Jainism or Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called “Jains“, a word derived from the Sanskrit word Jina (victor) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life’s stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviors and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, the twenty-third being Parshvanatha in the 8th century BC and the twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is eternal dharma with the Tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.
The main religious premises of Jainism are ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (many-sidedness), aparigraha (non-attachment), and asceticism. Devout Jains take five main vows: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity), and aparigraha (non-attachment). These principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles. Parasparopagraho Jīvānām (the function of souls is to help one another) is the motto of Jainism. Ṇamōkāra mantra is the most common and basic prayer in Jainism.
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Common concepts in Indian religions
Ethics of Jainism
Scriptures and texts
Traditions and sects
Art and Architecture
Religion in India