Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Jina Mean?

Jina is a Sanskrit term used in Jainism to mean “a liberated great teacher.” It can be translated as “spiritual victor.”

A Jina is not a divine being or an avatar of a god, but an enlightened human being, who has attained a state of transcendent bliss and omniscience through self discipline. They share the unchanging principles that underpin Jainism and teach others the path to liberation.

The term “Jina” is sometimes used interchangeably with “Tirthamkara,” which is Sanskrit for 'ford-maker'. It therefore means the person who builds a ford across the river of rebirth.


Yogapedia Explains Jina

Jinas teach the Jain belief that spiritual progress and development is the responsibility of each soul.

Views on the Jinas vary between the two main sects of Jainism: Digambara and Svetambara. This includes differences in whether Jinas can be either gender or only male, and whether they need to live the life of an ascetic or not.

Towards the end of their lives, Jinas practice dhyana, or specific meditations, which end the activity of their physical body. Their souls are then emancipated from the cycle of rebirth and can rise to a state of eternal bliss. It is said that the Jina's soul will still remain separated from the other liberated souls.

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