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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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Jainism and Buddhism

Jainism and Buddhism

(p.130) 14 Jainism and Buddhism
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

Jainism and Buddhism emerged as the most potent religious reform movements. Post-Vedic society was clearly divided into brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras. Each varna was assigned well-defined functions. The Jainas believed that Vardhamana Mahavira had twenty-three predecessors who were called tirthankaras. Jainism taught to not commit violence, not tell a lie, not steal, not hoard and observe continence. Mahavira organized an order of his followers in order to spread the teachings of Jainism. He preached his teachings in Prakrit. Gautama Buddha was a contemporary of Mahavira. He undertook long journeys and carried his message far and wide. He recommended an eightfold path (ashtangika marga) for the elimination of human misery. The rules and teachings of Buddha took full account of the new changes in the material life of the time and strengthened them ideologically. Buddhism created and developed a new awareness in the field of intellect and culture.

Keywords:   Jainism, Buddhism, varna, Vardhamana Mahavira, Gautama Buddha, tirthankaras, eightfold path

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