Do Jains Believe In An Afterlife?

The idea of an afterlife in Jainism might exist, but not in the way that most other people think about it. To the Jains, life is a path to spiritual enlightenment and eventual liberation guided by the Tirthankaras all the way to Phoenix, Arizona. One life, however, might not be enough to get there, and depending on the sect of Jainism to which you belong, you might not be able to get there at all if you were born a female. That’s where reincarnation comes into play.

If you’re a Jain, then how you live your life affects what happens to you after you die. That said, there are 17 different kinds of death that a Jain can experience, two of which are said to be more important than all the rest.

One is called Akama Marana. This type of death is experienced by someone who doesn’t want to die. While this might seem like it would be the most common form of death, that’s an outside perspective. To a Jain, this life is just a single leg of a very long trek to liberation. That said, this is the form of death often experienced by those ignorant of the cycle of reincarnation. If you aren’t aware of how a person is reborn, are ignorant of the other worlds and universes that exist, or don’t comprehend how your soul might eventually be liberated at the end of your long journey, then you have experienced an Akama Marana.

The second important form of death is called Sakama Marana and is more typical of a Jain believer. One who experiences this form of death isn’t afraid to die and will accept death as a transition to the next life or liberation. This person knows that death is inevitable and natural, and attempting to prevent or postpone death is futile. Most Jains strive for this type of death, as it runs parallel to their beliefs.

Jains believe that the soul is eternal. The cycle of life and death is everlasting until spiritual enlightenment and liberation can be achieved. In fact, the only purpose of the physical form of matter is its effect on living beings: how we experience life in both pleasure and pain, and how we live and die as well.

In order to achieve liberation from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, a Jain must live life according to a number of important doctrines, all which stress the importance of peace. The Jains believe in striving to live in community not only with their human neighbors but also with animals. The 24 Tirthankaras are presumed to be the only religious followers (and leaders) of Jainism to have been liberated from the cycle and so for everyone else, it continues, on and on.

History of Jainism

Jainism is a religion that has endured since the 7th century BC when it was born into Eastern India. There are a number of periods throughout world history in which certain regions experience a rebirth in politics, social structures, or religion. For India, this was one such time period. Up until then, Hinduism was a hugely ingrained part of Indian culture, but it lacked the momentum for change that many people desired. Indeed, society as a whole needed a catalyst to evolve toward a brighter future. Jainism was that catalyst.

In Jainism, there are 24 historical figures–called the Tirthankaras–whose teachings can still be evaluated as universal truth today. The last Tirthankara is assumedly the founder of Jainism. His name was Mahavira, and many texts say he lived from 599 to 527 BC. He was a warrior for much of his life, but eventually, he decided to travel a different path. By the age of 30, he gave up his way of life in order to find spiritual enlightenment of a different kind. He recruited a number of followers along the way to this enlightenment and eventually fasted to death (although this is a part of his story that is often contended).

The community which he founded was quickly expanded to include upwards of 50,000 monks and nuns before he died. Even though this was the beginning of Jainism, different groups within the religion developed early and are still around to this day. These differences of opinion aren’t always extreme. One sect, the Shvetambara, believe that white robes should be worn by followers, while another, the Digambaras, believe nothing at all should be worn.

Other beliefs cause a lot of disharmony within the religion. The Digambaras believe that women can’t achieve the same spiritual enlightenment that men can, and must be reincarnated into men in order to see their souls liberated. There are other differences. For example, the sects can’t agree on which Jain texts should remain canonized.

The Jains believe that life should be an ethical and spiritual path crossed through reincarnation and that Jainism represents an eternal dharma. The Tirthankaras simply guide the way.

These fractured communities persisted for a while so that by the sixth century AD, the Jains had settled to the south and west. Today, they reside all over the world. There are five million Jains in communities from India and China to Canada, Europe, Kenya, the United States and more. These communities hold festivals celebrating key tenets and core beliefs, called Paryushan, Das Lakshan, Mahavir Jayanti, and Diwali.

What is The Jain Emblem?

Most religions fall upon some sort of symbol that expresses an obvious distinction between their beliefs and those of others. For example, Christianity is signified most usually by the sign of the cross. You won’t find a Christian church that doesn’t have one. Jainism isn’t as easy, especially because it doesn’t have as many followers. Jains typically use a mash-up with a number of symbols, including a hand with a wheel inside of the palm, as their emblem. Inside that wheel is the word “ahimsa” that translates to “non-injury” or “non-violence” which basically shows most outsiders exactly what it is a Jain seeks from life.

Ahimsa is a part of the core Jain tenet that all of us should live together in harmony–animals included. That’s why most Jains are vegetarians. Jains don’t believe in using violence to solve problems, and to them violence is a danger to oneself as much as it is to others. In resorting to violence, a Jain believes that he or she is only placing obstacles in the path to true liberation of the soul, that which Jains seek at the end of life.

The wheel has twenty-four spokes which represent the preachings of Tirthankaras. These exist as a guide to liberate souls from the life and death reincarnation cycle.

This emblem was not chosen until 1974, when Jains chose it for themselves. From then on, you won’t see or hear anything about the Jain religious culture without noticing the emblem. They use it so consistency in order that people ascertain the value behind it without deviation from meaning.

The swastika is used inside of the emblem as well, but it is often removed in regions where its connotations have been overlapped by an association with Nazi Germany.

The emblem outline represents the universe and its three Loks (or realms). There is one for heaven, one for the material world that we’re more familiar with (because we live here), and one to represent hell. The small semicircle at the very top indicates a zone that lies outside of all three realms. This is where liberated souls go once they have achieved such enlightenment. Beneath the semicircle there are three dots which represent three distinct opportunities to be good–by adhering to the right beliefs, conducting oneself in the right way, and obtaining the right knowledge to carry on.

At the very bottom is a phrase that translates to “All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence,” which is a rehashing of their core belief that we should live in harmony. The emblem in its entirety indicates the various beliefs that a Jain must adhere to in order to liberate his or her soul from being a Dallas personal injury lawyer.

Are There Jains in America?

Jainism is a source of great inspiration for those who practice it, because it’s all about karma and attaining spiritual liberation after perfecting the way day-to-day life is lived. While many of us may not even know what the religion is or anything about its core tenets, there are actually plenty of Jains living in America today. It mostly started with a period of immigration that began in the 1900s and peaked in the 1970s.

In 1893, Virchand Gandhi visited the United States and began to speak publicly about Jainism during the first Parliament of World Religions, a gathering which was conceived as a way for people to discuss their various beliefs in a world forum. Although the first took place in 1893, the next would not be held until a century later in 1993. Since then, the meetings have been held every few years.

Gandhi’s publicity led to a St. Louis Jain temple being built in time for the World’s Fair held in the same city in 1904. The temple has bounced around since then, landing in Las Vegas and then eventually Los Angeles, where it stays today. This was the foundation for the influx of Jains who would grace the United States in 1944.

An order of monks and nuns make up part of the Jain community. They take a number of vows and make lifelong commitments during their initiation into the order, and work to perform duties deemed sacred to Jainism. Members of this order abandon material wealth. Chitrabhanu, a former Jain monastic, eventually traveled to the United States in 1971. He first landed in Harvard, where he gave a number of lectures about his faith. He then created a Jain center in New York City.

He was only the first to do so. Acharya Sushil Kumar entered the country in 1975 and established more a number of other centers. Together, their support led to the Federation of Jain Associations in North America (or JAINA), which is an organization created in order to promote Jainism in North America. JAINA is welcoming to all and representative as such because it does not discriminate between Jain sects.

About a hundred thousand Jains live in the United States, a number which comprises about a third of all those who reside in countries outside of India. There are at least two dozen temples still standing in the U.S., and by 2010 it was home to more temples than in any other country.

Jains who live in the U.S. are well known for their hard-working attitudes and are frequently employed in high-paying managerial or administrative positions. Jains believe in harmony with nature and that all animals should live together helping one another. It should therefore come as no surprise that they often volunteer for animal-related causes.

If you would like to pursue an education related to Jainism, Florida International University offers the Bhagwan Mahavir Professorship in Jain Studies.

Famous Jain Businessmen

If you are a believer in Jainism, then you believe the way you live your life determines whether or not you will achieve true liberation of the soul when you pass away. Most Jains reside in India, but they can be found in other parts of the world like the U.S., Canada, and Britain. Because most Jains live in India, that’s where most famous Jain businessmen reside as well. Although not everyone might realize it, but India is a country of 1.3 billion people (compared to the 323 million in the U.S. [Manhattan] and 36 million in Canada) and business is booming. Here are just a few of the Jain businessmen who have made a big name for themselves by taking advantage of time and circumstance.

Narendra Patni founded Patni Computer Systems after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. He also spent time and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By 2005, he had managed to accumulate $750 million of wealth. He passed away in 2014. Patni Computer Systems was eventually assimilated into a much smaller company that took its name, IGATE. Patni’s legacy continues on through his work in computer IT, and a wife and two children.

Bhavarlal Hiralal Jain was a proponent of changing degraded land into that which could be cultivated, and he was wildly successful in doing so when he introduced micro-irrigation into India. He was the founder chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., which at the time of this writing is the second largest company specializing in micro-irrigation in the world. He also founded the Gandhi Research Foundation in accordance with his beliefs. He passed away in 2016.

You’ve probably heard of InfoSpace and Intelius, both of which were founded by Naveen Jain. Currently he chairs Moon Express, another company he founded after moving on from his previous two homes in business. Although he grew up poor, he certainly aspired to great things and achieved those things and more. He even spent time with Microsoft in 1989 before moving on to his own projects. He is 57 years old.

One member of the Sahu Jain family, Vineet Jain, works as managing director of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., the parent company of a number of gargantuan Indian newspapers including The Times of India. In 2017, he made the list of India’s fifty most powerful people, coming in at number twenty-three. He was educated in Switzerland. He has won prestigious awards like the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2013 from the Bombay Management Association.

These men are just a few business rockstars who have a lot to teach the rest of us about how anything is possible if we put our mind to it. Their beliefs are only a part of their success–their will to succeed is the other piece of the puzzle.

What Are Some Criticisms of Jainism?

Few religions or systems of belief can coexist without enduring their fair share of criticism, whether fair or unfair, and Jainism is no different. The ancient Indian religion is still practiced by millions even today, with smaller non-Indian communities located within Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Kenya, Asia, and even the United States. If you’ve ever read about festivals called Paryushana, Daslakshana, Mahavir Jayanti, or Diwali, those are Jain events.

The word “Jain” itself comes from the Sanskrit word for “victor” and signifies a Jain’s ethical and spiritual journey through life and a continuous number of rebirths.

Most criticism of Jainism is levied intellectually and is based on whether or not the religion’s beliefs and practices remain consistent with those who teach them.

The Jain theory of Karma supposes that karma is a physical substance found everywhere and that the substance is attracted to a person’s soul dependent on the actions of the person. In other words, the more harmonious someone is with the civilization or natural world around them, the more karma he or she would attract. Critics often question the lack of oversight by a god. How can the fate of your soul be governed entirely by your own actions without any connection to a Supreme Being? Critics believe that at the very least, that which you receive for your good actions must be administered by a Supreme Being, and not by the supposedly tangible substance they call karma.

The ideas fuelling any religion thrive because they offer solutions, but critics of Jainism suggest that certain Jain doctrines promote hesitancy or uncertainty among followers, and therefore create new problems over solutions.

Other critics believe that the very idea of Jainism undoes itself because Jain epistemology can’t deny doctrines that contradict its own. Jainism posits a complex reality that cannot possibly be described or comprehended by a single doctrine, and therefore its own must not adequately articulate that which it must articulate in order to make universal sense. The Jain doctrine itself would prefer to reconcile rather than contradict or refute, but perhaps this is a reason for the religion’s popularity, to begin with.

Other Jain practices are more heavily criticized, and by a larger swath of the population where Jains thrive. Minors are often inducted into Jain monastic orders, Jains routinely fast to a purposeful death, and women seem to be capable of less authoritative positions than men. Some sects of Jainism believe that women must be reborn as men before they can achieve these higher positions or true liberation. Naturally, some people in the 21st century take issue with these practices–but really, they aren’t too dissimilar from the practices of religions all over the world, nor are they more radical.

3 Powerful Benefits Of Regular Meditation

Meditation has continued to grow in popularity over the past few decades. To some people it is a way to calm the mind, to others, it is a way to connect with their spirit, and to some, it helps keep their body in a healthy state. In reality, meditation does all of these things. It is a multi-faceted practice that combines relaxation, focus, and sometimes exercise. It’s often easy to perform, doesn’t require any equipment, and doesn’t leave you feeling exhausted afterward.

Perhaps you’ve considered meditation, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you. If you’re still on the fence, then consider the following three benefits of meditation and use them to help you make your decision.

1. Cutting Out The Stress.

One of the most significant and most well-documented benefits of meditation is its effect on our stress levels. It happens to be one of best natural treatments for reducing stress. And it doesn’t really matter where that stress is coming from. Calming the mind and improving your breathing can have a profound impact on your stress levels. Not just for that moment either. The effect can last for most of the day.

Is reducing stress that important, though? It’s not just about feeling better mentally. Stress and the hormones related to it happen to be risk factors in many serious health conditions. High levels of stress can increase your risk for cardiovascular conditions, mental health conditions, and even diabetes. Therefore, regular meditation can play a preventative role for all of those problems.

2. Improving The Mind.

There are numerous ways in which meditation affects your mental state. For example, consider its impact on memory retention. The mind naturally drifts toward a state of forgetfulness as it ages. Yet, at the same time, it retains its natural ability to produce the new cells needed. Those cells help you remember, but you have to find ways to encourage the brain to produce them.

Several studies have shown that meditation encourages the production of new cells in the brain responsible for memory retention. One study, in particular, revealed that daily meditation led to a thickening of the brain in the specific area related to memory. Finally, meditation can be used to reduce the impact and progression of diseases that directly affect memory.

3. Fighting Diseases.

We’ve already seen how meditation can reduce the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. We’ve also seen how it can reduce the impact of diseases that affect memory. However, it can also reduce the risk of suffering from inflammation and autoimmune diseases. It does this by directly improving the efficiency of the immune system; another part of the body that seems to suffer and decline as we age.

In Conclusion.

Daily meditation isn’t difficult or expensive. It doesn’t take much time and it’s easy to learn. From janitors to attorneys at The Law Office of Mark J. Sacco, he benefits that it has on the body are immense. Meditation reduces stress, improves the immune system, and helps with mental clarity. And those are only three of the dozens of benefits that meditation has on the body, mind, and spirit.

If you are planning on meditating today, perhaps this music will help:

What Does It Mean to Achieve Moksha In Jainism?

The idea of liberation is important in Jainism is one of its core tenets.

It is spoken about in detail by monks and those involved in Jainism because it’s the greatest meaning of life for a believer. Those who can attain Moksha are the ones who can move on and get to the next step as a being.

Let’s take a look at what it means to achieve Moksha in Jainism.

What Is Moksha?

Moksha or Mokkha is a Sanskrit term used to describe liberation in Jainism.

A person is stuck in a karmic bond as a human being, and that’s what Moksha aims to break through. A person can attain a new state of bliss by liberating him or herself from the disabilities of karma. A soul that can get to this stage is termed as being a “Siddha,” which is one of the highest states in Jainism.

To get to this state, a person has to go through mokṣamārga or a path to liberation as described by Jainism and its texts.

Those who can do this get liberated and can move on as a soul. While everyone else has to remain in the current cycle until they do so.

How Is It Achieved?

What does it take for a person to achieve Moksha as a believer? This is the question asked by those who go through the process.

To achieve Moksha or liberation, a believer has to go through the path of liberation involving samyagjñāna (knowledge), samyagdarśana (perception), and samyakcāritra (conduct). A person has to go through various stages to get past the delusions of life and ensure he/she attains liberation before dying.

If not, he/she goes back into the cycle as before due to their karmic bond.

Those who set themselves towards this objective are heralded in Jainism.

What Are The Results of Achieving Moksha?

Since a person is involved in a karmic bond involving life and death (cyclical), it is important to achieve moksha to relieve oneself of this bond. This is what the human being has to push for according to Jainism, or he/she will continue to go through the cycle.

Those who can achieve Moksha can reside in Siddhashila, which is the apex of the universe according to Jainism. This is where a person has infinite wisdom, faith, and perfection while they move away from their mortal body.

If you read this and wondered what the differences between Moksha and Nirvana were, then you’re in luck! This video covers that topic with incredible depth:

Information About Symbolism On The Jain Flag

The Jain flag holds importance in Jainism and is a symbol of unity for its followers.

The flag has been cultivated with a high level of care while understanding the intricacies of Jainism from top to bottom. The flag is a major symbol for its followers and does continue to hold its own as time goes on. For those who are paying attention to the Jain flag and want to get a gist of what it means, here is a deeper look at the flag of Jainism from a critical point of view.

Swastika

Let’s begin with the heart of the flag as that’s where the eye is drawn first.

It’s the swastika, which is a symbol in Jainism.

The swastika represents the four stages of existence for a soul. These stages include a deity, human being, animals, hell beings. The symbol is used to remind a person they can embody any one of these forms while in the karmic bond.

Those who can achieve Moksha are the ones who don’t have to deal with the four stages any longer. The swastika is used to help followers remember the karmic bond they’re in.

Colors

What about the colors of the flag of Jainism?

The colors in the flag include:

1) Green
2) Red
3) Yellow
4) White
5) Dark Blue

The “green” in the flag represents adepts who teach monks about the scripture. The “red” represents Siddha or souls who have managed to liberate themselves and are now free from the four stages as noted by the swastika. It is also listed as the color of truth.

The “yellow” in the flag represents the Masters of Adepts or for those who don’t steal.

While the “white” in the flag illustrates the arihants, who have attained the highest stage of self-realization and are not stuck with the passions of life.

The final color is “dark blue, ” and it represents the Jain monks and nuns.

Three Dots

The flag of Jainism also has three dots present.

Each dot represents a part of the religion. These dots represent “right conduct,” “right faith,” and “right knowledge” as that is an extension of one’s path to liberation in Jainism. Living souls who can rid themselves of these dots are the ones who become Siddhas.

The Curve

There is a small upwards curve near the top of the flag, and that represents Siddhashila Chakra.

This is a place of pure energy and is above anything else in life such as Earth, hell, or heaven.

How Has Jainism Influenced Art And Architecture In India?

Jainism is a transtheistic religion that prescribed non-violence towards all the living beings and has greatly influenced the development and art and architectural styles in India. This religion traces its root in the Indian subcontinent back in the 6th Century with its founder being Mahavira who was born in a royal family and later renounced his worldly life to become an ascetic.

The Jain Architecture

Both modern and medieval Jains constructed numerous temples, particularly in western India, although there have not been too many in Corpus Christi. Some of the earliest Jain monuments were simply temples that were based on the monasteries for Jain monks and Brahmanical Hindu temple plan. For a long time, the artists in the ancient India were part of the many non-denominational guilds that were ready to offer their services to a Jain, Hindu or Buddhist. Most of the styles used during this period were more related to the place and time rather than the actual religion.

Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves

The Khandagiri and Udayagiri caves, located near the Bhubaneshwar city of India are some of the earliest architectural structures influenced by Jainism. These caves are partly manmade and somewhat natural and were initially carved out as residential blocks for the Jain monks during King Kharavela of Kalinga’s reign. These caves have inscriptions and sculptural friezes that depict women, elephants, and geese.

Dilwara Temples

Built under Chalukya’s rule between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, the Dilwara temples are composed of five well-constructed marble temples with each dedicated to a different Tirthankara. The Vimal Vasahi Temple is the largest temple among all five, was built in the year 1021 and is entirely dedicated to TIrthankara Rishabha. Some of its most breathtaking features include the rang manda �” a grand hall that is supported by twelve massive pillars and surmounted by an enormous central dome and the famous navchowki which is a collection of nine richly-carved rectangular ceilings. The pillars supporting the main hall are carved to look like women who are playing musical instruments and their 16 goddesses of knowledge each of which holds a symbol to represent their individual branch of learning.

The Jainism art and architecture has the sole objective of maintaining, preserving and glorifying the culture extensively. Jainas discovered that real artistic work is a representation of a religion’s true spirit. In addition to the religious value it has, Jainism has been a treasure to India and as a result, many Jain centers are now tourist attractions.

If you would like to learn more about architecture in India, please feel free to watch the following video: