Who is Mahāvīra and what role does he play within the Jain tradition? Mahāvīra was the last of the 24 tīrthankaras. He was born Vardhamāna and his title Mahāvīra means great hero. According to Oxtoby after Mahāvīra achieves enlightenment “he comes to be called the Jain”. Mahāvīra underwent the five ‘auspicous’ events in his life that all jinas go through. He is accredited with establishing or reorganizing the Jain community. Name the two primary sects of Jainism and list differences between them. The two main sects of Jainism are the Svetāmbaras (‘white clad’ monks) and the Digambaras (‘sky clad monks’). The Digambaras who travel south came to the conclusion that a monk could not be a true ‘renouncer’ unless they gave up everything including clothes. The Svetāmbaras in the north wore white robes. They disagree over details of Mahāvīra’s life, the practice for the ascetic, the attainment of enlightenment by women, the human nature of the Jina after his enlightenment, and the content of the scriptural canon.
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course REL 2317 taught by Professor Neeli during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.