Jainism was formed in 550 BC. Jainism traditionally known as Jain Dharma is an ancient Indian religion. The preachers of Jainism were known as Jain derived from Sanskrit word Jina. They follow the preachings of Lord Mahavira. Lord Mahavira was the twenty-fourth Tirathankar of Jainism, the texts containing the teachings of Lord Mahavira are known as Agamas. Digambar and Shvetamabr are the two sects of Jainism. The guiding principles or three jewels of Jainism are Right perception (Samyak Darshana) Right knowledge (Samyak Jnana) Right conduct (Samyak chritra) BUDDHISM It is the fourth largest religion in the world. Buddhists follow the preaching of Gautam Buddha. Hinayana and Malayans are the two main schools thought in Buddhism. The main aim is to attain nirvana which means to achieve enlightenment by overcoming the rounds of rebirth and experiencing bliss. The Buddha’s teaching highlighted four noble truths All existence is a sukkah The cause of sukkah is craving The cessation of sukkah comes with the cessation of craving There is a path that leads from the sukkah These religions brought in different ways of living in India and were accepted by the masses especially the suppressed castes. These religions have few similarities and differences which are crucial to the popularity of these religions in India as well as globally.
- Backgrounds of the Prominent Heads Both Mahavir and Gautam Buddha belonged to the Kshatriya caste. In those times Kshatriyas were considered to be the warrior caste of the caste hierarchy. They both left their princely lives and spoke to the socially downtrodden, the Vaishyas who were not conceded societal position relating to their developing monetary power, and the Shudras who were unquestionably abused.
- Liberation Both Buddhism and Jainism talk about liberating your inner self extensively. Buddhism believes that the path to liberation goes through good conduct and good deeds. It follows an Eightfold Path which includes Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration. Mindfulness and Concentration help in attaining liberation from suffering. It includes quite a concentration, without disrupting the process by getting distracted by your thoughts and worldly gratification. Jainism’s path of liberation is to follow the right perception, knowledge and right conduct. An individual has to leave the worldly pleasures to attain liberation. It has five great vows known as Five Mahavratas including Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha.
- Meditation Practices Both the religions preach meditation as a means to concentrate on their inner self in order to attain peace with themselves and the world. They modified the system of yoga and meditation to suit their own philosophical and ethical goals. They believed in order to purify and liberate the inner self you need to be connected with it through extensive meditation. Jainism is a thought oriented school of philosophy which illustrates meditation as a state of one’s mind over any period of time. Buddhist meditation techniques illustrate ways to search for wisdom by providing self with a suitable environment to aid the searching.
- The approach towards Gender and Caste Both the religions wanted to do nothing even closely associated with the caste system. Their disciples belonged to both the genders and encompassed all the castes of the hierarchy, There were no distinctions among the disciples. They did not believe in creating distinctions among the people. They believed that everyone was equal to one another in the world. They were opposed to the caste system and drew many followers from the lower Strata of society.
- Non Violence Ahimsa applied to all the living beings of the world. Ahimsa or non-violence was integral to the two religions. It was a part of their teachings. Both the religions were peace-loving and talked about inner peace and satisfaction. They preached non-violence. It was considered the highest morale. It is one of the cardinal virtues of both religions. It also said any kind of Ahimsa or Violence would have karmic consequences. Jainism prohibited violence even in thoughts and speech let alone action. Non-violence is seen as the most essential religious duty. Buddhism is a peace-loving and has centered the whole religion around peace. Meditation is practiced for the bodies to be at peace with itself, the people around and the world.
- Attainment of Moksha or Salvation Buddhism It says that in order to attain Moksha or Salvation you need not go through practices which compel you to put yourself in the position of self mortification. Once you attain Moksha, you free yourself from all the desires and it is possible to attain Moksha while you are living in the world. Jainism In Jainism Moksha is the highest and noblest objective a soul shall strive to achieve. Jainism believed that salvation and Nirvana is possible only after death. The Soul needs to free itself from the bondages of karma which results in misery because of multiple deaths and rebirths.
- Status of women Buddhism There was no distinctions between the men and women. Women were equal to men in the Sangha. Both the genders were given equal rights under Buddhism and they were an integral part of the Sangha. They considered that women and men should be responsible for everything equally. They believed that women are capable enough to realise the truth just as the men are. Jainism Jainism was still a little impartial to women. Even though Jainism believed in nakedness they did not feel that women shouldn’t be naked as it provoked men to experience sexual desire. It also considered women to be harmful because of the belief that menstrual blood kills micro organisms. Due to the menstrual cycle, they were also considered impure.
- Global Popularity
Though both the religions originated from India, they both flourished very differently in the world. Buddhism Buddhism gained a lot of popularity in India and also spread widely globally. The Buddhist beliefs travelled the world as they were more accommodative and was comparatively less rigid than Jainism which is one of the most important reasons why it flourished in other countries and encompasses to a population of almost 500-600 million globally.
Both the religions are similar on various grounds but Jainism believes in extremes and is very rigid in its practices. This has played a major role in its popularity in the world. Jainism has managed to grow in India but did not go global. It encompasses a population of 50-60 million. 4) Views on Soul
It believes that soul is present only in living things including plants and animals. It doesn’t believe in inanimate objects having any soul. They do not firmly believe in Soul as Jainism did and did not give much importance to it. It did not waste any time on unnecessary speculations and to devote time for attaining salvation.
Jainism believes that sthe oul is something which is not exclusive to only living beings but is also present in living and non living things. It considers soul to exist forever, is independent and faces the consequences of its actions. All the elements wind, earth, fire and water have their respective souls. Buddhism did not believe in going to the extremes of starvation but chose the Middle Path which was the mid way of Sensual indulgence and Self Mortification.Whereas Jainism believed in self mortifications and fasting in order to attain a satisfied life.