Jainism, traditionally known as
Jain Dharma (जैन धर्म), is one of the oldest
religions in the world. It is a
philosophy originating in
ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the
24 Jinas (conquerors) who are also known as
Tirthankars. The 24th Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira lived in ca.
6th century BC. One of the main characteristics of
Jain belief is the emphasis on the immediate consequences of
Jains are a small but influential religious minority with at
least 4.2 million practitioners in modern India
 and more in growing immigrant communities
in the United States,
Western Europe, Africa, the Far East and elsewhere. Jains continue
to sustain the ancient Shraman (श्रमण) or ascetic tradition.
Jains have significantly influenced the religious,
and economic spheres in India for over two millennia.
spiritual independence and
equality of all life with particular emphasis on
Self-control (व्रत, vratae) is vital for
attaining omniscience (kevala jnana) and eventually
moksha, or realization of the
soul's true nature.
Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship. The
Jain community is the most literate religious
community in India,
 and the Jain libraries are India's
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