Jainism is arguably the most non-violent and austere religion in the world. While lay Jains attempt to never harm humans or animals, the strict non-violence followed by the highly revered monks and nuns also proscribes harm to any living being, even a microscopic organism. And while laywomen (and a few laymen) undergo long and difficult fasts, the longest being for one month, renouncers' austerities also include pulling their hair out by the roots two to five times a year, walking bare-foot throughout India most of the year, and, in the case of some monks, not wearing any clothing at all.
Jainism: A Guide for the Perplexed is a clear and thorough account of this fascinating tradition, explaining many basic Jain values, beliefs and practices in the same way they are taught to Jains themselves, through the medium of sacred narratives. Drawing from Jainism's copious and influential narrative tradition, the author explores the inner-logic of how renouncers' and laypeople's values and practices depend on an intricate Jain worldview.
Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 213 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 15 mm
Jains have long learned the principles and history of Jainism through narratives. Stories are at the heart of the sermons that mendicants regularly deliver to laypeople. Mothers and grand-mothers recount narratives to young Jains. In the home of most Jains are one or more bookshelves full of volumes of edifying tales. Sherry Fohr has followed this time-honored example, and provided an accessible introduction to the Jain tradition through narratives. The reader will encounter memorable characters and memorable tales, and in the process come to see why Jainism has been one of the world's enduring religious systems that has provided insights to generations of seekers for three-thousand years. * John E. Cort, Professor of Asian and Comparative Religions & Chair, Department of Religion, Denison University, USA *
Jainism is an ancient religious tradition whose central precept is the necessity of practising non-violence towards all living creatures. However, despite the obvious relevance of this noble and compassionate perspective, Jainism is less well known in the modern world than it deserves to be. In this fresh and stimulating introduction Sherry Fohr conveys a wonderful sense of how Jainism has evolved over the centuries as a distinctive religion and the manner in which its teachings continue to shape and inspire the lives of its adherents. Fohr is particularly successful in giving a sense of the texture of the lives of Jain women and throughout the book she skilfully integrates classic Jain narratives to highlight her discussion. This is a book from which those interested in Indian religions and members of the Jain community alike will gain both profit and pleasure and it will undoubtedly ensure that in future there will be much less perplexity about Jainism. * Paul Dundas, Reader in Sanskrit, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh, UK *
An enticing book, which teaches Jainism the way it is learnt by those who follow it-through stories -- Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, McGill University, Canada