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.