Jainism and Buddhism

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Tabitha Parsons REL 2300-70c Fall 2013 Rountree Theravada Buddhism and Jainism Jainism and Theravada Buddhism share many things in common, including their origins in India. In fact, it is not uncommon for Jainism to be referenced in Buddhist literature or stories. Despite commonalities, there are also many differences that make these two faiths very distinct. The similarities and differences of these two systems are in areas such as their belief in God, nonviolence, the soul, and the role of woman. The Buddha and Mahavira, the founders, both taught different sets of beliefs, and offered followers assistance on how to end the negative feelings that cause humans to suffer. Both Jainism and Theravada Buddhism hold many similarities and differences; yet, they have a very important place in history and are extremely important to humanity for their beliefs and teachings. Jainism originated in India during the sixth century BCE. The faith is named after the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation. Jainism looks to a series of founding figures, Tirthankaras, the twenty-four spiritual leaders called ford-makers or river crossers. Nataputta Vardhamana, also known as Mahavira (“great hero”), was the last and possibly the most popular of the Tirthankaras. Mahavira encourages four principles: truth, nonviolence, non-possession, and not to receive anything that was not voluntarily given. He asserted that man can obtain freedom from the cycle of birth and death by following the principles of right belief, right knowledge, and right action. 1 In and around the same time, Theravada Buddhism, meaning the way of the elders, was founded by Siddhartha Gautama who came to be the Buddha once he established enlightenment. Buddhists have no beliefs in the Tirthankaras; there is only one prophet, the Buddha himself. The Buddha said that by following his teachings,

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