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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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