Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Jains (The Library of Religious Beliefs and Practices) 2nd Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The Jains, a small religious group believing in an immortal soul, are indigenous to India, and affirm many of the ideas of their Hindu counterparts, but are critical of other Hindu doctrines. Jains do not have a traditional place for "God" or "Gods", but do for the omniscient Fordmakers. Dundas work in portraying the Jains will have lasting value.
Paul Dundas’ book on Jainism, The Jains, is indeed an impressive tome, detailing the differences between the two major sects, the Svetambara and the Digambara, and highlighting key Jain doctrines. Moreover, the author extends great effort clarifying the role of the ascetic and of the layperson, and walking the reader through the rich history of the Jain tradition, from the Fordmakers to the medieval period to recent times. In the introduction to the text, Dundas asserts his goal to “alert students of world religions to the richness of Jain history and to present it as far as possible in terms of the experience of those Jains, past and present, ascetic and lay, who have participated within it.” His phenomenological and social-historical approach gives the reader a sense of a Jain world view, albeit analyzed from a scholarly perspective.
“Universal History,” as Dundas calls it, is the Jain’s version of the history of the world, and so all events, historical or religious, are reinterpreted in light of this. For instance, many Jains view the Hindu Vedic writings as really written by a Bharata, “the first Jain universal emperor of this world era” and Rama and Krishna of Hindu lore as Jain laymen. Even the Hindu goddess of wisdom, Sarasvati, is revered as a Jain. While there is an attempt in Jainism to incorporate Hindu themes and figures, there is also an animosity for Vedic sacrifice and the lack of commitment by numerous Hindus to follow the message of ahimsa.
Ahimsa, states Dundas, is the main distinctive feature that sets Jainism apart from other Indian traditions.Read more ›