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Jainist Ethics

Jainism is an ancient religion that originated in India. Jains are still primarily concentrated in India, numbering an estimated 5 to 8 million, but they also live in other parts of Asia, as well as in East Africa, Europe, and North America. Jains believe that their religion is eternal, although the conventional historical record dates its origins to the 5th or 6th century BCE. There are two main sects of Jainism, the Digambara and the Shvetambara, each having subsects. Digambara means “sky-clad,” and its male ascetics renounce all clothing. Shvetambara means “white-clad,” and its male and female ascetics wear white robes, which are a sign of purity. The ascetics are mendicants and supported by the Jain laity. Jains tend to be born into a subsect, ...

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