Geography of Religion Wk 5

The Birth of Jainism and Buddhism

  • 600 BC Vardhamana born in a small town north of the Ganges
  • Reached spiritual enlightenment, became a holy man, and walked barefoot through Northeast and Central India teaching his beleifs
  • Given the name Mahavira “great hero”
  • Taught: self-discipline, meditation, vegetarianism, renunciation of worldly goods, and nonviolence
  • Became a religion called Jainism. Practiced by Jains who believe that Mahavira was the 24th in a line of tirthankaras who form the bridge between our world and spiritual enlightenment
  • No supreme deity but many tirthankaras and spiritual deities and the mother goddess Ambika
  •  A hundred years after Mahavira, Siddhartha Gautama left his home as well to seek spiritual enlightenment
  • After years of meditation, he achieved spiritual enlightenment and basically did the same thing as Mahavira
  • His teachings gave rise to the new religion of Buddhism (discussed in the next chapter)

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