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Jains

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  • Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that emphasizes non-violence and the ascetic life. It is considered to be an eternal religion which was revived by the 24th Thirthankar Lord Mahavira, the same time Buddhism was developing.
  • Jains derive their name from the Jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection. Included among these are the 24 spiritual leaders called "ford-makers" or Tirthankaras. The last of the Tirthankaras was Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of the Buddha and the man generally considered the founder of Jainism.
  • Jinas are believed to reside in the top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods.
  • Jainism incorporates the traditional Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation. The goal of life is to reach liberation by a life of purification and discipline as taught by the Tirthankaras.
  • The unique emphasis of Jainism is on peaceful, disciplined living for monks and also for laymen. Jain ritual centers around on sacred images and mantras.
  • Most Jains reside in India, where they make up 0.5% of the population. About 25,000 Jains live in the UK and 25,000 reside in the USA.