Fast Facts on Jainism


adherents 4 million
UK adherents 25,000 (most in Leicester, England)
major branches Digambaras ("sky-clad"); Shvetambaras ("white-clad")
original language Sanskrit
name means Religion of the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection
place founded Eastern India
texts The teachings of Mahavira in various collections.
founder(s) Mahavira (c. 599-527 BCE)
origins Founded by Mahavira, c. 550 BCE, eastern India
afterlife Reincarnation until liberation is attained
god(s) The universe is eternal; many gods exist. Gods, humans and all living things are classified in a complex hierarchy.
human life The soul is uncreated and eternal and can attain perfect divinity. Purpose is to gain liberation from cycle of rebirth, by avoiding all bad karma, especially by causing no harm to any sentient being.
type of theism polytheism and pantheism
practices Monasticism under the Five Great Vows (Non-Violence, Truth, Celibacy, Non-Stealing, Non-Possessiveness); worship at temples and at home. Meditation and mantras.
house of worship temple