Fasting in mind as well as body
It is not sufficient for a Jain simply to not eat when fasting. They must also stop wanting to eat. If they continue to desire food the fast is pointless. Types of fast
There are several types of fasting:
* Complete fasting: giving up food and water completely for a period * Partial fasting: eating less than you need to avoid hunger * Vruti Sankshepa: limiting the number of items of food eaten * Rasa Parityaga: giving up favourite foods
The aim of fasting
Jain fasts may be done as a penance, especially for monks and nuns. Fasting also purifies body and mind, and reminds the practitioner of Mahavira's emphasis on renunciation and asceticism, because Mahavira spent a great deal of time fasting.
Santhara - fasting to death
Fasting to death
Santhara or Sallenkhana is a procedure in which a Jain stops eating with the intention of preparing for death. This is different from suicide as it is not taken in passionate mood of anger, deceit or other emotions, but is undertaken only when the body is no longer capable of serving its owner as a instrument of sprituality and when inevitability of death is a matter of undisputed certainty. The intention is to purify the body, and remove all thought of the physical things from the mind. As well as giving up food and water, the ascetic abandons all desires and dislikes so that they can concentrate exclusively on the spiritual as they approach death.
History of Jainism
Jainism doesn't have a single founder. The truth has been revealed at different times by a tirthankara, which means a teacher who 'makes a ford' i.e. shows the way. Other religions call such a person a 'prophet'. As great omniscient teachers, Tirthankaras accomplished the highest spiritual goal of existence and then teach others how to achieve it. In what Jains call the 'present age' there have been 24 tirthankaras - although there is little evidence for the existence of most of...
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