An ascetic religion of India, founded in the sixth century BCE that teaches the immortality and transmigration of the soul and denies the existence of a perfect or supreme being. Both Jainism and Buddhism was rooted in dissatisfication with Brahmanic ritual and was founded by rough contemporaries in the 7th-6th centuries BCE by memebers of the kshatriya varna. It appealed to the masses by offering methods of salvation free from priestly control and rejecting the caste system. It Focuses on the need for extreme self mortification, the absence of possessions (including clothing) and the necessity of ahimsa, the practice of no-harm. They practice ahimsa to the point that they wear no shoes so that they do not step on insects and kill them. By doing bad deeds, they believe that karmic matter sticks to the soul. By doing good deeds, they believe that karmic matter loosens from the soul. Along with the act of ahimsa, Jains cannot lie, and commit sexual unchasity or infidelity. They must also guard against evils that can be avoided, observe regular meditation, observe regular periods of self denial, ocassionaly observe days as monks, control greed, and give alms (especially to ascetics).
The goal of Jainism is to rid one's soul of karmic matter and so escape samsara (cycle of re-birth/re-death) in moksha (release). There are 3 monastic sects - Digambaras (the Sky-Clad), The Shvetambaras (the White Clad), and The Sthanakvasis (those who reject idols and temples).
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