Jainism – Essay Example
Jainism: Ethical Foundation and Significance The ethics and philosophy that establish foundation of the Jainism as a religion have been immensely acknowledged by most of the scholars of historical, religious and social studies. Starting from the 9th century B.C. to modern situation, though journey of Jainism as one of the major religious traditions has not been entirely smooth, however, the basic ethical and philosophical principles of this religion have been regarded as extremely applicable in case of solving social disturbances, practice of violence, and intolerance of people towards others.
Compared to other religious disciplines, Jainism provides a greater deal of importance over certain humane virtues, as it observes those virtues essential for development of human ethics and morality. Thus, “More than a religion, Jainism is an ethical code of conduct with rigorous self-discipline at its core” (Doshi, and Dix 6). The ethical pillars of Jainism are established over five vows, namely: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), bramhacharya (celibacy), and aparigraha (non-possession) (Doshi, and Dix 6). While this religious discipline denies existence of any Supreme entity or divine grace, emphasis over these five vows implies that Jainism “urges every soul to seek emancipation through its own individual initiative and effort” (Doshi, and Dix 6).
Jainism accepts that human personality dwells between material expectation and spiritualism (Sanghavi 191); thus, practicing these five vows will shift human attention from material obsession to spirituality, ensuring a better existence for all. The imperfectness of human nature can be overcome through “karma” and if the “karma” is oriented with the sincere wish to perfect oneself spiritually, then an individual receives the touch of the eternal existence, which has been defined under Jainism as “Anantadarsana, Anantajana, Anantavirya, and Anantasukha” (Sanghavi 191). While most of the religious disciplines encourage human beings to accept presence of a Divine Entity at the primary stage of their religious practice, Jainism has provided emphasis over self-evaluation, self-realization, self-perfection, and finally self-empowerment.
Dix, Thomas and Doshi, Saryu. Dharna Vihara, Ranakpur. Fellbach: Edition Axel
Sanghavi, Vilas. Jaina Community. 2nd Ed. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. 1980.