Buddhism and Jainism

Topics: Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, Nirvana Pages: 3 (1001 words) Published: October 23, 2013
Buddhism separates itself from the Jain tradition by teaching an alternative to "extreme asceticism". Buddhist scriptures record that during Prince Siddhartha's ascetic life (before the great enlightenment) he undertook many fasts, penances and austerities, the descriptions of which are elsewhere found only in the Jain tradition (for example, the penance by five fires, plucking of hair, and the consumption of food using only one's cupped hands). Ultimately, the Buddha abandoned reliance upon these methods on his discovery of a middle way. In Jainism, there exists a non-extreme pathway for Sravaka laypersons with minor vows. Some Buddhist teachings, principles, and terms used in Buddhism are identical to those of Jainism, but they may hold different or variant meanings for each. Although both Buddhists and Jain had orders of nuns, Buddhist Pali texts record the Buddha saying that a woman has the ability to obtain Nirvana in the Buddha Dhamma and Vinaya. Jain traditions differ on the issue of enlightenment for women, with the Digambaras stating that women are capable of spiritual progress but must be reborn male in order to attain final spiritual liberation and the Svetambara sect maintaining that liberation is attainable by both males and females.[1] The Jain community is composed of four sections: sadhus, sadhvis (also referred to as shramanas and shramanis), and laymen and laywomen (or grhastins "householders") who have not abandoned worldly affairs. Buddhism has a similar organization: the community consists of renunciate bhikkhus and bhikkhunis and male and female laypersons who take limited vows. Whether or not it was an influence of Jain culture and philosophy in ancient Bihar that gave rise to Buddhism is unclear, but there are some striking similarities between the two traditions, and Buddhism may have adopted many of its ideas and traditions from preexisting ones held by the Jains. The Buddha Nirvana calendar (with a zero point in 544 BCE) may actually be...
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