(Modern mainstream) Jainism was founded in India in the 500s BC by a man known as Mahavira, who Jains regard as a hero and victor who found his Way to salvation. He is said by some to have lived near Siddhartha Gautama (the founder of Buddhism), and that they were both familiar with each other’s teachings.
Jainism has some similarities to various aspects of Hinduism, but also has many distinct differences. The main themes of Jainism include asceticism (self-deprivation), self-discipline, ahimsa (non-injury to all living things), a love for all living things, non-attachment, ratnatraya (three jewels on the path to liberation: right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct), and purifying the jiva (soul). Jains follow this path in order to achieve moksha (liberation from karma).
Like Hinduism, Jainism is also based on karma, which accumulates in one’s soul based on the soul’s actions. Many Jain principles for achieving liberation are done to stop new karma and cleanse already acquired karma.
There are about 5 million Jains today, virtually all of whom live in India.
Jain Scripture Passages and Teachings
One who knows the inner/spiritual [self] knows the external [universe] as well. One who knows the external [universe] knows the inner/spiritual [self] as well. (Akaranga Sutra)
He who denies the world, denies the self; and he who denies the self, denies the world. (Akaranga Sutra)
See! There are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless… (Akaranga Sutra)
You are your own friend… (Akaranga Sutra)
Understand one philosophical view through the understanding study of another. (Akaranga Sutra)
…Some, though instructed, have no good conduct. Let that not be your case! (Akaranga Sutra)
In the case of obtaining anything in excess, one should not hoard it. (Akaranga Sutra)
I have heard and realized that bondage and salvation are both within yourself. (Akaranga Sutra)
Even if a man overcomes thousands of powerful foes, it is even better if he conquers only himself. (Uttaradhyayana Sutra)
Fight the fight within—why fight external foes? He who overcomes himself through himself obtains joy. (Uttaradhyayana Sutra)
It is difficult to conquer oneself—but when that is conquered, everything is conquered. (Uttaradhyayana Sutra)
Like a wise man, trust nobody, and always be on the alert… (Uttaradhyayana Sutra)
Those who praise their own doctrines yet disparage other peoples’ doctrines are not solving any problem. (Sutra Kritanga)
Discipline is the way to achieve liberation. (Shilapahuda)
Have benevolence towards all living things. (Tattvartha Sutra)
Rendering help to another is the function of all human beings. (Tattvartha Sutra)
Consider the family of humankind one. (Jinasena, Adipurana)
All living beings long to live.
Non-violence is the highest religion.
A soul’s greatest mistake is not recognizing its real self, and can only be corrected by recognizing itself.
Know yourself, recognize yourself, and be immersed by yourself—and you will attain God-hood.
Every soul is independent.