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Rituals and Worship

Sacred Time

Jain time is cyclical, moving through stages in which dharma grows progressively weaker and conditions in karma-bhumi deteriorate accordingly. Each of these cycles is marked by the return of the twenty-four Tirthankaras, who eternally refresh Jaina Dharma through their identical teachings.

Sacred Space

Some Jain sects do not build temples, as they consider their construction and use to be violent attachment. For Jains who do attend temples, there are many important pilgrimage sites in India considered to be sources of spiritual power.

Jainism Rites and Ceremonies

Rituals differ by sect, but generally include fasts, devotional worship, and meditation. Initiation into renunciant orders is effected by the elaborate Diksha ritual. The ritual of Sallekhana entails fasting until death when one's body begins to interfere with spiritual progress.

Worship and Devotion in Daily Life

Vegetarianism is the most common expression of Jain values. Also common are meditation, recitation of mantras, and household or temple puja performance. Daily observance of the five vows (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual purity, and non-possession) is essential for all Jains.


The official symbol of Jainism is a pictogram whose geometric outline symbolizes the world (lok); within the image is a raised hand inscribed with "ahimsa" (non- violence); a swastika symbolizing the four worlds into which one can be reborn; three dots symbolizing the three jewels of Jainism; and an arc symbolizing the abode of the Siddhas.