Introduction to jainism


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Jainism is a scientific and compassionate religion. Jainism is one of the oldest faiths with a way of life based on 5 codes of conduct which are:

Non Violence (AHIMSA),

Truth (SATYA),

Non Stealing (ASTEYA),

Chastity (BRAMA CHARYA),

Non- possessiveness (APARIGRAHA).

A “Jain” follows the spiritual path and examples set by previous human beings who are victors or conquerers of their own inner enemies such are anger, pride, deceit, greed, attachment and hatred. These people are called JINAS and also known as TIRTHANKARS. The followers of Jainsim are known as Jains.
Jainism started in India and is now flourishing in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
1. Lord Mahavir and his principles.

Jain Principles were preached by Gods (TIRTHANKARAS). Their preachings were previously known under other names in ancient times as “ Nirgrantha” or “Saman tradition”. As Lord MAHAVIRA is the twenty fourth TIRTHANKARA, and hence the last, his teachings are the most modern and present school of Jainism he is considered the founder of Jainism about 2600 years ago.

He attained absolute knowledge (KEVALJNAN) which is a insight of the past, present and future through Right Knowledge, Right Faith and Right Conduct.
He was the Last TIRTHANKARA to preach the Jain Principles. A Tirthankar is a perfect human being who after enlightenment teaches the rest of the world of attaining final liberation. They are considered to be Gods as they have reached enlightenment /Moksha / Nirvana.
He taught us that all living beings have a soul and all souls are equal, all Souls are Independent and any Soul can attain salvation.

Lord Mahavira was born a prince, whose parents were King and Queen. He had a lots of wealth, food, servants, clothes. He even got married and had a daughter. He was unhappy with his life and gave it all up to live a life of a monk. He gave up all attachment to his possessions and achieved enlightenment.

Non Violence (AHIMSA),

Truth (SATYA),

Non Stealing (ASTEYA),

Chastity (BRAMA CHARYA),

Non- possessiveness (APARIGRAHA).

Discuss the 5 codes of conducts for what they mean.

We should practise NON- VIOLENCE (AHIMSA) which is the main principle.

Inspiring story of |Megh Kumar vol 14

We should love all living Beings, Plants, Bugs, Birds, Fish, Animals, Celestial,

Other teachings of Mahavira:
Infernal and Human Beings.
We should always tell the Truth.
We should not take things that don’t belong to us.
We should be Content and Limit our Needs, Desires and Possessions.
We should Share and Care.
We should always help others.
We should Admire the Virtuous.
The same principles were taught by the previous twenty three Tirthankars thus they are time tested.
Lord Mahavira reached nirvana / enlightenment through having the right knowledge, right faith and right conduct.

Discuss what these statements mean with the class and how we can also act them.


Jainsim over time has split into two main sects.

Digambar – monks wear no clothes

Shvetambhar – monks wear white clothes

The latter is sub split into three sub sects:

Shvetambhar Murtipujak sect – idol worship

Shvetambhar Sthanakavasi sect – no idol worship

Shvetambhar Terapanthi sect – no idol worship and differing principles

Some Jain’s do not believe in Idol worshipping but 80% do.
A visit to a Jain Temple will show five different aspects all connected with the Jain Religion. (Or use of videos and pictures if not possible)
Objective: where and how do Jains go to worship.

All Jain Temples will have a central statue of one of our 24 Tirthankar alongside the others depending upon the size of the platform in the temple. The reason for this to show them all as equals who have reached NIRVANA. Alongside this you would also find statues of other deities.

Usually the Tirthankar statues will be in Lotus sitting position. You may find some in a standing position eg Bahubali.

Some people will also have a temple to worship in their own home or a dedicated room in another building.
You will find Jain Temples all over India and U.K., U.S.A, Europe and Africa. The most important temples known to Jains are:




Pictures can be seen at

Further information on temples can be found in “Jainism a way of life” by Vinod Kapasi p 38 -40.

Inside a temple can be seen on or - a short 2 minute animation.
Discuss Posture of Gods, design of temples and locations after viewing materials.
Look at the architecture of temples especially the arches and Domes as very elaborate and ornate. The different materials used for Statues and temples.

Why are Locations usually on the hills? As are peaceful for concentration, away from distractions of daily life to raise yourself to higher level by taking an inward spiritual journey.

Give a map of India to locate where Jain Temples are situated.

Suggest why and how migration has taken place over the years, giving geographical and historical reasons.

An excursion to a Jain temple.

What to do when you visit a temple.? – watch the video titled “ This is my temple”

Discuss the following aspects:

Taking shoes off, ringing bell, bowing down, prayer and say Mantras, go around in the temple and explore all parts. Why do you do it? Can you eat or drink in the temple? What type of behaviour is expected in the temple? Why visit the temple? How the temple is divided as Main temple, Praying area, kitchen, library, bathroom.

Jain Temple – This is my temple video 2 min 25 sec. REF ? - going to a temple.
POOJA Why you can only enter the main temple area where statues are kept and touch them if you are clean and wear washed clothes soon after bathing with your mouth and nose covered with a cloth.

Show a video of Puja How they do it? Why they do it? How many different types of puja?

P35 -36 Jainism way of life – Vinod Kapasi

People can use different coloured lentils to recreate rangoli patterns on the floor.



Worship is the expression of one’s devotion.

It brings joy, peace, love and equanimity.

P30-32 Jainism A way of life by Vinod Kapasi.

Who do Jains worship? Arihant- P 56-60 Jain lessons vol 2

Some people use a Rosary to say their prayers. You can Say it five time or one hundred and eight times. Using a Rosary helps to count one hundred and eight times for silent prayer and meditation at the same time.

What other religions also use a rosary for prayer ?


A sacred symbol in Jainism. This was stolen by the Nazi’s and rotated and used in Germany for evil purposes. It is also used by Hindu’s.

The four sides symbolise the four realms of existence of worldly souls. They are heavenly beings, humans, animals/ plants/elements and hellish beings.

Jainism – religion of compassion and ecology by Pravin Shah. p. 31

Use rice to make shape of swastika.


This is the main Jain mantra. to listen to it. for its meaning.


What is its Purpose and why performed at the end?

Use a battery operated diva if they want to pretend in the class or temple.

Observe it live in temple or on video called My temple.


Why this is important?

How can we respect other people and other religions?


To Visit a temple in Birmingham


322, Hamstead Road,

Handsworth Wood,

Birmingham, B20 2RA

phone Arvinder Jain 0121 384 1878 Mobile 07761 090 439 /

Email /


A vegetarian diet is eaten so no meat, fish, egg, sea animals, alcohol, no smoking, no drugs are consumed.

You are what you eat. Food affects your health, emotions and behaviour
Why this diet?

P 47-49 Jainism A way of life by Vinod kapasi

Why do Jains eat this diet?
Non Violence - All souls, living beings and plants are equal. Plants have feelings so no walking on the grass. This shows love and respect.


Why? How? How many types. Fasting has a tremendous Power. It helps because the foreign substances accumulated in the body start being thrown out of the body (detoxifying). P161 Jain view of life by Samani Bhavat Praghya

P20-21 Jainism religion of compassion and ecology by Pravin K. Shah on


Dependent on your deeds and action based on whether good or bad and on any fasting done.

P 64-68 Jainism way of life by Vinod Kapasi
Discuss with pupils why do we celebrate festivals? It helps remembering, paying respect and learning.
Important Jain festivals:
MAHAVIR JAYANTI – The birth of Lord Mahavira.

Why do we celebrate birthdays? - a general class discussion.

How do we celebrate Mahavir Jayanti? Celebrate 14 dreams VCD, people fast

What is the importance of his birthday?

The life of Lord Mahavira.

Compassionate Baghvan Mahavir vol 8-9 - Diwaker Chitra Katha story book.


Forgiveness / Kshamadan - Jaina VCD

Fasting / praying / reading Kalapsutra / reading scriptures/ idea of coming closer to soul, forgetting other distractions try to live a simple, purified life to elevate oneself. Some people fast for 8 days drinking boiled water only.

P42 -43 Jainism way of life by Vinod Kapasi.


Is related to soul’s natural qualities and helps bring the best in human being.

Ten Virtues worshipped during the festivals can be further discussed.

why its celebrated by Jains? A different reason to Hindus and Sikhs.

Celebration of the enlightenment of Lord Mahavira.

Mahaviras enlighted soul left us and so to remove darkness we light candles.


Charity is the act of giving away something to the poor and needy for the benefit of the giver and the receiver. A charitable person benefits because his attachment to wealth is removed or decreased, as he gives his wealth away for charitable purposes. The donor is freed from the fetters of attachment, as attachment to wealth is more harmful than wealth itself. A person can only cultivate and walk the path of righteousness by removing such bondages. Of course, the receiver of charity also benefits because he obtains what he is in desperate need of.


Jain spiritual teachers are Monks and Nuns. They get all of their food by donation of fellow Jain households.

How do they live their lives and why?
Compassion & Charity (JIVA DAYA)

It means caring for and sharing with all living beings and protecting them.

It is universal friendliness, forgiveness and fearlessness.
Different ways Jains help in charity showing animals and humans are treated equally.

  1. Bird Sanctuaries

  2. Cow homes

  3. Hospitals / lungs operation

  4. Education Schools

Questions to discuss with pupils:

Why should you look after, care and help for old, sick and poor people?

Why should you give your saved up money for different charities eg Hospitals, doing research for illness and finding the cure for them?

Why should you help feed and provide for Monks?

How do Monks pay back all they receive?

Why you treat animals, plants and human beings equally?

How pupils and their family of different religions contribute to different charities eg on T V Appeal for world Aid, Tsunami other religious appeals and Kashmir earthquake appeal.

Understand that some people have everything and others have nothing. When we waste so much food and other children in the world hardly get any food?

Share your experience of poverty you have seen in different countries while on holiday.



P 30-33 Jainism a way of life by Vinod Kapashi

Worship is a type of meditation (a Dharam dhyana).

The worship brings joy, peace, equanimity and love.
Jain also worship Gods (Yaksna) such as Manibhadra who is a protector of the Jain order. Another diety Ghantakaran who is believed to fulfils one’s wishes. Goddesses like Padamavati and Chakreshwari are also worshiped. (Yakshani)

Jain holy books contain the preaching of Tirthankaras called AGAMS.

Ref P24-25 Jainism a way of life by Vinod Kapasi
In Jainism, meditation does not merely include contemplation associated with Yoga . Here, meditation includes concentration or reflection on certain subjects.

  • Righteous and religious thoughts.

  • Spiritual meditation

Spiritual meditation is the highest state. This leads to liberation and the soul rests in eternal bliss.

Jain belief in reincarnation which means one can be born again in any form depending on our deeds (Karma). Aim of the life is to have good karma to break this cycle of Birth and death. Not being born again means you have reached the highest and purest stage. Jains say when you reach that stage, you have become God. Any soul through their hard work can become God where you have total bliss. To reach there you need to break all bondages which can be achieved through meditation.

Further details given in Finding your spiritual centre by Acharya Mahapragra p 368- 402



  • Chanting ARHAM sound repeatedly (pronounced URHUM) for 5 minutes to feel vibrations in body.

  • Postures

  • Light a candle and stare at naked flame. Then close eyes and keep imagining flame until its goes away to help concentration.


Involves using the body to help reach a higher state of spiritual consciousness.

Breathing exercises and Stretching exercises that can be done with class. REF

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