What Jainism teaches us

I’m not bound to any religion, but I like reading about them. I came across a religion, perhaps the oldest in the world. It’s called Jainism. The reason why I was drawn to researching about it was because of its foundation teaching of non-violence or Ahimsa, as it’s known in Sanskrit. A concept that was absorbed by Mahatma Gandhi back in the day.

According to scholars, Jainism used to be widespread across Asia, now its slowly fading, mainly because of the dominance of other faiths in the region. But how is religion kept alive? Well, by recruiting agents and forcing people to convert to their religion thereby slowly eliminating the competition, but, as non-violence was the way of the Jains, they never picked up arms in the name of religion and they never forced anyone to follow their path. This explains why there are so few Jains left on the planet, yet the basic values of this faith live on and will continue to as long as our species holds compassion, kindness, altruism and, of course, non-violence in high regard. The moment we lose our basic truths is the moment we lose the right to be called human.

The demise of the Jain community, religious violence (how on earth did violence ever get with religion in the first place?!) and the fact that there are many paths to one goal teaches us that we can believe in whatever we like, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. Being religious is not compulsory. We can do what we wish, as long as it brings light into our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s not a competition. Be humble and kind, but never throw your opinions on others or force them to believe in what you believe.

What kind of world would this be if all the religions taught and lived by this? Well, I reckon the idea of organised religion would disappear. In its place there’d be seven billion beautifully diverse religions, no, not religions, let’s call them ways of life, and each one would be a testament to the potential of the human spirit. No competitions, no forced converting, no marketing, just life and the acceptance of others!

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