Who is a Jain? Most people have not heard of Jainism and those who practice this religion—or what their beliefs are. There are many myths and doubts associated with it, such as do the practitioners wear masks? In order to bust those doubts, here are things you may not know about Jainism but are important to understand.
It is believed Jainism, an ancient Indian religion that follows the core principal of non-violence towards all living beings, stems from Buddhism—which in turn stems from Hinduism.
Jainism is focused on liberating the soul—and that the body and the soul are separate from each other. They also believe that religious equality is crucial and applies to women; however, some are divided on how women can achieve equality. For example, some believe that a woman must first be born as a man and then as a woman to experience spiritual equality.
Fasting is a common practice in Jainism, and it is often performed by women. There are four types of fasting: Rasa Parityaga (giving up favorite foods), Vruti Sankshepa (reducing the number of food items you eat), partial fasting, and complete fasting—all of which require Jains to enter the mentality of self-discipline to control their hunger.
There are certain foods Jains don’t eat for religious reasons, such as potatoes, onions, garlic, or any foods that grow underground. They will also not eat meat or fish because of the non-violence principle of the religion, which is referred to as ahimsa. Unfiltered water, food that is decaying, and fermented foods are also forbidden. For a complete list of food restriction in Jainism, click here.
5. Daily Practices
Jains will wear masks and will take great pain to ensure they do not harm or kill any living animal including insects. They will take five vows, which are integral parts of the religion: nonviolence, truthfulness, no stealing, celibacy, and not to be possessive. Their daily prayers can be done at home or in wooden temples, and largely focus on chanting mantras.