Followers of this religion believed, one can get salvation only by acting upon "Ahansa" means not to harm any soul. This religion emphasized on leading a spiritual life and they did not believe in animal's sacrificing.
You should read enough of the materials presented in this section concerning the tradition of Jainism in order to understand how this tradition displays the characteristics or elements that make a tradition one that would be termed a “religion. The tradition presented in the materials below is one of the world’s living religions. You reading should indicate why this is so.
· THE ABSOLUTE: what do the believers hold as most important? What is the ultimate source of value and significance? For many, but not all religions, this is given some form of agency and portrayed as a deity (deities). It might be a concept or ideal as well as a figure.
THE WORLD: What does the belief system say about the world? Its origin? its relation to the Absolute? Its future?
HUMANS: Where do they come from? How do they fit into the general scheme of things? What is their destiny or future?
THE PROBLEM FOR HUMANS: What is the principle problem for humans that they must learn to deal with and solve?
THE SOLUTION FOR HUMANS: How are humans to solve or overcome the fundamental problems ?
COMMUNITY AND ETHICS: What is the moral code as promulgated by the religion? What is the idea of community and how humans are to live with one another?
AN INTERPRETATION OF HISTORY: Does the religion offer an explanation for events occurring in time? Is there a single linear history with time coming to an end or does time recycle? Is there a plan working itself out in time and detectable in the events of history?
· RITUALS AND SYMBOLS: What are the major rituals, holy days, garments, ceremonies and symbols?
· LIFE AFTER DEATH: What is the explanation given for what occurs after death? Does he religion support a belief in souls or spirits which survive the death of the body? What is the belief in what occurs afterwards? Is there a resurrection of the body? Reincarnation? Dissolution? Extinction?
· RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER RELIGIONS: What is the prescribed manner in which believers are to regard other religions and the followers of other religions?
Jainism was born in India about the same period as Buddhism. It was established by Mahavira (c. 599 - 527 BC) in about 500 B. C. He was born near Patna in what is now Bihar state. Mahavira like Buddha belonged to the warrior caste. Mahavira was called ‘Jina’ meaning the big winner and from this name was derived the name of the religion.
In many senses Jainism is similar to Buddhism. Both developed as a dissension to the Brahmanic philosophy that was dominant during that period in north-east India. Both share a belief in reincarnation which eventually leads to liberation. Jainism is different to Buddhism in its ascetic beliefs. Both these religions emphasize non-violence, but non-violence is the main core in Jainism. Mahavira just like Buddha isn’t the first prophet of his religion. In Jainism like Buddhism there is a belief in reincarnation which eventually leads to liberation. Neither of these religions their religious philosophy around worship. But Jainism is different than Buddhism in its ascetic beliefs. Both these religions emphasis on non-violence, but in Jainism non-violence is its main core.
Jains believe that every thing has life and this also includes stones, sand, trees and every other thing. The fact that trees breath came to be known to the science world only from the 20th century. Mahavira who believed that every thing has life and also believed in non-violence practically didn’t eat anything causing his self- starvation to death. Mahavira was also extremely ascetic and walked around completely naked because of his renouncement of life. After years of hardship and meditation he attained enlightenment; thereafter he preached Jainism for about 30 years and died at Pava (also in Bihar) in 527 BC.
Mahavira’s religion followers are less extreme than him in diets. They are vegetarians. But the religious Jains will do everything possible to prevent hurting any being. They won’t walk in fields where there are insects to prevent the possibility of stepping on them. They also cover their mouth to prevent the possibility of swallowing small invisible microbes. They mostly do not work in professions where there is a possibility of killing any living being like in agriculture instead professions like banking and business. But it is not clear what came first, businessmen who adopted Jain philosophy because it was easy for them to follow or Jainish philosophy which convinced the Jains to adopt non violent professions.