There are many branches that people can explore when it comes to religion. Two of the most popular religions in the world are Jainism and Buddhism. Though they share some similarities, they have their unique teachings as well. So what are the main teachings of Jainism and Buddhism? And what sets them apart? Let’s take a closer look at the teachings of Jainism and the teachings of Buddhism.
1. Jainism at a Glance
Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that preaches ahimsa or non-violence. Jains believe in the principle of karma that every action has a reaction that determines the course of one’s future. Jains also believe in reincarnation and liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
The main teachings of Jainism are to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. Therefore, Jains follow strict rules on food and lifestyle to avoid harming any living being, big or small. For example, they do not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products and avoid wearing woolen clothes. (See How many Gods are there in the World?)
2. Basics of Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion that originated in India. The fulcrum of Buddhist teachings is often described as the Four Noble Truths:
- Suffering exists.
- Suffering arises from attachment to impermanent things.
- Suffering can be stopped.
- There is a path to liberation from suffering.
This path, called the Noble Eightfold Path, includes wisdom, meditation, and ethical conduct.
The goal of Buddhism is generally characterized as nirvana which is the complete transcendence of suffering and the excising of desire and rebirth as found in the teachings of Buddhism. Although some forms of Buddhism emphasize different goals, such as a Bodhisattva which is good or doing good for merit and liberation from rebirth is common in all schools. Also, check out, Video Summary: Buddha and Ashoka: Crash Course World History #6.
3. Buddhism vs Jainism: Difference Between Jainism and Buddhism in Points
There are many similarities between the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism, including the belief in karma and reincarnation. However, there are also some differences between the two religions. Here are ten of the most notable examples:
- Buddhism teaches that everything is connected, while Jainism teaches that all living things have a soul.
- Buddhism teaches that the cycle of birth and death can be broken through enlightenment, while Jainism teaches that it is possible to achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
- Buddhism teaches that there is no self, while Jainism teaches that the soul exists and is eternal. (See Theory of Eternity of Life)
- Buddhism teaches that the world is a cause of all sufferings, while Jainism teaches that the world is full of joy.
- Buddhism teaches that desire leads to suffering, while Jainism teaches that desire is not necessarily bad.
- Buddhism teaches that attachment leads to suffering, while Jainism does not see attachment as inherently bad.
- Buddhism teaches that enlightenment is attained through meditation and wisdom, while Jainism teaches that enlightenment is attained through self-control and asceticism.
- Buddhism teaches that the goal of life is to achieve nirvana, while Jainism teaches that the goal of life is to achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
- Buddhism teaches that there is no creator or God, while Jainism teaches that a series of gods created the universe.
- The self is always changing and it’s not a constant. Also, check out the 15 most worshipped Gods in the World.
4. What are the Similarities Between Jainism and Buddhism?
There are similarities between the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism:
- Beliefs in karma,
- Reincarnation, and
- Importance of meditation and ethical living. Must read what does Islam say about astrology?
5. What are the Four Main Teachings of Jainism? 6 Important Teachings of Lord Mahavira
As we are on the topic of the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism, note the teachings of Jainism given below:
- Belief in Soul and Karma: Lord Mahavira believed in the existence of soul and karma. He taught that every living being has a soul, which is immortal and reincarnates after death. The quality of life depends on the good or bad deeds done in the previous life and is reflected in the form of karma.
- Nirvana: Nirvana is the state of complete freedom from all worldly desires and suffering. It is the ultimate goal that every individual should strive to achieve.
- Non-Belief in God: Lord Mahavira did not believe in the existence of any supreme being or God. He believed that every living being is responsible for its actions and destiny.
- Non-violence: One of the most important teachings of Lord Mahavira is ahimsa or non-violence. He preached that all living beings are equal and should be treated with compassion and kindness.
- Rejection of Vedas: Lord Mahavira rejected the authority of the Vedas, which were considered the holy scriptures at that time. He believed that they were full of inconsistencies and contradictions.
- Freedom to Women: Lord Mahavira greatly supported women’s rights and freedom. He believed women were equal to men and should be given the same opportunities. (See What are the 7 Laws of Attraction?)
These are just some important teachings of Lord Mahavira that can help you lead a better life. Also, check out what is the difference between grace and mercy in Christianity?
6. What are the 3 Main Beliefs of Buddhism?
- Dukkha: Suffering is an inherent part of existence.
- Anitya: Change is constant and inevitable.
- Anatma: The self is always changing and is not a constant entity. Must read what is Human existence In Philosophy?
7. What are the 4 Noble Truths?
- The truth of suffering: Life is full of suffering, pain, and hardship.
- The truth of the cause of suffering: The cause of suffering is attachment and craving.
- The truth of the end of suffering: There is an end to suffering, which is nirvana.
- The truth of the path leading to the end of suffering: The path leading to the end of suffering is The Noble Eightfold Path. (See Why is Philosophy important Today?)
8. Who is a Tirthankar? What is the True Meaning of Tirthankara in Jainism?
Besides the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism, there are also lessons and stories related to a Tirthankar. Tirthankara is a savior and spiritual teacher of the dharma, someone who helps preserve and promote Jain principles. According to Jainism, they are individuals who have attained the cycle of death and rebirth on their own. The word is formed from two words, teertha and samsara, meaning pilgrimage site and worldly life, respectively. (See 8 Quinceañera History Facts)
9. How Many Tirthankaras are there in Jainism?
There is a total of 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism. Each is believed to have enlightening teachings that can help us lead a better life. While they may not be alive physically, their spiritual presence still guides and inspires everyone. Here are some of the things that we can learn from them:
- The importance of living a life of truthfulness, non-violence, and compassion.
- Need to observe moderation in all our actions.
- Taking only what belongs to us and not coveting what others have.
- The virtue of forgiveness.
- The power of self-control.
Jainism and Buddhism are two of the world’s oldest religions. Though they have some similarities, they also have many distinct life lessons regarding the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism. We hope this article has given you a brief overview of these two religions and their beliefs. Are there any aspects of the teachings of Jainism and Buddhism that interest you? (Also read Legend of the Pretzel)