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189. The Intricate Dance of Morality and Existence: A Glimpse into Jainism

Introduction


Delving into the depths of William Search's captivating books, "Why" and "Conversations with chatGPT: Exploring the Theory of Morality and Existence," one cannot help but be drawn to the profound idea that the very essence of human existence is rooted in morality. This blog post, inspired by these enlightening works, takes a closer look at Jainism, an ancient Indian religion, and philosophy that places morality at the forefront of its beliefs and practices.


The Enigmatic Origins of Jainism


Jainism emerged around the 6th century BCE, coinciding with the time of Vardhamana, also known as Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara. Dissenting from the orthodox Vedic rituals that dominated the era, Jainism emphasized the triumph over passions and bodily senses, ultimately seeking the purity of soul.


A Battle Within: The Struggle for Purity and Omniscience


The term "Jainism" originates from the Sanskrit word "Ji," which means "to conquer." The struggle for moral and spiritual conquest is central to the Jain belief system, as practitioners strive to achieve omniscience and purity of soul. The title of Jina, or Conqueror, is bestowed upon those who attain this elevated state.


The Cornerstones of Jain Ethics: Ratnatraya


In Jainism, the Ratnatraya, or the three jewels, form the foundation of ethical conduct. These jewels are right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct, which must be cultivated in harmony. Right faith, characterized by serenity and detachment, is the precursor to the attainment of spiritual perfection. However, faith alone is insufficient – right conduct, rooted in right knowledge, is imperative.


The Nuances of Right Conduct


Jainism prescribes two distinct paths for its followers: one for ascetics and one for the laity. Both paths prioritize the doctrine of Ahimsa, or nonviolence, which extends to thought, speech, and action. This emphasis on nonviolence serves as a guiding principle for the development of a strong moral compass.


Conclusion: The Interplay of Morality and Existence in Jainism


As we explore the rich tapestry of Jain beliefs, the intricate connection between morality and existence becomes increasingly evident. By focusing on the cultivation of right knowledge, faith, and conduct, Jainism encourages its practitioners to refine their moral compass, ultimately leading to the attainment of spiritual perfection. This fascinating glimpse into Jainism lends credence to the central theme of William Search's works – that the very purpose of human existence is anchored in the pursuit of morality.




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