Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online

Get access Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: John E. Cort, Denison University, Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh, Knut A. Jacobsen, University of Bergen, Kristi L. Wiley, University of California, Berkeley

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism Online makes available up-to-date research on main aspects of the Jain traditions in original essays written by some of the world’s foremost scholars on Jainism. The encyclopedia is thematic and seeks to present a balanced and impartial view of Jainism with a focus on both historical and contemporary traditions and institutions. The articles address topics such as the human condition, pantheons, historical perspectives, regional cultures, renunciation, lay society, ritual, devotion, visual and material culture, time and space, literature, and philosophy and logic.

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Jainism and Language Usage

(12,147 words)

Author(s): Dundas, Paul
From around the early centuries of the Common Era, Jain monastic intellectuals formulated a view of language (Pkt. bhāsā; Skt. bhāṣā) that posited that this quintessentially natural function of living beings was a material phenomenon, albeit an eternal one. The Prajñāpanā Sūtra, the most comprehensive of the later quasi-encyclopedic texts of the Ardhamagadhi canon in terms of the scope of its ontological analysis, describes how speech atoms, apparently a subtype of the general category of atomic matter constituting the fabric of the universe ( loka) and therefore without any po…
Date: 2019-04-15

Jainism on the Internet

(6,010 words)

Author(s): Vekemans, Tine
The internet offers us a channel, which can potentially allow the message of Jainism to reach every corner of the world. Just as Jains had embraced the technology of writing very early 2000 years ago, they have enthusiastically welcomed the Internet. The resources presently available on Jainism can be reached through hundreds of search engines…There are many excellent sites available on Jainism but this should not dissuade anyone from creating a new web presence. Simple and personal web sites of…
Date: 2019-04-15

Jain Literature in Hindi

(3,469 words)

Author(s): Clines, Gregory M.
In discussing Jain literary production in Hindi, one must first come to terms with what exactly constitutes “Hindi” as a literary language. The landscape of premodern North Indian vernacular literature is marked by fluid linguistic, grammatical, and aesthetic boundaries, and attempts to pinpoint exactly when and where “Hindi” composition began have largely relied on reading back onto the past modern political concerns and agendas. Of particular importance to this discussion is the artificial dis…
Date: 2019-04-15

Jains and Muslims

(8,416 words)

Author(s): Truschke, Audrey
Jains and Muslims have interacted with each other for well over one thousand years in a variety of economic, social, political, religious, intellectual, and personal encounters. Jains and Muslims have also engaged with each other’s ideas, histories, and practices, often using cross-cultural connections as springboards for innovations in their respective traditions.Several methodological challenges arise when trying to reconstruct Jain and Muslim relations. In terms of sources, textual and material evidence for early encounters is often thin on …
Date: 2019-04-15

Jains in Belgium

(3,292 words)

Author(s): Vekemans, Tine
An estimated 2,000 Jains reside in Belgium, concentrated in and around the city of Antwerp. Within Antwerp, the focal point of community life is the suburb of Wilrijk. Although Jain individuals and families have made their homes in other European countries as well, Belgium is the only country in continental Europe that has the required density and numbers to have established an organized Jain cultural and religious community. This group of Jains has ties with the Jains in the United Kingdom, the…
Date: 2019-04-15

Jain Society: 1800–1947

(22,173 words)

Author(s): Cort, John E.
In 1800, the Jains comprised a large number of highly localized communities defined by caste, language, region, and sectarian tradition. Due to their fragmented nature, it would be more accurate to speak of “Jainism s” than of a single “Jainism.” By 1947, in some ways, it was starting to be possible to imagine Jainism as a single religion, and the Jains as a single community, albeit a complex community with many sharp internal divisions. This is increasingly the case in the seven decades since Indian independence, as “Jains” and…
Date: 2019-04-15

Jain Society: 1947–2018

(17,520 words)

Author(s): Cort, John E.
For most of their history, Jains have lived in multiple states throughout India and therefore within multiple jurisdictions under multiple rulers. Even during the period of British colonial hegemony in India, many Jains lived in princely states; they lived both under British colonial rule and law and under different princely political and legal systems that were outside of direct British rule, but which were increasingly shaped by modern conceptions of governmentality. As merchants and mendicant…
Date: 2019-04-15