Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: John E. Cort, Denison University, Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh, Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, Kristi L. Wiley, University of California, Berkeley

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism Online makes available up-to-date research on main aspects of the Jain traditions in original essays written by some of the world’s foremost scholars on Jainism. The encyclopedia is thematic and seeks to present a balanced and impartial view of Jainism with a focus on both historical and contemporary traditions and institutions. The articles address topics such as the human condition, pantheons, historical perspectives, regional cultures, renunciation, lay society, ritual, devotion, visual and material culture, time and space, literature, and philosophy and logic.

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Saṃsāra and Karman in the Early Context

(2,792 words)

Author(s): Bronkhorst, Johannes
It is beyond doubt that Jainism incorporated a belief in rebirth and karmic retribution from the beginning. What is more, it seems safe to claim that Jainism, right from the beginning, presented itself as a way to escape from the cycle of rebirths ( saṃsāra) and karmic retribution. Judging by the practices that we find prescribed already in our earliest sources, karmic retribution and the proposed liberation ( mokṣa) from it were envisaged in the following manner.Jainism’s path to liberation culminates in the total immobilization of body and mind. Indeed, this final imm…
Date: 2019-04-15


(13,775 words)

Author(s): Owen, Lisa N.
For Śvetāmbara Murtīpūjaka (“Image-Worshipping”) Jains, sculptures of Jinas (the 24 omniscient and liberated teachers of this world age) are at the center of devotional practice. Images are created from a variety of materials – with stone and metal being the most common – and they are found in diverse contexts, including temples, monastic residences, and domestic shrines. While the body of the Jina is based on the human frame – with one head, two arms, and two legs – there is little to suggest c…
Date: 2019-04-15