Essay by ucfthug4uUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2005

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Jainism is one of the oldest known religions in the world today and is very closely related to Hinduism. One difference from Hinduism however, would be the way that the Vedas are interpreted. Jainism is a non-vedic religion with a universal message of non-violence, although its views on karma and sansara are the same as that of Hinduism.

The faith of Jainism came about with Mahavira, who was born around 599 BC. He decided to abandon his well known life, and take a not so traveled path of an ascetic life. He went through castigation, including bodily and spiritual injury for twelve years and emerged from this a teacher, preacher and the founder of a new religion.

There are two different groups of Jains, the Shevtambaras and the Digambaras. The Shevambaras are always clothed in white and think that the wearing of clothes has nothing to do with having the soul freed from the body.

They also believe that both men and women can achieve liberation with out having to be reborn as a man. Digambaras on the other hand, are also known as sky clad because of their belief that the air is their clothing. They choose to be nude because they see clothing as an attachment to the physical world and in their belief; women can only reach liberation when reborn as a man.

The restrictions that are to be observed by Jains are so staunch, that all of them are only followed by dedicated monks and nuns. Most of these restrictions require the followers to avoid normal life activities like swimming, bathing, digging in the ground, lighting or putting out fires, touching plants, etc.

Jainism is in my opinion a religion, although very noble, one that holds back human progress and prosperity. I do strongly believe...