|24 Tirthankara in a Jain symbol|
|Jain Tirthankara idol|
1. What is the religion Jainism?
2. Who is the founder of Jainism in India?
3. What are the basic beliefs of Jainism?
I am trying to answer all three one by one.
1. The first question is What is the religion Jainism?
The word Jain is derived from "Jina" a Sanskrit word, that means conqueror. One, who has conquered one self, one's cravings, desires, anger, greed etc is a Jina. A Jina, after achieving omniscience, preaches the path of liberation. One who follows Jina's preaching is a Jain and doctrine o a Jina is Jainism.
2. The second question is Who is the founder of Jainism in India?
Jainism is eternal. Hence, there is no question of any founder. However, "Tirthankara" reestablish and restrengthen basic principles of Jainism from time to time and those reestablishing the Dharma are called founder many times.
Rishabhdev Adinath is the first Tirthankara in this Avasarpini era (Half-time-cycle according to Jain faith) and Lord Mahavira is the 24th and last. Rishabhdev is a prehistoric figure whereas Mahavira is well known to modern historians. Rishabhdev is a founder of Jainism for laymen and many one mistakes Mahavira as a founder of Jainism in India.
3. The third question is What are the basic beliefs of Jainism?
As I indicated in first answer that basic goal of Jainism is liberation, liberation from all sorrows by eliminating all Karma bondage. Jainism believes that an individual Atman (Soul) moves in birth cycles and face miseries due to ignorance (Mithyatwa-Ajnyan). When that mundane soul comes into contact of an omniscient or an enlightened person and have faith on that enlightened; the mundane soul starts getting wisdom. Gradually, by virtue of A. Right view 2. Right knowledge and 3. Right conduct, he or she liberates himself or herself.
1. Ahimsa 2. Satya 3. Asteya 4. Brahmacharya and 5. Aparigraha are main five vows (Vrata) related to right conduct.
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