the soul mirrors Brahman's nature
Jainism asserts that every soul is divine and capable of attaining perfection. The universe can be divided into Jiva (soul) and Ajiva (non-soul). The living and the non-living, by coming into contact with each other, forge certain energies which bring about birth, death and various experiences of life.
Yet, the process could be stopped, and the energies already forged destroyed, by a course of discipline leading to moksha.
Jaina is based on the practice of (a) the right knowledge, (b) right faith and (c) right conduct. They must be cultivated at once. Right faith leads to calmness and tranquility, but right faith leads to perfection only when followed by right conduct. Knowledge without faith and conduct is futile. Right conduct is spontaneous, not a forced mechanical quality. Attainment of right conduct is a gradual process. 3- This process leads to ahimsa: (skt non-harming) the Jaina doctrine of non-violence.1
The five basic principles
1- Non-violence (Ahimsa) - to cause no harm to living beings.
2- Truth (Satya) - to always speak the truth in a harmless manner.
3- Non-stealing (Asteya) - to not take anything that is not willingly given (CAVEAT: don't mess up with people's autonomy, that's THEFT).
4- Celibacy (Brahmacarya) - to not indulge in sensual pleasures (CAVEAT: here "indulge" means making pleasures the end, remember the reversibility principle [avoiding something only to let it thru the back door] the enjoyment is more appropriate, as "means").
5- Non-possession (Aparigraha) - to detach from people, places, and material things (for detachment nothing better than this.
Theological and philosophical Implications of Jainism
*Every living being has a soul: divine, with innate, though typically unrealized, potentially immense knowledge, perception, power, and bliss.
*Therefore, regard every living being as yourself, harm no one, and manifest benevolence for all living beings.
*Every soul is born as a sort of celestial, human or sub-human or hellish being according to its own karmas.
*Every soul is the architect of its own life, here or hereafter. (Yes, freedom exists!)
*When a soul is freed from karmas,2 it becomes free and god-conscious, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss.
*Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (triple gems of Jainism) provide the way to this realization.
*There is no supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer: The universe is self-regulated and every soul has the potential to achieve the status of god-consciousness (siddha) through one's own efforts.
*Non-violence (Ahimsa) is the foundation of right View, the existence of right Knowledge and the kernel of right Conduct. Non-violence is compassion and forgiveness in thoughts, words and actions toward all living beings. It includes respecting views of others (Non-absolutism). Is Ahimsa not a better face-to-face?
*Limit possessions and lead a pure life that is useful to yourself and others. Owning an object by itself is not possessiveness; however attachment to an object is. Non-possessiveness is the balancing of needs and desires while staying detached from our possessions.
*Enjoy the company of the holy and better qualified, be merciful to those afflicted and tolerate the perversely inclined.
*Four things are difficult for a soul to attain: 1. human birth (the one you own), 2. true knowledge, 3. good faith, and 4. practicing the right path.
*It is important not to waste human life in evil ways. Rather, strive to rise on the ladder of spiritual evolution.
*The goal of Jainism is liberation of the soul from the negative effects of unenlightened thoughts, speech and action. This goal is achieved through clearance of karmic obstructions.
1 Non-violence of thought is more important than non-violence of action. It is also one of the five virtues in Raja-Yoga. 2 New development: karma that binds our soul is due not only to the actions of our body, mind, and speech but more importantly, to the intentions behind them. Äsrava (Cause of the influx of karma). A person's ignorance or wrong belief, vowlessness, spiritual-laziness, and passions like anger, self-aggrandizement, deceit and greed, are the primary causes of the influx of karma. Collectively, these causes are called Äsrava.