Jainism, Taoism, and the Native American Lakhota beliefs.

Essay by magaskaweeHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2003

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Jainism, Taoism, and Lakhota Beliefs

Religion has had a profound impact on the history of nations and how their citizens conduct themselves. Religion has been the cause of wars while also creating a sense of unity. Three religions or beliefs that have influenced today's world are Jainism, Taoism, and the animistic beliefs of the North American tribe, Lakhota.

Jainism originated in ancient East India. It is a syncretistic religion, which is very similar to Hinduism and Buddhism. A "Jina", or "those who overcome", was traditionally believed to have been a giant who lived approximately 8.4 million years ago. The world's 4 million Jains are almost entirely located in India. However, there are approximately 1,000 living in Canada.

A specific belief of Jainism is that the universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It is said to have no beginning and will have no end.

Jains believe these layers are the supreme abode, the upper world, middle world, nether world, the Nigoda, universe space, and the space beyond. The supreme abode is said to be located at eh top of the universe and is where the "free souls" live. The upper world has 30 heavens where celestial beings live. The middle world is the earth and the universe; the nether world has 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments. The Nigoda, or base, is where the lowest forms of life reside. The Universe space is are layers of clouds which surround the upper world and the space beyond is an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest. Like Hinduism, Jainism has the belief that everyone is bound within the universe by karma, or the accumulated good and evil that one has done, they also share the idea...