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Saṃsāra and Karman in the Early Context
(2,792 words)

It is beyond doubt that Jainism incorporated a belief in rebirth and karmic retribution from the beginning. What is more, it seems safe to claim that Jainism, right from the beginning, presented itself as a way to escape from the cycle of rebirths (saṃsāra) and karmic retribution. Judging by the practices that we find prescribed already in our earliest sources, karmic retribution and the proposed liberation (mokṣa) from it were envisaged in the following manner.

Jainism’s path to liberation culminates in the total immobilization of body and mind. Indeed, this final imm…

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Bronkhorst, Johannes, “Saṃsāra and Karman in the Early Context”, in: Brill's Encyclopedia of Jainism Online, 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. Consulted online on 05 December 2019 <>
First published online: 2019
First print edition: 20180207

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