Jains speak of “Three Jewels” that serve as their standard for a good life: right vision, right knowledge, and right conduct. Right conduct is often expressed through five basic vows: nonviolence, truth, never stealing, chastity, and nonattachment.
Since all beings (humans, animals, and plants) in Jainism have a soul, the concept of ahimsa (nonviolence) is central to the tradition. The concept of ahimsa informs every aspect of Jain practice, behavior, and life. As a result Jains are vegetarians, and Jain monks and nuns often take precautions to avoid stepping on or injuring insects.... Read more about Ahimsa: Reverence for Life
The word karma means “action,” but in Jainism it acts as a material substance that clouds the purity of the soul. The path to liberation requires one to cease the production of new karma, and to work to burn away the karma accumulated in previous lives.
The tirthankaras teach that all living beings possess a soul (jiva), each caught up in a nearly endless cycle of rebirth. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to free the soul from this cycle of rebirth, to attain moksha (liberation).
Mahavira was just one of a larger cycle of 24 tirthankaras (Ford-makers), religious pioneers who reveal the truth of Jainism to humanity. Mahavira stands as 24th in the sequence, the final tirthankara of this age.... Read more about Tirthankaras: “Ford-Makers”
Mahavira was born in the 6th century BCE. Growing up in luxury, he abandoned his home at 30 to become an ascetic. At the age of 42, he attained the state of kevalajnana, alone in the world in his supreme knowledge. After a prolific career of teaching, Mahavira passed away at the age of 72, attaining what is called moksha (liberation).... Read more about Mahavira
The Jain Bird Hospital in Delhi expresses the Jain commitment to nonviolence and care for others. This 2500-year-old tradition traces its lineage back to Mahavira, who was given the honorific title of Jina, meaning Victor.
Without the rich lay-monastic interactions available in the Indian Jain context, Jain practitioners in America have invented new ways to preserve their traditions. Throughout North America Jains have formed svadhyaya (study groups) and invited scholars from abroad to discuss the scriptures.... Read more about Svadhyaya: Jain Education for Adults in North America
As with any immigrant community, questions of marriage are central. For the small Jain community in the United States, both the younger and older generations are dealing with important questions of tradition and identity as they pertain to choosing a partner for marriage.
The distinguishing feature of American Jainism is the relative lack of close lay-monastic interactions that categorizes the Jain tradition in India. The sectarian nature of Jain monasticism in India gives way to an overarching sense of unity and solidarity in American Jainism.... Read more about Unity: The American Context
LOS ANGELES (RNS) — The ancient Indian faith has seen tremendous growth in the U.S. over the past two decades, largely through immigration. Now the challenge is sustaining the faith's numbers among millennials and Gen Z.