Topics: Jainism, Karma, Dharma Pages: 4 (1367 words) Published: November 27, 2005
Jainism, also known as Jain Dharma, is a religion that many people in the world don't know about but is practiced by about 9 million people worldwide. With the roots of the religion coming from pre-historic India, Jainism is a dharmic religion. There is not an exact definition for the word dharma, it has several different meanings. It is used in most of the philosophies or religions originating in India, like Hinduism and Buddhism. Jainism is a very strict and intricate religion and its followers are big believers in peace and non violence.

Jains believed that the first person to receive the philosophy of Jainism was a person by the name of Lord Rishabha. Lord Rishabha was the first Tirthankar of the Jain religion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Rishabha). Tirthankar stands for "fordmaker" meaning that he is "the founder of a "Tirth" which is a community of Jains which acts as a "ford" across the "river of human misery"." (http://en.wikipeda.org/wiki/Tirthankar). A Tirthankar is a person who refrains from asceticism, or refraining from worldly pleasures, reaches enlightenment or perfect knowledge. After accomplishing enlightenment, his mission is to shows way to enlightenment to others. Once the Tirthankar has reached that enlightenment his knowledge is pure and perfect, and is the same as all the other Tirthankars'. Their knowledge does not contradict each other since it is perfect. Near the end of their life a Tirthankar reaches liberation, ending the cycle of birth and death. In Jainism, there is no beginning and no end to life and death; it is like a bike wheel. In the present cycle of time there are 24 Tirthankars. The next Tirthankar will be born in about 81,500 years. Each of the Tirthankars was a man except for the 19th which was a woman and each are identified as an animal, object, or another symbol. They are not looked at like a God since Jains do not believe in God, since he was the creator of the universe and they do not believe...

Cited: 1.) Brandon, S.G.F. A Dictionary of Comparative Religion. New York: Charles Scribner 's Sons, 1970.
2.) Facts on File. Comparative Religions. New York: Diagram Visual Information Ltd, 2000.
3.) Jainism Global Resource Center. "Jain World.com". http://www.jainworld.com/philosophy/fundamentals.asp
4.) Robinson, B.A. "Jain Dharma (a.k.a. Jainism)". 2005-AUG-14.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/jainism.htm. 2005-OCT-09
5.) Wikipedia. "Jainism". 2005-OCT-08. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism. 2005-OCT-09
6.) Wilkinson, Phillip Illustrated Dictionary of Religions. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1999.
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