Beginning in 2007, the United Nations declared that the International Day of Non-Violence would take place on 2nd October. This annual event highlights the the principle of non-violence and the worldwide desire for peace, and is held on the birthday of Mohandas Gandhi. It is often known as Ahimsa Day because the Jain concept of ahiṃsā influenced Gandhi's non-violent approach to gaining Indian independence. Since 2002 Jains in the UK have marked Ahimsa Day.
Second Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the elephant. There is no historical evidence of his existence.
The ‘absence of soul’ in non-living things. There are five types of ajīva:
The last is not always counted. Together with jīva or 'substance with soul', ajīva forms the universe.
A disciple of Mahāvīra and a member of his ganadhara, he came from a brahmin family.
Space – one of the five non-material substances that is non-sentient in Jain belief. These five substances make up the universe along with the sentient substance, called jīvastikaya.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, third Mughal Emperor of India from 1556 to 1605. Akbar's long reign is often thought of as beginning the peak of the Mughal Empire, as it grew and became rich and powerful, witnessing a cultural and intellectual flowering, and degrees of religious tolerance.
The 'Immortal Third', an annual Jain festival celebrating the first alms-giving to the first Jina, Ṛṣabha. It takes place on the third day of the bright half of Vaiśākha - April / May. The 'immortality' refers to the immense merit - puṇya - from the first act of giving alms - dāna - in the current era. This is the day when people who have observed a year-long fast - varsitap - break it, in imitation of Ṛṣabha's fast ending.
Sultan of Delhi from 1296 to 1316 and second ruler of the Khalji dynasty.
German-born theoretical physicist (1879–1955), who is best known for his general theory of relativity and the formula E = mc2. His work transformed traditional physics and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921.
Muslim term for God or Supreme Being, from the Arabic allāh.
Food, money, medicine, clothing or anything else given to another person as a religious or charitable act. Asking for and giving alms is a significant part of Jainism, as it forms a daily point of contact between lay people and mendicants. Seeking, donating and receiving alms are highly ritualised ceremonies in the Jain tradition, and spiritual purity is essential for both giver and recipient. Giving alms is a way for lay Jains to gain merit – puṇya.
Ritualized confession or introspection performed by monks and laypeople at regular intervals, such as daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, yearly.
To Jains the universe is composed of two types of space. Outside world space – loka-ākāśa – a vast but limited area, where the souls move through the cycle of birth is aloka-ākāśa. This is Non-World Space, which is endless and totally uninhabited.
The prohibition on killing animals for any purpose. This is in line with the Jain principle of ahiṃsā or non-violence, which is a key tenet of the faith.
The yakṣī or female attendant deity of Nemi, the 22nd Jina. Along with some other yakṣis, she has become an independent figure over the centuries and is worshipped in her own right. Connected with motherhood, fertility and children, Ambikā or Kūṣmāṇḍinī is particularly popular among Jains in Gujarat and is the protective spirit of Girnār and Shravana Belgola, among other places.
'Homeless' in both Prākrit and Sanskrit is a term used for monks and nuns who live on alms.
The 14th Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the falcon to Śvetāmbaras and the bear to Digambaras. There is no historical evidence of his existence.
To limit meaningless activity, including fidgeting. This is one of the three guṇavrata vows taken by lay Jains.
Fasting or fasting until death, a practice of Jain monks and lay Jains to remove all passions.
The doctrine of 'truth from many viewpoints', which is typical of Jainism. It means that the same reality can be seen from various angles and that reality cannot be understood from a single viewpoint.