Has your friend ever asked you why you are Jain and they aren’t? It’s all karma. As a Jain we believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation means that you have unlimited lives until you are liberated from the cycle of life and death- which is our goal in Jainism. Karma is the consequences of your actions. As your good karma (also known as Punya) gives you a good destiny, your bad karma (also known as Pap) gives you a bad destiny in which there will be nothing good of you, or your life. Really, you are in charge of your karma, because you do what you do. As they say every purpose must have a cause.
Unlike some other religions, Jainism has many gods – also known as bhagwans or thirthankars. There are twenty four thirthankars the first known as Rishabhdev or Adinath and the last known as Mahavir Swami. These bhagwans became a bhagwan by getting a very special karma, namely, thirthankar nam karma. This karma is gifted to the future bhagwan on their third to last life. To get the karma is a major achievement and you must do something extraordinary to do it. (Extraordinary in a good way)
There are many different ways to get karma. Good karma, known as Punya, is virtuous and good for you to get while the bad karma, known as Pap, is sinful and therefore you should try to avoid getting such karma. There are 9 ways to acquire Punya karma. Anna Punya means the offering of vegetarian foods. Pan Punya means the offering of pure water. Layan Punya means the offering of shelter. Shayan Punya means the offering of bed. Vastra Punya means the offering of clothes. Mana Punya means the offering of good thoughts and ideas. Vachana Punya means the offering of kind and helpful words. Kaya Punya means the offering of kind and helpful activities. Namaskar Punya means paying respect to the 5 great souls.
The 5 great souls also known as the Panch Paramesthis are the most powerful people in the Jain religion. Arihants are the destroyers of the 4 inner enemies (anger, ego, greed, deceit) Siddhas are the liberated souls which permanently reside at a place called siddhashila (all thirthankars are siddhas) Acharyas take over the Jain congregation after the thirthankars are liberated from the cycle of life and death. Upadhayays have in depth knowledge of all scriptures ever written about the Jain religion (agams, sutras, etc.) Sadhus and Sadhvis are house holders which have renounced themselves from the worldly life and are now monks (male/ sadhu) or nuns (female/ sadhvi)
There are also 18 ways to acquire pap karma, which, is the sinful type. Pranatipat means violence. Mrushavada means untruthfulness. Adatadan means theft. Maithun means unchastity. Parigraha means possessiveness. Krodha means anger. Mana means arrogance. Maya means deceit. Lobha means greed. Raga means attachment. Dvesha means hatred. Kalah means quarreling. Abhyakhyana means accusation. Paishunya means gossip. Rati-Arati means like, dislike. Parparivad means criticism. Maya-Mrushavada means malice. Mithyathva-shala means wrong beliefs.
As a Jain, we have 3 main principles. They are Ahimsa, Anekantvada, and Aparigraha. Ahimsa means non-violence. After taking this vow, one must make sure that they avoid violence by mind, speech, and body. (If you can) Anekantvada means respecting other’s viewpoints and ideas no matter who they are or where they’re from. After taking this vow you should not only respect but also understand other’s viewpoints. Aparigraha means non-attachment. After taking this vow you shouldn’t be attached to anything or anybody.
As a Jain, at the end, our ultimate goal is to attain liberation and the only way to do that is to get rid of all karma. It’s hard but worth and instead of trying to win a video game competition this, should be your goal.
The JAB Manuel (3rd Edition) was compiled by the JAINA education committee
Published January 2015 by Jain Education International
In Carson, CA 90746-1203 USA
Pages used: 27,124-133, 206-207, 296-301, 309-310