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Canonical Texts

Although their soteriological beliefs are basically the same, the Shvetambaras and Digambaras possess separate bodies of scripture. All Jains believe that their most ancient scriptures, known as the Purvas, have been lost, and that existing texts represent only a remnant of Mahavira's actual teachings. The Shvetambara canon, usually said to consist of forty-five texts, probably assumed its present form in the fifth century C.E. Its most important texts are the twelve Angas (or limbs, one of which has been lost) and twelve Upangas (subsidiary limbs); they deal with a vast range of subjects, including doctrine, monastic discipline, duties of the laity, cosmography, and much else. The Digambaras reject the Shvetambara canon as inauthentic. Their most important texts, each containing material on the soul and the nature of its bondage, are two: the Shatkhandagam (Scripture in Six Parts), dating from the second century C.E., and a slightly later work entitled Kasayaprabhata (Treatise on the Passions).

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Intuitionist logic to KabbalahJainism - Origin, Canonical Texts, Doctrine, Contemporary Jainism, Bibliography