Hindu and Buddhist AsceticismAsceticism In Jainism
The founder of the religion of Jainism was, like the Buddha, a world renouncer. Unlike the Buddha, however, Mahavira (599–527 B.C.E.) embraced a program of extreme austerities to reach his religious goal. Having left the social world, Mahavira adopted the life of a naked wandering mendicant and for twelve years practiced the most severe of physical austerities until he reached perfection.
The life of Mahavira set the tone for the development of the Jain tradition. Jainism is perhaps the most ascetically oriented of all the world's religions. Most Jains are and have always been householders, but even householders are urged to live lives of self-restraint and especially nonviolence. Jain monks pursue lives of even greater austerities, following the five "great vows" (no killing living beings, truthfulness, no stealing, chastity, and renunciation of possessions) and, in some sects, not wearing any clothing. Jains seek ascetic heat in both its "external" and "internal" forms—the former entailing fasting, begging, and mortification of the body; the latter requiring penance, modesty, service to others, study, meditation, and nonattachment to the body. The epitome of asceticism is found in the Jain tradition of religious suicide by starvation.
- Asceticism - Hindu and Buddhist Asceticism - Conclusion
- Asceticism - Hindu and Buddhist Asceticism - Asceticism In Buddhism
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