View Full Version : Eastern Teacher of the Week: Mahavir, Founder of Jainism

April 1st, 2007, 12:42 AM
Hello all. OK so in order to get this thread going again, Inspired by Agaliha's God of the Week... Im going to start posting bios of important teachers from India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan... generally all areas we would attribute as 'the East'.

This weeks personality is Mahavir, the 24th Tithankara, and founder of the modern religion of Jainism.


Mahavira (वर्धमान महावीर lit. Great Hero) (599-527 BC, though possibly 549-477 BC) was a historical figure who established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara, or totally enlightened human being. He is also known in texts as Vira or Viraprabhu, Vardhamana (increasing), Sanmati, Ativira, and Gnatputra. In the Theravada Buddhist scriptures he is referred to as the Niggantha Nathaputta - 'the naked ascetic of the Jñātr clan.'

Found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavir

One of the more interesting traits of mahavira and his philosophy is strictness to ahimsa, so much so that his adherants today wear masks so as not to breathe in insects, and hold hair brushes so as to sweep away creates and insects when they sit down. There is also a whole other sect who are completly naked and their philosophy and observance is that the fundamental creation of clothing is harmful needlessly to plants and animals.

He is also one of the contemporaries of the Buddha, and Siddartha himself once started out his training by adhering to Jain principles. However, the Buddha disagreed with a few of the ideas of Jainism which prompted his own sitting meditation which lead to his Nirvana.

More info here: http://san.beck.org/GPJ3-Mahavira,Buddha.html