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THEO 403 (Fa '16) T19a - Jainism

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Hartmut Scherer

on 27 July 2016

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Transcript of THEO 403 (Fa '16) T19a - Jainism

not to cause harm to any living beings
truthfulness -
to speak the harmless truth only
non-stealing -
not to take anything not properly given
chastity -
not to indulge in sensual pleasure
non-possession -
complete detachment from people, places, and material things
- Nataputra Vardhamana,
known as Mahavira,
"Great Hero" ~ 600 B.C.
Essential beliefs and practices:
- diverse writings, including
the Agamas, a text that
contains the teachings of
Major contemporary divisions:
("sky clad");
monks wear no clothes
Mahavira's Life
A Study in Asceticism
- redemption by elimination
of solid karma matter from
one’s soul
Early life
Mahavira, the teacher
- traveled 30 years on bare feet around India
Title adopted from David S. Noss, A History of the World's Religions (Prentice Hall, 2003), VI.
Mahavira's Teaching
Jain Temple Worship
Witnessing to Jains
("white clad")
monks wear white loincloths
- Mahavira was born in 599 B.C. as a prince in
Bihar, India
- karma is a physical substance that is everywhere
What prevents Jains to experience moksha?
How can Jains experience moksha?
Mahavira preached that
The heart of right conduct (5 great vows)
non-violence (
) -
- at the age of thirty, he left his family and
gave up his worldly possessions
Two forms of the vows
- the monks (
) and nuns (
) follow the
5 great vows strictly and totally
The Purpose of Jain Worship
- Jain temples are usually white
- Kernels of rice are left out on low tables
The principle of “nonviolence” (
) is attractive
- avoidance of any harm
to living beings
- worship of Mahavira and his
predecessors (Tirthankaras)
Mahavira at Jain Temple, Mehsana
- as a monk, he spent 12 years meditating
- he realized
(perfect perception,
knowledge, power, and bliss)
- at the age of 72 (527 B.C.), Mahavira died
- his purified soul left the body and achieved
complete liberation
- he became a
, a pure consciousness
Mahavira, the last Tirthankara
- Mahavira was the 24. and the last Tirthankara
- Festival of Lights (
), the night of his salvation
- all tirthankaras were born as human beings
- achieved a state of perfection or enlightenment
through meditation
- they are not gods but they perform the role of
all actions of the soul (
) attract karma to it
- karma sticks to the soul (
) and affects the events
in the soul's present and future lives
right faith
right knowledge
right conduct
will help accomplish the liberation of one's self
intense actions attract more karma
Aim not to get more karma and eliminate or help karma to decay
not to cause harm to any living beings
truthfulness (
) -
to speak the harmless truth only
non-stealing (
) -
not to take anything not properly given
chastity (
) -
not to indulge in sensual pleasure
non-possession, non-attachment (
) -
complete detachment from people, places, and material things
- The 12 vows of the lay adherents
non-violence -
5 great vows
Compare karma/moksha (Eastern tradition) with sin/redemption (Western tradition)
Jain temple at Ranakpur
- Jains don't worship tirthankaras as persons
- they worship the
ideal of perfection
that the
tirthankaras have achieved
- concentrating on their virtues helps the worshiper
to follow their example
Crowd at a Jain Temple
Teaching about life
Biblical Principles
all life is sacred
human life is sacred
life is absolute
God is absolute
nothing is of higher value than life
human life is in God’s hand (he is higher)
makes life absolute
worships God alone, not life
principle of nonviolence devalues human life
human beings alone are created in the image of God (highest value)
- display gentleness and meekness (biblical and
consistent with Ahimsa)
Tips for Sharing Christ with Jains
(Adapted from http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/spiritual-discussions/419222-how-witness-jains.html; Oct 25, 2012
- Sermon on the Mount is very appealing to the Jains
- discus the meaning of the term Jain
(means conqueror)
Jain centers in India (Noss, 153)
Full transcript