaching and strive to emulate the lifestyle of their founders. It is an ancient religion that is commonly practiced in India. Its focus on peace, nonviolence, and equality among all social groups. Spiritual advancement is encouraged among Jainism followers.
Shah, Pravan K. Jainism: Religion of Compassion and Ecology. New Jersey, 2004. Web.