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RE: Buddhism...is it really different from other organized religion?

It’s not that I think that it’s impossible to see violence from Jains — but I think that afterward, it would be hard to continue calling oneself Jain, and one’s fellows would probably reject such a claim.

That is not decisive reasoning to assume Jainism is a more benign religion compared to Buddhism.

1. As stated before, their size difference makes them impossible to compare on a equal level. Many religious group started out as benign and grow and then comes the intolerance…..Don’t just look at what they do not allow, also look at their exceptions.

2. It is not a change really, it is a difference of interpretation. If indeed it is a change, then it would change its basic principles and it would also require a name change. Therefore, the same religion after a few centuries is not changed, it is interpreted differently. By allowing rooms for “up to interpretation” characteristic, Jainism is fundamentally the same as other religion. Their self defense is pretty questionable as well.

In contrast, Jains agree with Hindus that violence in self-defense can be justified,71 and they agree that a soldier who kills enemies in combat is performing a legitimate duty.72 Jain communities accepted the use of military power for their defense, and there were Jain monarchs, military commanders, and soldiers.73

This would imply whoever in power can justify killing under Jainism. Even war can be Justified.

If Jainism ever become a major world religion, I have no doubt then you can make a fairer comparison. I will admit that Jainism is a more benign religion if it is guaranteed not to abuse power and become intolerant of those who do not agree with them.

Nevertheless, I still think it’s a better example of a benign religion than Buddhism.

That is a rather broad generalization. When I was using Tibetan Buddhism, I used Gelug sect to make the point that any religion will have unpleasant side effects. However, I did not say it is a good representation of Buddhism in general. There are Buddhist schools that closely follow the peaceful, nonviolence, and tolerant part. What is the difference? They aren’t big and influential enough. Why does size matter? Because size is power. Why would any religion allow this kind of thing to happen? Because it always have exception in the “Do no harm and do not kill” statement. The exceptions allow power hunger people to take advantage and “make interpretations” on the same holy teaching.

As lord Acton said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

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That is not decisive reasoning to assume Jainism is a more benign religion compared to Buddhism.

I disagree.

You really should read through the Wikipedia articles. In particular, Jainism as an overview, Ahimsa to see how the notions of non-violence vary among the Indian religious traditions, and Ahimsa in Jainism for some specific details. Let me point out a couple of passages that suggest to me that Jainism is sufficiently different:

According to Jainism, the purpose of non-violence is not simply because it is a commandment of a God or any other supreme being. Its purpose is also not simply because its observance is conductive to general welfare of the state or the community.20 While it is true that in Jainism, the moral and religious injunctions were laid down as law by Arhats who have achieved perfection through their supreme moral efforts, their adherence is just not to please a God, but the life of the Arhats has demonstrated that such commandments were conductive to Arhat’s own welfare, helping him to reach spiritual victory. Just as Arhats achieved spiritual victory by observing non-violence, so can anyone who follows this path.

… However according to Jainas death accompanied by hatred and violence can never lead to heavens. According to a story in Bhagavati Sūtra, all the 840,000 soldiers who perished in a war between Konika, the Magadhan emperor and other kings, were either reborn in hell or as animals. Only one person who maintained equanimity in the midst of death in battlefield was reborn in heaven.

In Jainism, the understanding and implementation of ahimsa is more radical, scrupulous, and comprehensive than in any other religion. Non-violence is seen as the most essential religious duty for everyone (ahiṃsā paramo dharmaḥ, a statement often inscribed on Jain temples).

Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals. For example, Jains often do not go out at night, when they are more likely to step upon an insect. In their view, injury caused by carelessness is like injury caused by deliberate action. Eating honey is strictly outlawed, as it would amount to violence against the bees. Some Jains abstain from farming because it inevitably entails unintentional killing or injuring of many small animals, such as worms and insects, but agriculture is not forbidden in general and there are Jain farmers. Additionally, because they consider harsh words to be a form of violence, they often keep a cloth to ritually cover their mouth, as a reminder not to allow violence in their speech.

A culture that believes these things — in particular, that even the thought of doing violence to another is a form of self-injury — is simply not going to tolerate its leadership entering into any sort of war of aggression. I frankly doubt they’d even let themselves be bamboozled into a “preventive war” like the Iraq war.

This would imply whoever in power can justify killing under Jainism. Even war can be Justified

There have been larger Jain societies in the past, including kingdoms with Jain leaders, but I don’t see any indication that they were aggressive towards their neighbors in any way.

There are Buddhist schools that closely follow the peaceful, nonviolence, and tolerant part. What is the difference?

No, there aren’t — not to the degree Jainism prescribes. In Buddhist teaching, non-violence (ahimsa) is merely one among five equal precepts. While it’s true that some sects may put more emphasis on one than the others, it’s still fundamentally different from Jain teaching, which asserts that ahimsa is primary and everything else comes from it.

The flexibility Buddhism affords to interpreting ahimsa gives quite a wide range of positions. Theraveda teaching ends up arguing that killing is a fairly involved process, and its negative impact on karma is largely dependent on the actor’s state of mind. The code of Bushido that grew out of the fusion of Zen and Shinto believes that the role of a warrior is not to kill, but rather to save, and that the violence done by the samurai doesn’t incur a karmic burden.

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