Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online

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(4,043 words)

Jainism is the name of a South Asian religious tradition that follows the teachings of the Jinas (“Conquerors”). The Jinas are thought to have been human persons who conquered their passions, hence their title, and “Jain” literally means follower of the Jinas. Five auspicious events (kalyāṇakas: conception, birth, world renunciation, omniscience, and final liberation) mark the sacred biographies of all Jinas. Having freed themselves of karman associated with passions and knowledge through asceticism and equanimity, they attained the fourth kalyāṇaka, supreme knowledge or om…

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Jacobsen, Knut A., “Introduction”, in: Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online, Denison University University of Edinburgh University of Bergen University of California, Berkeley John E. Cort, Paul Dundas, Knut A. Jacobsen, Kristi L. Wiley. Consulted online on 29 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2020

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