An Ethic for Living

An Ethic for LivingJains 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.


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Ahimsa: Reverence for Life

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


MahaviraMahavira 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

A Hospital for Birds

Hospital for BirdsThe 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.

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Love and Marriage

Love and MarriageAs 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.

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Unity: The American Context

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