Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jainism: An ancient religion which teaches the way to liberation and bliss to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation

“Oh soul,
you worry too much.
You have seen your own strength.
You have seen your own beauty.
You have seen your golden wings.
Of anything less,
why do you worry?
You are in truth
the soul, of the soul, of the soul.”

~Jalal ad-Din Rumi, (Persian Poet and Mystic), (1207-1273)

Jainism is an ancient religion of India. Most Jains live in India, and according to the 2001 Census of India there are around 4.2 million living there. According to community estimates and Jain leaders there are 6 million to 8 million Jains in the world. About 100,000 live in North America, including 4,000 in the Bay Area in San Francisco, Northern California.

The Jains worship 24 Tirthankaras. They are seen as the ideal of perfection that the Tirthankaras have achieved. 24 Tirthankaras are as follows:-
Adinatha, Ajita, Sambhava, Abhinandana, Sumati, Padmaprabha, Suparshva, Chandraprabha, Suvidhi, Shital, Shreyansa, Vasupujya, Vimala, Ananta, Dharma, Shanti, Kunthu, Ara, Malli, Muni Suvrata, Nami, Nemi, Parshva and Mahavir.

The Jain Center of Northern California (JCNC) was founded in 1973 with 20 families and now it has a membership of more than 600 families from the Bay Area in San Francisco. And the Jain Center of Northern California (JCNC) was built in 2000. The architecturally designed Jain Center of Northern California sits in Silicon Valley. The authentic center attracts many Jain worshippers.

Temple worship is of more importance to lay Jains than to Jain monks and nuns

Fasting purifies the body and mind

A view of the temple in the City of Miltipas

White Marble structure at the main entrance of the temple in the City of Miltipas

Usually the worshipper makes eight symbolic offerings to the image of a Tirthankara

Offerings are made in the main shrine hall of the temple

Jains believe that the universe has always existed and will always exist

Pavapuri Tirth

Girnarji Tirth

Ranakpur Tirth

Shatrunjay Tirth

Jainism is a religion of equality

Jains believe that the soul exists forever

Jain Principles make worship both unnecessary and futile

Jains worship the icons of Jinas,Arihants and Tirthankars who have conquered the inner passions and attained divine consciousness, and study the scriptures of these liberated beings

Jainism encourages non-violence,peace and harmony

Jains must be vegetarians

There have been 24 Tirthankaras

The philosophy and practice of Jainism emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation

Lord Mahavir found enlightenment after 13 years of renunciation, and soon made 11 converts at the age o 30

Lord Mahavir is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form

Every worshipper says "nisihi" while entering the temple. This means "giving up" and indicates that they are moving from the secular activities into spiritual ones

An array of deities

Jains believe that to attain enlightenment and ultimately liberation, one must practice the ethical principles such as non-violence, truthfulness,non-stealing,celibacy and non-possession or non-materialism

An image of Lord Mahavir

Worshippers in the main shrine hall

A kind notice to the devotees


Blogger Bal Patil said...

I very much liked this picturesque and spiritual introduction to jainism. I would like to give a link to my :The Rise, Decline And Renewals Of Sramanic Religious Traditions Within Indic Civilisation With Particular Reference To The Evolution Of Jain Sramanic Culture And Its Impact On The Indic Civilization

5:11 AM  

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