Religion of India founded 6th c. BC by Nigantha Nataputta, later called Vardhamana Jnatiputra Mahavira (Mahavira means Great Hero). His followers also called him Jina (Conqueror). Arose in opposition to Brahmanism,* as did Buddhism,* but, unlike the latter, prescribed asceticism* as a means of attaining salvation, i. e., release of the soul from reincarnation.* Regards the universe as eternal. Denies divine authority of the Vedas.* Noteworthy is the Jain doctrine of ahimsa, i. e., of refraining from harming or killing any living thing. Schism created 2 sects: the Svetambara (Skt. whiteclad) and the Digambara (Skt. sky-clad, nude). Adherents may become mems. of monastic orders or remain laymen. Latter include wealthy tradesmen. Costly and beautiful temples include one at Mount Abu. See also Theosophy.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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