Dawkins and Jainism

Radio host Terrence McNally recently interviewed Richard Dawkins. The transcript can be found here. Most of it is a rehashing of words Dawkins has said many times before, but this particular response bugged me:

TM: In other words, if [a religion was] just a philosophical belief that had no impact on the world, fine.

RD: Exactly. I don’t think you’ll find many people criticizing any gentle religion, like Jainism.

Sam Harris echoed that thought in The End of Faith.

Do these men actually know the details of Jainism? I do. I was raised with the faith.

I assume they’re referring to the fact that Jainism hinges on the belief and practice of non-violence. And it is true that, as a result, you probably won’t see Jains blowing up buildings anytime soon.

However, for all the diatribes Harris/Dawkins leash upon religious beliefs that have no basis in reality, they seem to ignore the beliefs of Jainism entirely.

I criticize certain aspects of Jainism in the book, but let me mention a few of the illogical beliefs now:

  • Jains believe in a never-ending, cyclical time cycle, with phases of “rising” and “falling” happiness. Each phase lasts several thousands of years.
  • Jains believe that they can accumulate and shed karma and this impacts our future lives (reincarnation).
  • Jains do not believe in Evolution (PDF).

For all the insults Harris/Dawkins bestow on religions that have similar beliefs, they are too kind to Jainism.

Again, these beliefs are not going to hurt anyone and I’ve never heard of Jains pushing their beliefs onto anyone else. But I can’t imagine why Harris/Dawkins fail to criticize these beliefs.

Unless they’re simply unaware of them.


[tags]Terrence McNally, Richard Dawkins, atheist, atheism, Indian-American, Desi, Jainism, Sam Harris, The End of Faith, karma, reincarnation, Evolution[/tags]

  • txatheist

    I’m surprised they mentioned Jainism at all. With all due respect I’d never heard of it. Maybe Harris and Dawkins are similar in that no one hears about Jains killing people so it doesn’t fit well into their theme. Wacky fundamentalists that leads to irrational behavior seems to be their type of citizen to be concerned about. However, the fact Jains don’t believe in evolution bothers me and I’ll look into that one.

  • http://www.masala-skeptic.com Maria

    I would guess that Dawkins and Harris are going for the ‘bigger fish to fry’ argument on that one. I think they are both pretty focussed on Islam and Christianity at the moment as these are the ones that are most clearly doing real damage to us, socially, politically etc.

    The fact that Jains don’t believe in evolution isn’t really going to cause a whole lot of trouble outside the Jain community. Dawkins and Harris are looking more at the impact of religion on the people outside that community.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com Mike C

    I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know as much about Jainism as I should. I’m wondering – what do Jains believe about the caste system? It seems to me that belief in Karma and reincarnation often serves to hold up an injust and oppressive caste system where people are told that they deserve to be treated as less valuable than other humans because of something they may have done in a past life.

    Do Jains buy into this system as well or do they hold onto the idea of Karma without subscribing to the idea of caste?

    Just wondering…

    • nishant mehta

      hi. i am jain and have studied a bit about it too. For jains all the living being have the very same soul. infact it considiers only souls as living being which may be with/ without bodies (viz all creature we see and micro-organisms and humans are with boday and siddhas are without body).

      Jain treats all the life as same, including the gods or tirthankaras and our primary goal is to become one of gods (i.e get rid of life and birth cycle). As all souls are same irrespective of what form it is in i.e plants, animals, human or god, any violence committed against them in any possible way i.e physically, verbally or via thoughts and bad feeling for them is a sin or bad karma. its because it attracts karma which will lead to further extension life cycle.

      As jains cannot discriminate amongst any creature, discrimination amongst human beings is out of question.

      for jains, caste used to be just the way to determine what kind of work one person does (which has became irrelevant as people select their jobs in modern world). its just like we have distinction of blue collar and white collar jobs. it a social aspect and not a religious one. so don’t get confused amongst them. i myself didn’t knew what caste i belonged to till i was about 16 yrs old. and it doesnt matter me much (or to any of jains i have ever met in all parts of india). we never even talk about the caste of a person.

      As per what i have read from the jain text, caste was way to run society just like we have administrative jobs, military or defense jobs, business men or entrepreneurs , teachers, scientist, social workers etc. these all too are part of the four caste system as every developed civilization will have all these jobs. Its not because of good or bad karma.

      Infact there is no good or bad karman in jainism at its core. If you read core jain text books it only talks about the scientific aspect like 9 fundamental tatvas of universe, what world is is made up of and how they interract. or 9 dimentions of universe (with subcategory).
      They are Jiv (soul or living beings), Dharmastikay (one which allows motion), Adharmastikay (One which allows body to rest, it can be Moment of Inertia or Friction), Pudgal (Energy + matter :- including light, sound, atoms, etc), Kaal (time) and Akaash (Space) and Moksha (state of soul free from all karmic bond). Rest tatvas are how they interact with each other esp how karmas work.

      Good or bad karma is decided on the fact that does it lead soul on path of liberation or not (or whatever your goal maybe as basic purpose of Jainism is to give happiness). So it is a logical and scientific explanation give rather than a moral dos and don’t list.

      Jainism lets everyone to decide what is good or bad for him depending on what his/her goal is. It doesn’t pass moral judgement on anyone or anything.

      The dos and don’t given in other books are derived on basis of above information according to the goal of that book, i.e moksha or wealth or knowledge or celibacy etc. Infact Jainism ask everyone to have a goal set in his mind and have a sound reasoning of why he is doing something and what he wants to achieve from it, before performing any action of religious recommendations like celibacy or non-possession or even staying hungry. They have grant or books on business ethics to scientific stuff. Its like how to be an engineer ready reckoner. One may not follow it and still can be an engineer.

      Jainism believes that all living being want happiness and it can be achieved via any path. Worshiping Jinas is not Jainism (we worship only to thank them and we want to be like them). Its just like we idolize someone who excelled in any field we too want to excel for inspiration and respect our teachers or coach who helped us in becoming what we want to become.

      This is what i have learned till now. sorry its very long and out of topic reply, but want everyone to have a basic knowledge about Jainism before talking about it.
      If i am worong in any aspect i ask for forgiveness and do correct me. thank you

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Mike– Technically, Jains do believe in the caste system, but at least in my upbringing (as well as most of my Jain friends’), it was never an issue and never brought up. I’m not sure how prevalent it is in Jain communities in India. I’ve also *never* heard any Indian use the caste system as justification for anyone’s lot in life, whether they were Jain or Hindu or what-have-you. Thankfully, it appears we’ve gone beyond that.

    – Hemant

    • Asdf

      Hi hemaint,
       make a distinction between jains you know and jainism as a philosphy. You make several mistakes about your ideas of jainism as a philosphy. Let me give a few examples.
      -  jainism believes in caste system. (wrong, if anything socially it was a movement against the prevalent hindu caste system.)
      -  jainism doesnt believe in evolution. (wrong, the concept of time in jainism is infinite, it doesnt really have much to say about evolution. Jainism is quite compatible with modern ideas of evolution.)
      - phases of rising happiness and falling happiness is not true according to you.
        (status of this proposition unknown, I personally think it’s a brilliant hypothesis. If there was a way to measure sum total of all living beings on earth and plot it against time, we could have an answer for certain. However, you can do a computer simulation and i can see a property called happiness varying rythmically over time. )

      anyways, you really need to study more, read more and contemplate more before calling  some jainism theories as “false” because that is not the way of science as well. 

      twitter/jainism

  • MTran

    As a teen, I was drawn to both Jainism and Buddhism due to their reputation for non-violence. But I wasn’t able to accept the underlying assumptions about “how the world worked” or the supernatural ideas any more than I could accept the odd superstitions of Christianity.

    I’m guessing that Dawkins et al. are taking the approach that if a religion doesn’t cause widespread or immediate public harm then they’re not going to argue with it.

    I agree with Mike C about the Karma belief making it easy to oppress people. But I would add that just about any religion tends to do that. So would some secular philosophies, if they were practiced by lareg numbers of people.

  • http://www.blacksunjournal.com BlackSun

    I second the motion. We have to test all claims equally, and even Dawkins and Harris seem to be falling into the trap of arguing from consequence: “They’re not violent, so they’re not that bad.” I would respond like you: “But their beliefs are still bullshit.”

    I’m sure Dawkins and Harris would agree to this if pressed. I think they’re just trying to make a point about the lesser of evils.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I’ve also *never* heard any Indian use the caste system as justification for anyone’s lot in life, whether they were Jain or Hindu or what-have-you. Thankfully, it appears we’ve gone beyond that.

    I’m assuming you mean the Indians you know here in the States. As I’m sure you’re aware, back in India oppression of the Dalits (justified by the concepts of karma and caste) is still a big problem.

  • http://www.friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Mike– I was referring to the states. I’ve never heard the caste system mentioned here. But even in India, many parts of the country that I know of are slowly going beyond the system, too. There are still problems with people believing that idea, but I think they will slowly fade away in time.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I hope so too. When I was at the Off the Map conference in November I got to meet Jim Henderson’s friend, Sunil Sardar of Truthseekers, an inter-religious Christian organization working for justice among the Dalits. He had some interesting stories to tell about the oppression that still occurs over there – as well as some of the proactive resistance efforts that Truthseekers and others are a apart of. I agree that caste will likely fade away in time, though, as with racial issues in this country, it is a slow process and old prejudices die hard. I imagine it will take several generations for these deeply ingrained patterns to completely disappear.

    In the meantime, I’m grateful for friends like Sunil who continue to fight for justice in the name of Jesus, whose own mission tore down barriers of race, gender, social class/caste, and religion.

  • Diablo_haiti

    Wow Hemant, all I can say it that I think you have erred tremendously in this article. I will provide my view and I hope I do not disrespect or offend anyone. I only mean to do so in a respectful friendly manner.

    I am a Jain but I am a Scientist and fully acknowledge the fact of evolution and the scientific process. In modern Jainism you will find that notions of evolution are rarely if ever discussed or touched on and indeed in the very document you provide there is no strong opposition to evolution that is taken. Instead the position is really more of indifference or lack of emphasis. It is RADICALLY different than the fundamentalist Christian stance that demands evolution be false and the age of the earth be 10,000 or so years old. Saying Jainism doesn’t agree with Darwinian evolution is not as correct as saying it is really indifferent to it. The only principles that Jains (certain Jains) follow is the notion of the never ending cycle which you mention. Indeed even Stephan Hawking in his writing remarked on the possibility of a universe with no beginning.

    In regards to karma and reincarnation there is no doubt that this belief is strongly held. Personally I don’t give too much weight to it one way or another and instead choose to focus on Jainism as a philosophy and taking the teachings of Mahavir about learning how to best improve myself and live life. Regardless this and many more mystical components of the religion are magnitudes less harmful then the beliefs of other religions such as those of Islam and thus criticism of them should be markedley less. Yes they are typically mystical and without Scientific merit but at least they do not negatively impact society. Moreover I think young Jains (especially in my temple at least) are growing up with the ability to understand that such principles are more metaphysical and thus not as prudent in the immediacy of their lives.

    Of course I am biased but Jainism is really the highest religion (or philosophy). A religion whose core tenet is Non-violence no matter what (even if someone insults Mahavir or damages your temple, you do not respond, you do not go on holy wars or kill people to defend your religion). This is a great and pure example of a religion that has mostly beneficial effects and little negative effects.

    The same arguments apply to karmic theory being a non-harmful belief. If you look at the totality of Jainism it really drives the individual and society to respect others, never harm others and operate in the noblest possible manner.

    When Dawkins discusses about how morality should never come from the bible or christianity he is absolutely right. But is Jainism a good template of morality? Absolutely it is.

  • Diablo_haiti

    I wanted to add 1 point. I find the notion of such a prominent declared atheist quite confusing when you are ultimately coming from a religion that is AS ATHEISTIC as a religion could possibly be.

    Its almost like saying I used to be a Tic Tac addict but now I have broken my addiction! I can talk about my struggles and do a blog about how I transformed from being an addict to not being an addict anymore and hold talk and conferences about my harrowing experience.

    I don’t mean to say this as an insult but just to express my profound curiosity of your position.

    Thanks.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Diablo_haiti — Upon rereading the linked document, I think my main problem was that Jains don’t openly admit evolution is correct. The document says Jains “cannot ascertain” it. Yes we can. It’s solid science, end of story. You know that, too. To not admit that is as (almost as) irresponsible as saying it’s wrong.

    Also, I do have problems with any Jain who believes in reincarnation or the concept of karma actually existing. Those are both ridiculous notions, not based in reality. Is it harmful? Certainly not in the same way other religions’ dogmas are. But it’s mythology accepted as fact in the Jain community. That’s why I cannot call myself a Jain and I encourage others not to, either.

    I still follow certain Jain values (vegetarianism, for one) but those ethics transcend life cycles and thirthankars and religions. Why not just drop the silly stories and follow the good teachings? We don’t need Jainism to follow them.

    Anyway, I know you didn’t ask for that sort of response :) But I don’t like it when people give credit to Jainism as a good philosophy and simply ignore the fact that it also teaches patently absurd beliefs that have no place in our society. I think Jainism teaches wonderful ethics, but that doesn’t mean people should adopt all the baggage that comes with it.

    While Jains may be technically atheists, most Jains I know will admit to believing in a god. Furthermore, Jains still believe in supernatural deities and superstitious nonsense. To me, that’s the same thing.

    I appreciate your comment!

    – Hemant

    • Diablo_haiti

      It has been a year since my last comment but I happened upon this page and felt the need to reply.

      Firstly as I mentioned I am not in disagreement about evolution or the scientific method but I feel the problem with your analysis is you are taking 1 small relatively non-important stance (indifference to evolution that some Jains may have) and blowing it far out of proportion. Jains are very scientific and logic oriented people. They will in general not decry or criticize evolution or science and most will openly acknowledge it. Jainism simply has no firm stance on the matter unlike Islam, Christianity or practically any theistic religion. Additionally to say not admitting evolution as fact is as bad as saying its wrong is a laughable point. The latter is clearly much more severe in terms of its infraction upon the intellectual analysis of reality.

      You remark about letting go of baggage about reincarnation and karma and I do appreciate this point. But to not believe in these aspects and still follow the principles of Jainism does not make you a non-Jain in my view. The most important aspect of the Jain practice is not thinking about the next life or past lives or about your soul/karma, it is simply being a good person and not harming other people or living things (or as little as possible in the case of microorganisms and plants). The talk of karma is merely a mythological way enforcing the ultimate tenet of non-violence. An intelligent follower of the religion can easily disregard this aspect of it, still follow Jainism like a philosophy and visit the Jain temple/partake in Jain activities.

      You don’t care to pray to Tirthankara and thats fine but doing so is not illogical even from an atheistic perspective.   Tirthankaras like Mahavir are no more than inspirational people who we strive to be like. When we bow down to them its no different then bowing doing to our parents or a master sensei in a dojo after martial arts training.  Furthermore, Tirthankaras are deistic entities. They do not influence our world, they don’t grant us wishes, they don’t forgive us, they don’t bring about miracles when we cry out for them. They are simply role-models we aspire to be like. When you pray to them you are really reinforcing your desire to have the strength to emulate them and their profound examples of non-violence. 

      As for the Jains you know that believe in ‘god’, you can inform them that they have no idea of what their religion even is. There is no theistic, creationist or intervening  ‘god’ in Jainism. You can perhaps pluck out what might be considered ‘gods’ in the Jain mythology, but that is a far cry from the interventional judeo-christian god. Their belief in such a singular god has nothing to do with Jainism and simply demonstrates their lack of understanding of the religion rather than any point against Jainism as a religion. Thus, such an argument is baseless and irrelevant save to say it would be apt to educate these people further about their religion and the incongruency between such beliefs and the Jain religion.

      Through my writing on your blog I simply cannot distance myself from the truth of my tic-tac analogy because thats what this entire blog, posts and your speaking out as an Atheist amounts to. I’m glad you gave up the tic-tac addiction… but was there any big paradigm shift or accomplishment made to begin with? While you decline to walk anywhere near candy stands for fear of conjuring up horrors of your old addiction to the minty white abominations, other individuals (breaking faith with religions of much more substantial violations of the intellectual pursuit of reality and morality) are getting over nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and heroin dependence. Please keep this analogy in mind when doing any further writings or when thinking about yourself and the stance you have taken.

      Thanks.

  • Curious

    Hey Hemant,

    I’m an atheist and former Jain myself.

    “give credit to Jainism as a good philosophy and simply ignore the fact that it also teaches patently absurd beliefs that have no place in our society”

    What Dawkins, Harris, and others do is to display that religion can have very real effects. One promoting violence can (and will in some cases) lead to it. That is all.

    It seems you take issue with not calling out Jainism at every chance. I find this interesting, because you yourself have trouble finding things to call it out for, specifically speaking.

    The problem is that if you look at Jainism scientifically, or analytically, they do not denounce evolution and they do not really believe in a God. If someone in Jainisim is praying to God for help, they are simply doing it wrong. Jains themselves aspire to be “godly” and consider those who have done so to be teachers. Demigods etc don’t really seem to play a significant role and are often misunderstood because they are often comprehended as “gods” as described in other religions/mythology.

    So, if you’re going to reply, I’d ask that you spell out the blatant absurdities that bother you so much about fundamental Jain philosophy.

    A few last things…

    Jains do not claim to know about evolutionary science – the texts are rather old – however it’s quite clear to most that Jains believe in evolution and do not believe in creation (they believe the world has always been here, in some way or another – which is in line with science.)

    So your only other issue (stated so far) was reincarnation. As an atheist I cannot accept this paradigm, however it is a religion – so of course we (as atheists) must reject it. But on the scale of all theistic philosophy it’s just not what we as atheists find offensive though, as it doesn’t carry many implications other than being nice to everyone (a principle of natural human nature, shared by atheists.)

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    @Curious

    So, if you’re going to reply, I’d ask that you spell out the blatant absurdities that bother you so much about fundamental Jain philosophy.

    Where do I start…? Belief in heaven/hell? Karma? Reincarnation? knowledge of Thirthankars’ lives? Belief in Nirvana/moksha?

    Like I said, Jainism isn’t as bad as other faiths, but it has its fair share of false beliefs.

  • Curious

    Thanks for the response. I agree, those are all examples of false beliefs in Jainism. However, I don’t believe they are offensive (or as offensive) as the some religious beliefs can be.

    I think that is quite clearly Dawkins & Harris’ point. They don’t endorse any religion. They just pointed out the pervasive power of belief. More specifically, how one belief can result in violence while another can yield the exact opposite. In other words, they are indicating that it’s not just inherrent human nature to be bad – these religios doctrines have a powerful effect on our behavior and reasoning. That is their point.

    Your article reads like a refutation of this point, or at least a misunderstanding of this point. They never endorse Jainism or indicate a lack of knowledge on the subject. More importantly, they never say there is NOTHING illogical in Jainism (or any other religion.) They don’t even imply that.

    “For all the insults Harris/Dawkins bestow on religions that have similar beliefs, they are too kind to Jainism.”

    No they aren’t too kind. They never excuse it as an acceptable religion. That’s never their point when they bring it up, and saying it is is unrepresentative of what they are talking about.

    Why would they hurl “insults”? They carefully save those for the immoral beliefs brought to us by religion: Advocating the death penalty for apostasy, acceptance of human sacrifice, endorsement of slavery/stoning/killing, the commitment of those who don’t accept gods divinity to hell etc. They usually don’t say “hey, how about those silly hats jews wear?!” or “how about that silly belief in karma!” because its implicit in their stance and really does not need “insulting”.

    This is just my lengthy opinion, and I didn’t mean it as a debate or argument. Infact, we agree on most things as I am a fellow atheist. I have a lot of respect for the fact that you run this blog.

  • http://TheTooncesProject.com Stefani Olsen

    I have recently been looking into Jainism and I have to say that while I agree the idea of individual reincarnation is proposterous, I do not find the idea of karma preposterous — only the metaphors used to help one understand “karma.” Since Jainism is so ancient, they may have created concepts to embody beliefs that were at that time unexplainable by science.

    I think that if you interpret karma more loosely, the concept of karma can be valid. Also, if you think of karma as a collective phenomena rather than an individual one, its is a good way to create an understanding of how all things come back to us.

    We have been pouring pesticides on our lawns for decades to kill insects we found pesky. “Bad karma.” The pesticide runoff is impacting water quality, fish, etcetera. Also, it is now believed that a particular pesticide is responsible for the deaths of the honey bees, without which we lose a key pollinator.

    Global warming is another example of what could be called “karma.” Our harmful behavior toward other creatures, gluttonous and wanton use of resources far beyond what we truly need, and overpopulation are coming back at us, by destroying the atmosphere on which we depend for life.

    These can be seen as purely scientific phenomena, entirely explicable physically. And they are. But they can also be seen in their moral or ethical dimension as karma. In this sense, I see these Jain beliefs, interpreted from a more modern viewpoint, as compatible with science.

    You might rightly ask: Why have ANY religion? You don’t need to adopt an external system of proscribed beliefs to understand these realities. True. But an ethical system is in some ways a “shortcut” or provides convenient metaphors for moral principles.

  • advocate

    Guys, hate to pop your bubble but Jainism has its own downfall just like all religions-
    messed up geologic sense, 7 heaven and 7 hells (yes the non violent Jains have 7 hells of increasing pain), made up dietary rules (like wont eat potato because it kills germ life forms but milk and yogurt are heavily used), priests hate everyone who is not Jain at every preaching, sex ratio is 6 girls born to every 10 boys, others are aborted (does not seem to bother their non violent selves either), karma is a great way to oppress lower castes and feel good (it is just their karma that has birth them in misfortune not my oppression), Jains control 20% Indian business despite being .1% of population and make “good” business decisions right and left like slave wages, pollution of environment, stealing resources by destructive means, making corrupt political alliances etc. Jains have as much claim to peace and good philosophy of life(OR NOT) as any other religion.

  • Stefani

    I’m not a jain and i am not defending jainism, but I am not sure how you can be so sure that the metaphor of karma (yes, i know jains believe it is a physical substance which sticks to you, and that is pretty preposterous) is not true.

    I think that karma can be observed. It is really just the principle of your deeds coming back to you. This principle may not hold strictly true on a personal level — you and I know unethical people who have prospered greatly and suffered few consequences — but collectively, I believe we can see the basic concept of karma affirmed. Look at how we live, without regard for the long term consequences of our actions. We see what this is doing to the environment on which we depend. When we failt to invest in education, we get young people who can’t get jobs –> become desperate –> turn to crime. This cycle plays out not with flawless accuracy on an individual level, but on a societal level it does. And, more often than not, we can see “karma” (or use whatever word you want) play out on an individual level. More often than not, as my grandmother would say, “the chickens come home to roost.” There are consequences to behaving carelessly or exploitatively.

  • nishant mehta

    hi.
    i am jain and have studied a bit about it too. For jains all the living
    being have the very same soul. infact it considiers only souls as
    living being which may be with/ without bodies (viz all creature we see
    and micro-organisms and humans are with boday and siddhas are without
    body).

    Jain treats all the life as same, including the gods or tirthankaras
    and our primary goal is to become one of gods (i.e get rid of life and
    birth cycle). As all souls are same irrespective of what form it is in
    i.e plants, animals, human or god, any violence committed against them
    in any possible way i.e physically, verbally or via thoughts and bad
    feeling for them is a sin or bad karma. its because it attracts karma
    which will lead to further extension life cycle.

    As jains cannot discriminate amongst any creature, discrimination amongst human beings is out of question.

    for jains, caste used to be just the way to determine what kind of
    work one person does (which has became irrelevant as people select their
    jobs in modern world). its just like we have distinction of blue collar
    and white collar jobs. it a social aspect and not a religious one. so
    don’t get confused amongst them. i myself didn’t knew what caste i
    belonged to till i was about 16 yrs old. and it doesnt matter me much
    (or to any of jains i have ever met in all parts of india). we never
    even talk about the caste of a person.

    As per what i have read from the jain text, caste was way to run
    society just like we have administrative jobs, military or defense jobs,
    business men or entrepreneurs , teachers, scientist, social workers
    etc. these all too are part of the four caste system as every developed
    civilization will have all these jobs. Its not because of good or bad
    karma.

    Infact there is no good or bad karman in jainism at its core. If you
    read core jain text books it only talks about the scientific aspect like
    9 fundamental tatvas of universe, what world is is made up of and how
    they interract. or 9 dimentions of universe (with subcategory).
    They
    are Jiv (soul or living beings), Dharmastikay (one which allows motion),
    Adharmastikay (One which allows body to rest, it can be Moment of
    Inertia or Friction), Pudgal (Energy + matter :- including light, sound,
    atoms, etc), Kaal (time) and Akaash (Space) and Moksha (state of soul
    free from all karmic bond). Rest tatvas are how they interact with each
    other esp how karmas work.

    Good or bad karma is decided on the fact that does it lead soul on
    path of liberation or not (or whatever your goal maybe as basic purpose
    of Jainism is to give happiness). So it is a logical and scientific
    explanation give rather than a moral dos and don’t list.

    Jainism lets everyone to decide what is good or bad for him depending
    on what his/her goal is. It doesn’t pass moral judgement on anyone or
    anything.

    The dos and don’t given in other books are derived on basis of above
    information according to the goal of that book, i.e moksha or wealth or
    knowledge or celibacy etc. Infact Jainism ask everyone to have a goal
    set in his mind and have a sound reasoning of why he is doing something
    and what he wants to achieve from it, before performing any action of
    religious recommendations like celibacy or non-possession or even
    staying hungry. They have grant or books on business ethics to
    scientific stuff. Its like how to be an engineer ready reckoner. One may
    not follow it and still can be an engineer.

    Jainism believes that all living being want happiness and it can be
    achieved via any path. Worshiping Jinas is not Jainism (we worship only
    to thank them and we want to be like them). Its just like we idolize
    someone who excelled in any field we too want to excel for inspiration
    and respect our teachers or coach who helped us in becoming what we want
    to become.
    The only reason Jainism emphasis on moksha is because it
    believes that only has moksha is permanent happiness and rest of all are
    temporary which change with time, amount, mood, or many other
    conditions. E.g even best delicacy gives you happiness only till you are
    hungry. once you are full, you may not want to eat it more.

    This is what i have learned till now. sorry its very long and out of
    topic reply, but want everyone to have a basic knowledge about Jainism
    before talking about it.
    If i am wrong in any aspect i ask for forgiveness and do correct me. thank you

  • Vikas Jain

    Hi all,

    Let me give you some proof of reincarnation.

    There is an Health institute in Bangalore (INDIA) who have investigated on 45 peoples.

    These 45 peoples were those who claims that prior to this birth I was staying with a person name xyz in abc village and many more details.

    So this institute took those persons to those places and have checked those places and have confirmed that what the person said was 100% correct…..

    This was the case with many …..(u will get many eg on google also)

    You might have also come across many people who claim that they knew their previous birth……

    Knowing of previous birth is called as “JATI SMARAN” in Jainism.

    So after all the investigation the Institute came out with the conclusion that when a person dies he leaves his body but there is something which HE retains with himself in the latter birth …….

    This something is what we call as “KARMIC PUDGAL”

    So what is Karmic Pudgal

    Karmic Matter (Karma Pudgala): Karma is one of the categories of matter (pudgala). Karma particles are of the finest matter, not perceptible to the senses. The entire universe is filled with such karmic matter.

    More details on this link :http://www.jainbelief.com/PPOJ/10.htm

    In case you dont believe in Karmic pudgal can you/science explain me why a honest man is punished and a dishonest remains unpunished

    If your Karms are good you wont get harmed by inspite of you being on the Wrong end ..while if your Karms are bad you will get harmed even being on the Right side

    Coming to the CAST side…

    In the Uttaradhyan Sutra It is said that anyone in this world can follow Jainism …

    and my friend anyone includes all caste,creed and sex.

    I know that some people in Jainism might be talking about caste ,but I will urge you to understand the principles rather then the people following the religion.

    There have been many great saints in Jainism which were of other caste.

    THe worshipping of Tirthankara (Mahavira)..

    First of all let me make clear that Jainism existed eons of time before Mahavira….

    Regarding worshipping Tirthankars,let me say you JAINS worship the qualities(gunas) of a person which is common sense .

    Why worshipping Tirthankkars? simple because we want to be as pure as Tirthankara.

    JAins do not worship claiming that Tirthankara is the one who created and will destroy this world

    Regarding Science

    May I know which laboratory existed 2500 years ago that made Mahavira say “Even Plants have Life”

    there are so many Grants(books) by ancient Jain saints were numerous inventions were already proved centuries before eg.value of pi =3.14, etc…

    If you dont follow religion then whats the difference between animals and humans they too eat ,drink and sleep …….

    Atleast be a Vegetarian if you dont follow any JAINISM.

    Thanks,

    Vikas Jain


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