Jainism and Buddhism – Ancient Indian History

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During the time of the Mahajanapadas, many new things came to existence. Two of the greatest things which originated were Jainism and Buddhism. These religions played a greater part in influencing the politics of the country those times.

Let us learn more about these 2 religions.

Jainism and Buddhism

Jainism and Buddhism

Jains follow their thoughts and history through a progression of twenty-four pioneers. They were known as Tirthankaras. The first among them was Rishabhanatha. The twenty-third Tirthankara was Parshvanatha who lived around 900 BCE.

The twenty-fourth Tirthankara was Mahāvīra who lived around 500 BCE. Jainism is unceasing dharma with the Tirthankaras managing each pattern of the Jain cosmology. Their religious writings are called Agamas and Paramagamas.

Buddhism includes an assortment of customs, convictions, and practices dependent on unique lessons. These lessons are credited to Buddha. It started in antiquated India as a Sramana custom. This may have been at some point between the sixth and fourth hundreds of years BCE.

From then it spread throughout Asia. Two major surviving parts of Buddhism are perceived by researchers: Theravada and Mahayana. This article will completely cover the two religions under the following subtopics:


  • Life of Mahavir
  • Beliefs
  • Principles
  • Art and Architecture


  • Life of Gautam Buddha
  • Principles
  • Art and Architecture


Life of Mahavir

Mahavir was born in 599 B.C. as a ruler in Bihar, India. At 30 years old, he left his family. He surrendered his attire and became a priest. In the next twelve years, he was in profound silence and contemplation to vanquish his wants and emotions.

He abandoned food for many years. He abstained from hurting or irritating other living creatures. His ways of meditation, days of austerities, and mode of behavior outfit a lovely model for priests and nuns in strict life. His interest went on for a long time.

Toward the end, he had an immaculate observation, information, force, and rapture. This acknowledgment is known as keval-jnana.

In the next thirty years, he went on barefoot around India lecturing the individuals on the everlasting truth he understood. He addressed the individuals from varying backgrounds, rich and poor, lords and ordinary citizens, people, rulers and ministers, touchable, and untouchables.

He composed his devotees into a four. They were priests (Sadhu), cloister adherent (Sadhvi), layman (Shravak), and laywoman (Shravika). Later on, they are known as Jains.


Jainism is transtheistic. It estimates that the universe advances without disregarding the law of substance dualism. But it advances auto-execution through the center ground between parallelism and interactionism.


Dravya implies substances or elements in Sanskrit. According to Jain philosophy, the universe is composed of six endless substances.

They are creatures or spirits (jīva), non-conscious substance or matter (pudgala), rule of movement (dharma), the guideline of rest (adharma), space (ākāśa) and time (kāla).


Tattva hints reality or truth in Jain philosophy and is the structure for salvation. As indicated by Digambara Jains, there are seven tattvas.

They are the conscious (jiva); the insentient (ajiva); the karmic inundation to the spirit (Āsrava); servitude of karmic particles to the spirit (Bandha); stoppage of karmic particles (Saṃvara); cleaning endlessly of past karmic particles (Nirjarā); and freedom (Moksha). Śvētāmbaras include two further tattvas.

They are good karma (Punya) and bad karma (Paap).

Soul and Karma

As per Jainism, the presence of “proliferate and regularly evolving soul” is a plainly obvious truth. It says that there are various spirits. But all of them have three characteristics (Guṇa): awareness (caitanya, the most significant), euphoria (sukha), and vibrational vitality (virya).


Jainism expresses that spirits start in an early stage state, and either advance to a higher state. Sometimes it may relapse depending upon their karma.

It further explains that abhavya (inadequate) spirits can never attain moksha (liberation). It clarifies that the abhavya state is entered after a purposeful and fiendish act.


Jainism is a transtheistic religion, holding that the universe was not made, and will exist forever. It is accepted to be autonomous, having no maker, representative, judge, or destroyer.

Jainism has said that in the realm of divine beings and damnation creatures they are born, die, and reborn like natural beings. Jain writings say that spirits who live cheerfully in the body of a divine being are due to their positive karma.


Mahavir lectured that right confidence (samyak-darshana), right information (samyak-jnana), and right direct (samyak-charitra) together will help to accomplish the freedom of one’s self.
Here are the five great principles that they follow.

  1. Nonviolence (Ahimsa) – not to cause harm to any living beings
  2. Truthfulness (Satya) – to speak the harmless truth only
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya) – not to take anything not properly given
  4. Chastity (Brahmacharya) – not to indulge in sensual pleasure
  5. Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha) – complete detachment from people, places, and material things.

Jains hold these principles at the center of their lives. The priests and nuns follow these principles carefully and absolutely. The normal sect attempts to follow these principles to the extent that their ways of life will allow.


Jains have been partitioned into two significant groups: Digambara and Svetambara. The division happened for the most part because of famine in Magadha. This constrained a gathering drove by Bhadrabahu to move South India.

During 12 years of famine, the gathering in South India adheres to the severe practices. The gathering in Magadha received a progressively careless disposition. They began wearing white garments.

After the finish of famine, the Southern gathering returned to Magadha. The changed practices prompted the division of Jainism into two factions.


  • Monks of this sect believe in complete nudity. Male monks do not wear clothes while female monks wear unstitched plain white sarees.
  • Follow all five vows (Satya, Ahimsa, Asteya, Aparigraha, and Brahmacharya).
  • Believe women cannot achieve liberation.
  • Bhadrabahu was an exponent of this sect.
  • Major Sub-Sects
  1. Mula Sangh
  2. Bisapantha
  3. Terapantha
  4. Taranpantha or Samaiyapantha
  • Minor Sub-Sets
  1. Gumanapantha
  2. Totapantha


  • Monks wear white clothes.
  • Follow only 4 vows (except brahmacharya).
  • Believe women can achieve liberation.
  • Sthulabhadra was an exponent of this sect.
  • Major Sub-Sects
  1. Murtipujaka
  2. Sthanakvasi
  3. Terapanthi

Jain Council

First Jain Council

  • Held at Patliputra in 3rd Century B.C. and was presided by Sthulbhadra.

Second Jain Council

  • Held at Vallabhi in 512 A.D. and was presided by Devardhi Kshmasramana.
  • Final Compilations of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.

prompted the division of Jainism into two factions.

Jain Literature/Texts

Jain literature is classified into two major categories:

Agam or Canonical Literature (Agam Sutras)

  • Agam literature consists of many texts, which are the sacred books of the Jain religion.
  • They are written in the Ardha-magadhi, a form of Prakrit language.

Non‑Agam Literature

  • Non-agam literature consists of commentary and explanation of Agam literature, and independent works, compiled by ascetics and scholars.
  • They are written in many languages such as Prakrit, Sanskrit, Apabhramsa, Old Marathi, Rajasthani, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannad, Tamil, German, and English.

Art and Architecture

The craftsmanship and design of the Jains have the principle goal to keep up, safeguard, and extol the way of life. Jain design particularly its sanctuary engineering is unique in India. The Jain sanctuaries in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan are widely acclaimed.

Jain sanctuaries at Ranakpur and Mount Abu in Rajasthan are among the most fabulous ones. Incredible stone cut design can likewise be found in the caverns of Mathura, Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa.

Various stone cut caverns have been found in Udayagiri and Khandagiri, twin slopes in Puri District of Orissa, and in Ellora in Maharashtra.

Most of the Jain sanctuaries in India comprise of three center structure components:

  • Image chamber Garbhagriha
  • Hall Mandapa
  • Porch

A fourth component alluded to as Antarala can likewise be seen lying between the picture chamber and its lobby. Antarala, a little vestibule is where admirers can stand and look at the symbol or follow customs directed inside the hallowed place.

The four most noted Jain temples are-

1. Dilwara Temple

Mount Abu in Rajasthan is known for the Dilwara temple devoted to Jain Tirthankars. These were worked under the support of Solanki rulers. It was worked in pure white marble and decorated with impeccable models.

2. Ranakpur Jain Temple

Ranakpur Jain temple, having a place in the fifteenth century is one of the most awe-inspiring engineerings of Jains. It is committed to Adinatha, first Jain Tirthankar. The sanctuary is structured as chaturmukha with four countenances and all the sculptures facing each other.


Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is one of the most significant Jain journey sites in India. It is visited by lakhs of devotees consistently. This is a dreamlike spot where two abnormal rugged piles of Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri are confronting each other on the two sides of the town.

At the pinnacle of Vindhyagiri, there is a 57 feet high, solid sculpture of Lord Gommateshwara, otherwise called Lord Bahubali, child of the first Tirthankara, Adinath in the convention.


Bawangaja is a celebrated Jain pilgrimage site in the Barwani region of Madhya Pradesh. It is known for the world’s biggest gigantic sculpture (carved out of a mountain) of Lord Adinatha, the principal Jain Tirthankara. The sculpture is 84 feet high. It was created in the twelfth century.


Life of Gautam Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha, was born into a royal family in what is currently Nepal, near the fringe with India. Growing up, the Buddha was insightful and empathetic. Tall, solid, and attractive, the Buddha had a place with the Warrior standing.

It was anticipated that he would turn out to be either an extraordinary ruler or a profound pioneer. His folks needed an incredible ruler for their realm, they attempted to forestall Siddharta from seeing the unsuitable idea of the world.

They encompassed him with each sort of joy. He was given 500 alluring women and each open door for sports and fervor. He totally aced the significant battle preparing, in any event, winning his better half, Yasodhara, in a bows and arrows challenge.

Unexpectedly, at age 29, he was disturbed to understand that mature age, ailment and demise would come to everybody he cherished.

The following morning the ruler strolled past a meditator who sat in profound meditation. At the point when their eyes met and their psyches connected. Siddhartha halted, entranced.

Instantly, he understood that the flawlessness he had been looking for outside must be inside the brain itself. Meeting that man gave the future Buddha a first and alluring taste of the brain, a valid and enduring shelter. Thus, this is how Siddhartha Gautama became Gautama Buddha.


Buddhists accept that the Buddha saw reality with regard to what the world resembles. They accept that nothing on the planet is great and that the Buddha found the response to why it is this way. They don’t accept that the Buddha was a divine being.

He was an individual simply like them. They accept that he was signed on the grounds that he picked up Enlightenment. One significant conviction includes rebirth: the idea that one must experience numerous patterns of birth, living, and passing.

After numerous such cycles, if an individual discharges their connection to want and oneself, they can accomplish Nirvana. It is a condition of freedom and opportunity from affliction.

The Three Jewels

There are three Buddhist central beliefs or three jewels as they are very precious.

  • Belief in Buddha
  • Dharma – The teaching of Buddha
  • The Sangha- the Buddhist people group of monks and nuns. The design is to help other people and by doing this proceed onwards the path towards illumination.

At the core of the Buddha’s instructions lie The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path which lead the Buddhist towards the path of Enlightenment.

The Four Noble Truths

1. Dukkha: Suffering exists: The main truth is that life is enduring for example life incorporates torment, getting old, malady, and at last demise. We likewise persevere through mental enduring like depression, dissatisfaction, fatigue, dread, humiliation, frustration, and outrage.

2. Samudaya: There is a cause for suffering: The subsequent truth is that enduring is brought about by longing for and the expecting to control things.

It can take numerous structures: the longing for popularity; the craving to maintain a strategic distance from unsavory sensations, similar to dread, outrage, or desire.

3. Nirodha: There is an end to suffering: The third truth is that enduring can be survived and satisfaction can be achieved; that genuine bliss and happiness are conceivable.

We can figure out how to let go of our hankering lives every day at your fullest. We at that point have additional time and vitality to help other people. This is Nirvana.

4. Magga: In order to end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path: The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path that leads to the end of suffering.

The Eightfold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path concentrates the brain on being completely mindful of our considerations and activities and creating shrewdness by understanding the Four Noble Truths. It is the manner in which Buddhists should carry on with their lives.

Three QualitiesEightfold Path
Wisdom (panna)Right View (understanding)
 Right Thought
Morality (sila)The Right Speech
 Right Action
 Right Livelihood
Meditation (samadhi)The Right Effort
 Right Mindfulness
 Right Contemplation (concentration)

Art and Architecture

The Barabar Caves

In India, caves have for quite some time been viewed as consecrated spaces. In Buddhism, they were man-made for use as sanctuaries and religious communities by Buddhist priests and monks.

The Barabar in Bihar was built in the third century BCE during the Mauryan time frame. This is regarded as the most seasoned instance of Buddhist stone cut design. Credited to Emperor Ashoka, these caves consist of two rooms cut out of the rock.

The Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta caves are in Maharashtra. They are a gathering of 30 stone cut Buddhist sanctuaries that span for six centuries. They are cut into the vertical side of a chasm situated in the slopes of the Sahyadri mountains.

The Ajanta caves are viewed as show-stoppers of Buddhist design. They contain living and resting quarters, kitchens, ascetic spaces, places of worship, and stupas.

Made of block or uncovered from stone, the homes of priests are called viharas. The cave places of worship utilized for veneration are called chaitya grihas.

The Ellora Caves

The Ellora caves were constructed between the fifth and tenth centuries. These caves are composed of twelve Buddhist, seventeen Hindu, and five Jain stone cut sanctuaries, exhumed out of the Charanandri slopes.

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa is a Buddhist structure, renowned for its Great Stupa, on a peak at Sanchi Town. This town is in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is situated 46 kilometers north-east of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh.

The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the most established stone structures in India. It is a significant landmark of Indian Architecture. It was initially authorized by Emperor Ashoka in the third century BCE.

How is Jainism different from Buddhism?

  • Jainism recognized the existence of god while Buddhism did not.
  • Jainism does not condemn the varna system while Buddhism does.
  • Buddhism prescribes a middle path while Jainism advocates its followers to live the life of complete austerity.
  • Jainism believed in the transmigration of soul i.e. reincarnation while Buddhism does not.


Like other social establishments, religion additionally emerged from the scholarly intensity of man because of certain felt needs of men. The vast majority think about religion as all-inclusive. Hence, a huge organization of social orders is formed.

It is the establishment on which the regulating structure of society stands. Religion played a very important part of ancient India. But these two religions never played a political influence those days.

These were just two religions that show men how to attain enlightenment. Thus helping to lead a peaceful life.

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