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Jainism

Origin, Canonical Texts, Doctrine, Contemporary Jainism, Bibliography

Famous for its promotion of nonviolence and often paired with Buddhism as one of ancient India's two greatest dissenting religions, Jainism is currently professed by roughly 0.4 percent of the population of India. Its adherents are prominent in business, and some of modern India's wealthiest and most powerful families are Jains. Jain communities are divided between a majority of lay men and women and a much smaller mendicant elite of peripatetic monks and nuns. The mendicants are a source of teaching and blessings for the laity, who in turn supply them with food and other forms of support. A disagreement over monastic discipline underlies the division between Jainism's two main sects: the Shvetambaras (white-clad), whose monks and nuns wear white garments, and the Digambaras (space-clad), whose monks wear no clothing.

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