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The Way of Janism

  • Date Submitted: 04/18/2010 04:46 PM
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Dr Benjamin Whitlock
Course Rel 234
World Religions

Leonard Jerkins
                                          Chapter 5
                      Jainism the Way of Non Injury

Mahavira means mightiest of warriors; one in possession of Virya or Spiritual energy, described as "the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH out of the mire of lies terrestrial." Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is considered to be the twenty-fourth Tirthankara. The first Tirthankara was Adinath or Rishabha, the twenty-second was Nemi or Neminath and the twenty-third was Parsvanath. Tirthankara is one who leads you to God. "Tirtha," in Sanskrit, means, among many things, a road or a passage and Tirtha-kara is to create a passage (through life). Just as when a ship sails, it leaves behind a shiny track on the water, so also the great ones when they move leave behind a sacred track. Some authors suggest that Tirthankaras are "bridge makers" in a figurative sense, i.e., they are those by the practice of whose teachings we can cross the ocean of mundane life and reach spiritual perfection. "Tirthankaras are Jaina saints and chiefs, of which there are twenty four. It is claimed that one of them was the spiritual Guru of Gautama Buddha. explains who these Tirthankaras are, when she refers to the "Thirty-five Buddha’s of Confession." She points out that these personages, though called "Buddha’s" in Northern Buddhist religion, may just as well be called Rishis or Avatars and are universal. They are historical sages. "They are chosen from among some ninety-seven Buddha’s in one group, and fifty-three in another, mostly imaginary personages, who are really the personifications of the powers of the first-named." Gautama Buddha is the twenty-seventh of the last group (of fifty-three Buddha’s). Explains further that these thirty-five Buddha’s represent once living men, great Adepts and Saints in whom the "Sons of Wisdom" have incarnated, and who, therefore, can be...


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