Essay #1: The Ethical Pillars of Jainism
Jains believe that people are reborn again and again until they have freed themselves from samsara, which is the wheel of birth and death. The gradual process by which the souls learns to extricate itself from the lower self and its attachments to the material would involve purifying one’s ethical life until nothing remains but the purity is of jiva. Jains also believe that the universe is without beginning and that there is no creator or destroyer and that they can only be saved by their own efforts. They believe that the world operates by the power of nature, according to natural principles, Jains do believe in gods in demons, but as a form of humans. Jains believe in karma which is a subtle matter—minutes particle that we accumulate as we act and think. Also, Jains believe that our actions influence what happens in the future course of our life and that souls wonder until they free themselves from karma. In order to provide perfection and purification in their lives, Jains try to eliminate any false mental impressions, negative tendencies, or passions and to develop pure thoughts and actions. The three basic principles that Jains adopt to avoid accumulating karma are ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (non-attachment), and anekantwad (non-absolutism). Ahimsa is the non-violence principle and it is very strong in Jain teachings, and through Jainism it is influenced by Mahatma Gandhi. Jains believe that it is difficult not to harm other creature and that by simply breathing; Jains believe that tiny organisms are being killed by us inhaling them. Aparigraha is a non-attachment principle to all things and people and that people should cut one’s living requirements to a bare minimum. Possessions posses us; their acquisition and loss drive our emotions. Anekantwad, “manifold aspects” is the third principle. Jains try to avoid anger and being judgmental because that try and keep an open-mind about people by...
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