Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Jaina Mean?

Jaina refers to someone who is an adherent of Jainism, a system of Indian philosophy. The term is Sanskrit for “overcomer.”

Like Hinduism and Buddhism, Jainism is a yogic tradition. All three believe in the idea of liberation from the life-death cycle, albeit in different ways. In the Jain tradition, yoga and meditation are a means to spiritual development and ultimately spiritual liberation.


Yogapedia Explains Jaina

Jainism is a school of thought based on Vardhamana Mahavira and his followers. An older contemporary of the Buddha, Mahavira is credited with discovering a path to liberation from suffering and spiritual ignorance that today is referred to as Jaina yoga.

According to this tradition, matter, known as karma, attaches to the soul (jiva) of a person when they experience negative thoughts and/or emotions. Liberation takes place when those thoughts and emotions are cleared, allowing the purified soul to be free through all dimensions of existence. It is through yoga, and specifically yogic meditation, that the thoughts and emotions are purified.

Practitioners of Jaina yoga believe non-violence and self-control are the key means to liberation. They observe five major vows: not harming living beings, chastity, not lying, not stealing, and non-attachment.

For Jaina thinkers, yoga denotes the vibrations of the soul resulting from physical (kaya-yoga), mental (mano-yoga) or vocal (vacana-yoga) activities.

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