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A comparison between Buddhism and Jainsim

Updated on September 19, 2016

Saint Buddha


History of Buddha

About 2500 years ago, Siddhartha was a prince of Kapilavastu empire. He belongs to Kshatriya Varna.

At an early age, Siddhartha left the comforts of his home and wandered from place to place in search of knowledge. He met many thinkers during his journey and had discussions with them, but nobody satisfied him. So, he finally decided to find answers to his questions through meditation.For many days, he sat under a peepal tree at Bodh Gaya in Bihar and ultimately attained enlightenment and came to be known as the Buddha, the wise one’. The Buddha then went to Saranath near Varanasi, where he gave his first sermon. For the rest of his life, he traveled on foot. He visited many places, taught several people, till he left his body at Kushinagar.

Teachings of the saint Buddha

The Buddha taught in Pali, the language of the ordinary people, so that everybody could understand his message.

The Buddha teaches four noble truths: - 1) world is full of sufferings 2) the main cause of suffering is desire 3) one must get rid of desires to end sufferings 4) to end desires and sufferings, one must follow the eight – fold path.

The eight – fold path :- 1) right thought 2) right belief 3) right speech 4) right action 5) right means of livelihood 6) right effort 7) right memory 8) right meditation.

Vardhaman Mahavira


Saint Vardhamana Mahavira

Vardhamana Mahavira was found the Jainisim, about 2500 years ago. He was a Prince of Lichchhavis empire. He was belonging to Kshatriya Varna. Like Buddha, Mahavira laid great stress on Ahimsa, but he was more strict. He believed that every living being had a soul. Therefore, not even an insect as small as an ant should be killed intentionally.

Mahavira thought Tri – ratnas or the three jewels of life, which are :- 1) right belief 2) right knowledge 3) right action.

Mahavira teaching language was Prakrit. This was majority people spoken language.

The religions of Buddhism and Jainism


Buddhism and Jainism

A comparison between Buddhism and Jainism

Similarities:- Both oppose brahminical supremacy and were started by the members of the Vshatriya varna. They attracted the lower Varnas, particularly the Vaishyas or traders. both were simple religions without any elaborate or expensive rituals and practices. They taught in the language most commonly spoken.

Differences :- Jainism stressed on non – violence while Buddhism avoided extremes. Buddha stayed away from discussions on God while Mahavira denied his existence altogether. Jainism was too much austere as compared to Buddhism. Buddhism spread beyond India, while Jainism remained confined to certain areas in India itself.

Buddha Monasteries



To preach their religion, both Buddhist and Jain monks used to wander from place to place throughout the year, giving lectures and teaching people. During the rainy season, it was difficult to travel, so, they preferred to stay in one place. Their followers and supports realized the difficulty and constructed temporary shelters for them.

Hills was chosen and caves in them were transformed beautifully into viharas or monasteries, where the Buddhist monks lived. The earlier monasteries were built of wood. Later, bricks were used for buildings them. Kings and traders frequently donated land for constructing monasteries. In western India, several such monasteries were excavated out of rocky mountains.

King Ashoka A Very strong Emperor


Spread of the religions

With time, Buddhism attracted many followers, including Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka. With his help the religion spread to different parts of e sub – continent and even Sri Lanka and South -East Asia.

Jainism was supported mainly by traders. farmers found it difficult to follow this religion’s path since they had to kill insects to protect their crops. Over hundred of years, Jainism spread to different parts of north part of India, Gujarat, South Tamil Nadau and Karnataka. It was also patronized by many kings.


While Buddhism and Jainism developed the Sangha and monasteries, the system of ashramas was developed by brahmins. Here, ashramas were the stages of life.

In other parts of the world during that time

At the time, when Jainism and Buddhism arose in the sub – continent, a religion called Zoroastrianism was founded in Iran. The religion was based on the worship of a single God – fire. It was founded by an Iranian prophet, Zoroaster. His teachings are contained in a book called Zend Avesta’. The followers of Zoroaster are called Zoroastrians, or Parsis, as they are known today in India.


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