BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF JAINISM
Jains are followers of Jina. The word Jina literally means "the Victor" or “the Liberator”. One who has freed himself/herself from the bondage of Karma by conquering räga (attachment - deceit and greed) & dvesha (aversion - anger and ego), and expounds the path of liberation is called Jina. The teachings of Jina is called Jainism. Lord Mahavira was the last reformer of Jainism. The ultimate goal of Jainism is to rid of all karmas and attain the salvation (liberation - moksha). We attract the karmas because of attachment and aversion (räg & dvesha). Therefore, the path of liberating our soul from attachment and aversion constitutes the philosophy of Jainism. The fundamental truths of Jainism were preached long before. Jainism is one of the oldest religions of the world.
Per Jain beliefs, the whole universe is a self-regulated. For living beings, his/her karma plays the important role. Karma is finest matter that our soul attracts based on our thoughts, speech and physical actions. Bad karma pollutes the inherent qualities of the soul. The bondage and deliverance of each individual belong to himself or herself. The experience of happiness or sorrow belongs to each individual and the experience is his/her own. According to his/her past karma, his/her present fate is decided, and his/her future will be decided based on his/her present balance of the karma. When a living being eradicates all his/her karmas, he/she attains perfect knowledge, perfect perception, infinite amount of energy and permanent bliss. He/she becomes omniscient and omnipotent. Every living being has a potential of becoming Jina per Jain philosophy.
To day, there are about 6 million Jains in the world. We do not believe that there is a supernatural power who does favor to us if we please him. We, Jains rely a great deal on our own initiatives and efforts, for both - our worldly requirements and our salvation. Jainism as explained by Jinas (also called Tirthankars) can stand scrutiny of reason. We do not have to believe in the things that do not appeal to our commonsense. We accept only those things that can be explained and reasoned. We are master of our own destiny.
There are many ways to explain Jainism. Here is one of them. Jainism is known as the religion of Ahimsa (non-violence), Ahimsa of thoughts, speech and physical acts. In Jainism, our beliefs in Ahimsa supersedes all concepts, ideologies, rules, customs and practices, traditional or modern, eastern or western, political or economical, self-centered or social. Ahimsa (non-violence), Anekantväd (multiplicity of views) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) are the cardinal principles of Jainism. Aparigraha plays significant role in stopping the physical form of violence. And the proper application of Anekantväd stops the violence of thoughts and speech. Anekantväd is also called the intelligent expression of the Ahimsa. Non-violence in the center is guarded by truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possessiveness.
One time Lord Mahavir was asked what is the religion from a realistic point of view. Lord Mahavir said, “ the realistic religion consists of four parts: 1) equality of all living ones, 2) every living soul has right to put self-effort to improve itself and should not to be stripped off that right, 3) no one should rule over other living beings, and 4) all views should be viewed with equanimity - without like or dislike." If one adopts only one of these four, other three will automatically be adopted.