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Jain (Skt. Jaina; Tib རྒྱལ་བ་པ་, gyalwapa, Wyl. rgyal ba pa) or Nigrantha (Skt.; Tib. གཅེར་བུ་པ་, cherbupa, Wyl. gcer bu pa, Eng. 'the naked ones') — a non-Buddhist school of ancient India which developed before Buddhism, during the first millennia BCE. The twenty-third leader, or tirthankara, named Mahāvīra was a contemporary of Buddha Shakyamuni.

The Jains, or Nigranthas, are followers of Rishabba Jina (Skt. Ṛshabha Jina). They assert that all objects of knowledge are included in nine categories:

  1. Life
  2. Contamination (Tib. ཟག་པ་, zag pa)
  3. Restraint
  4. Wearing down
  5. Bond
  6. Action (karma)
  7. Sin
  8. Merit
  9. Liberation

Liberation, they say, is attained through asceticism, such as going naked, not speaking, the five fires (in the four directions and the sun above), and so on, until past karma is exhausted. With no new karma created, one is reborn at the top of the world, in a white realm, shaped like an upside down umbrella.

Further Reading

  • Philippe Cornu, Manuel de bouddhisme — Philosophie, pratique et histoire. Tome I, Bouddhisme ancien et Theravāda (Editions Rangdröl, 2019), pages 128-129.

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