Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What is Jainism?

Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is a spiritual, religious and philosophical tradition of Indian origin dating back at least as far as the 9th century BCE but believed by Jains to stretch back many centuries into the very distant past. A Jain is a follower of Jinas, spiritual 'victors' (Jina is Sanskrit for 'victor'), human beings who have rediscovered the dharma, become fully liberated and taught the spiritual path for the benefit of beings. Jains follow the teachings of 24 special Jinas who are known as Tirthankars ('ford-builders'). The 24th and most recent Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira, lived in c. 6th century BCE, which was a period of cultural revolution all over the world

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