Definition of Jaines
Jainas, sects of Hindus scattered up and down India, allied to the
Buddhists, though ecclesiastically in open antagonism to them; they
reject the Veda of the Brahmans, and oppose to it another of their own,
as also their caste and their sacerdotalism, though they observe the
rules of caste among themselves; like the Buddhists, they are divided
into an ascetic class and a lay, but monasticism is not developed to the
same degree among them. There are two principal sects, "the white-gowns"
and "the air-clad," i. e. naked, though it is only at meals, which they
eat in common, that the latter strip naked; "Not only do they abstain
from animal food, but they drink only filtered water, breathe only
through a veil, and go sweeping the ground before them for fear of
swallowing or crushing any smallest animalcule." In religion they are
atheists, and admit of no Creator or of any perfection of being at the
beginning, only at the end. They distinguish between soul and body, and
regard the former as eternal; evil is not in mere existence, but in life,
and their Nirvâna is a blessedness without break or end. We know little
or nothing of the history of these sects; with them conduct is
everything; their origin is of later date than that of the Buddhists. See Barth's
"Religions of India," translated by the Editor.
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