What Jains Believe

Central tenets of this faith, based on the questions in the Belief-O-Matic quiz.

 

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  • Belief in Deity
    Humans who have destroyed their karmas achieve Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Perception, Infinite Power, and Infinite Bliss. They become gods, or Jina, and as such will never suffer rebirth again. There is no Creator God, and Jinas do not manage the universe or humankind, which operates under its own laws (cosmic and karmic). The souls of Jinas retain their individual identities. Twenty-four Jinas are worshipped as inspirational bridges for others to achieve liberation, the latest being the founder of the religion. Any living being may become a God once enlightened. As more people become enlightened, the number of gods becomes innumerable.

    Incarnations
    No incarnations. Gods are humans who attain enlightenment and are liberated from rebirth.

    Origin of Universe and Life
    There is no creator; the universe is eternal and infinite and operates under its own cosmic law--consists of three sections: earth, heaven, and hell.

    After Death
    Through laws of karma, one's soul is reborn until enlightened and liberated. One may be reborn into hell or heaven or as a lower life form, depending on one's karma. Once fully liberated, you become a god with omniscience and omnipotence.

    Why Evil?
    People have free will to commit wrongs. Evil results as cravings, attachments, and ignorance accumulate through perpetual rebirths, resulting in greed, hatred, violence.

    Salvation
    Ridding oneself of all karmas (good or bad) and extinguishing all attachments enables one to become enlightened/liberated from cycles of rebirth and become a God with limitless perception, knowledge, power, and happiness. One must follow the “Three Jewels” of right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct. This includes no violence to any life form, even vegetables (eaten if the plant is not killed by doing so). To hasten liberation, one must confess/repent regularly and often and live ascetically, especially in the fourth and final stage of life.

    Undeserved Suffering
    Suffering is a result of past-life greed, hatred, and ignorance, which returns as suffering (karma). Suffering is also seen as illusory, in that it results from attachment to bodily pleasure and pain, while only the Absolute truly exists. Suffering is one way of actively ridding oneself of bad karma.

    Contemporary Issues
    Homosexuality would result in negative karma, as sexuality is only to occur between a husband and wife; celibacy is required on the path to spiritual liberation.


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