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(916 words)

Author(s): Bruhn, Klaus
Jainism, like Buddhism, is an anti-Brahmanic Indian religion that stresses salvation but is without an ultimate personal God and without an impersonal universal soul (Hinduism; Mysticism). Its founder, Vardhamāna, known as Mahāvı̄ra (i.e., Great Hero), was an itinerant teacher in Bihar (northern India) contemporaneous with the Buddha (d. ca. 400 b.c.). Vardhamāna is presumed to have been the successor of Pārśvanātha, or Pārśva, although nothing is known about the latter’s life; he allegedly died 250 years before Mahāvı̄ra. Jainism is a monastic religion with s…