Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mahavira's 2609th Birth Anniversary

Himalayan News Service & Wisdom Quarterly
KATHMANDU - Jains in Nepal celebrated the 2609th birth anniversary (Jayanti) of Mahavira, a contemporary of the Buddha who founded a rival dharma now known as Jainism. Like Buddhism, Jainism was a radical independence movement from established Vedic Brahmanism, a sedentary religion of temple priests involved in elaborate rituals. There were other Indian dharmas. But Jainism is exemplary and was the only other protest to survive down to the present day.

It is characterized by non-violence, extreme asceticism, and pacifism. It is also thought to be the first tradition to include women, preceding Buddhism (which is considered the first world religion to do so). Jainism is small and limited almost exclusively to India. Buddhist texts refer to Mahavira (a title that means "Great Hero") as the Nigantha (those without possessions) Nataputta (son of Nata).

Yoga Guru Swami Ram Dev, the chief guest, said that the teachings of Mahavira were guides for life, peace, and non-violence. Vice President Paramanand Jha, special guest in the program, said that Nepal-born Buddha and India-born Mahavira were the towers of undefeatable principles of peace and non-violence. More>>

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