What are the Symbols of Jainism?
Name: Ahimsa Hand
The hand represents fearlessness. The wheel on the palm represents the dharmacakra, which is the desire to stop the cycle of reincarnation through non-violence. The word in the wheel is “ahisma.”
The circle on the palm of the hand represents Samasara, meaning, “continuous flow,” and depicts the Hindu belief in reincarnation, which posits that after death the soul or spirit returns to a different life form (not necessarily human). The 24 inward spokes represent the teaching of the 24 Tirthankars, who are people who have achieved enlightenment and mentor those trying to do likewise. (See Jainism fast facts and Jainism beliefs)
The word “ahimsa” comes from the Sanskrit language. It combines the root for “to strike” (hims) and “injury” or “harm” (himsa). The first letter, “a”, acts as a prefix and negates what follows, so “ahimsa” literally means “no strike or injury or harm” or just “non-violence.”
Ahimsa represents physical and verbal non-violence to all living things. Not only does non-violence foster harmony between all living things, but in an ultimate sense, obedience to this principle results in good karma for the individual. Conventionally, Ahisma permits self-defense.
The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating back to the 5th century BC. It has five colours: White, Red, Orange, Green and Dark Blue or Black. For more on the religious use of the swastika, please see the following article:
Name: Jain emblem
In 1974, on the 2500th anniversary of the last Jain, Tirthankara Mahavira, the Jain community collectively chose one image as an emblem to be the main identifying symbol for the religion. Use of this emblem helps to create a culture showing dedication and trust for the religion and the values that are represented by their emblem.
The outter border of the image symbolizes the universe. The semi-circle symbolizes Siddhashila, which is a zone beyond the three realms. All of the Siddhas (liberated bodiless souls) reside on this forever, liberated from the cycle of life and death. The three dots on the top under the semi-circle symbolize Triratna (Ratnatraya) – Samyak darshan (right belief), Samyak Gyan (right knowledge), and Samyak Charitra (right conduct).
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