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Amanda Raymond

Comparative religion

The purpose of this report is to relate the similarities and differences between

Jainism and Taoism. East India reveals the faith of Jainism whereas China holds the

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secrets to Taoism. Even though these two religions are in different countries, could

there be similarities among their practices?

The history of these two religions both started around the same period. Jainism

began around 550 B.C. whereas Taoism started its roots around 575 B.C. Both of these

religions have a person or mythical character they considered the founder of the religion.

Taoism’ founder was Lao-Tse. He was constantly searching for a way that would avoid

the constant feudal warfare and other conflicts. In the religion of Jainism, there is a mild

difference in what they considered the founder. The religion consists of 4 Jinas, who

overcome or conqueror life. They are the teachers who have the highest knowledge and

lead the souls across the river of rebirths.

Those who follow Jainism believe that there is a God; however, this God was not

the creator. There is neither a beginning nor an end to this world. They feel that every

soul is potentially divine and can reach its true goal by following the practices of

purification and discipline lay down by the Tirthankaras. Everyone is bound within the

universe by one’s karma that is the accumulated good and evil that one has done.

In comparison, Taoism also holds the belief that there is no God to hear prayers.

Actually, the Dao is viewed as many gods that have manifested to become one. The

Dao is not something that can be represented as an image or a particular thing. In the

eyes of Jains, the concept of a personified deity and the creation of the universe are

unthinkable. They, like those who follow Jainism, seek answers to life’s problems

through inner observation.

Both religions contain scriptures that are followed by the members. Taoism

has the Chuang-tze. Jainism is divided into two chief sections The Digambaras, who

believe the monk should live in a state of complete nudity and the Svetambaras who

believe monks should wear robes. Therefore, there are two sets of scriptures and Jains

read their scriptures on a daily basis.

Each religion has a set of values that have to adhere to. Let I first speak of

the values for Jainism. At the heart of the Jain way are the Great Vows, known as

Mahavratas, which are taken by the ascetics. Those are the following nonviolence

(ahimsa), speaking the truth (satya), abstaining from sexual activity (brahmacharya),

not taking anything that is not given (asteya), and detachment from persons, places, and

things (aparigraha). For Taoism, the values are referred to as The Three Jewels. Those

are the following Compassion, moderation, and humility.

Reincarnation plays a major role in the Jainism. It is believed that when the soul

indulges in perverse tendencies like attachment, aversion, anger, deception, greed, and

lust subtle atoms of Karma flow into their soul. The Karmas then imprison the soul and

one must be reincarnated in order to attempt life once again. When a Jain frees his or

her soul from all eight Karmas, they escaped the circle of rebirth and death.

Although Taoism does not believe in reincarnation, they do believe one must

live an honest and pure life in a balanced manner. This is represented by the sign of

the Yin and Yang. The Yin is the breath that formed the earth and the Yang is the

breath that formed the heavens. In order for a person to prolong their life the Yin

and Yang must remain in balance. They strongly believe that intervention by human

civilization upsets the balances of Yin and Yang.

To conclude, the two religions have some similarities concerning the

importance of living a pure life. They both believe that one should treat others as

they desire to be treated and this is necessary in order to proceed on after death. However,

the Jainism believe that if one does not accomplish the values set forth that they will

be reincarnated at a different level.

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