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Flügel, Peter, De Jonckheere, Heleen and Söhnen-Thieme, Renate, eds. (2023) Pure Soul: The Jaina Spiritual Traditions. London: Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS.

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Abstract

Jaina thinkers developed different perspectives on the relationship between the soul and the material non-soul. These perspectives can be categorised into two basic stances, namely classical and spiritualistic Jaina philosophy, each with its variants. For classical Jainism the obstruction of the intrinsically pure soul by karman is real. Liberation is therefore possible only by severance of the material connection through physical austerities, tapas or ‘heat’, combined with perfect non-violent conduct. Jaina spiritualism argues that non-material and material substance cannot interact in real sense. The soul is merely associated with karman, and salvation can be achieved by self-realisation, that is, the insight in the innate liberated state of the soul and the essential disconnection between soul and non-soul. The book, a companion volume of the Pure Soul exhibition at SOAS in 2023, explores the practical implications of these variants. The spiritualist traditions adopted the philosophy of Kundakunda’s mystical work, the Samayasāra. They present an alternative to the more common depiction of the Jaina tradition as a radically ascetic religious movement. Yet, all forms of Jainism, even those which focus on physical asceticism, involve meditation on the difference between soul and non-soul and are in that sense spiritual movements. Despite its internal pluralism, the Jaina discourse remains distinct. The common aim of all Jaina traditions is the liberation of the soul from real or perceived embodiment. In its liberated state the individual liberated soul is called siddha.

Item Type: Edited Book or Journal Volume
Keywords: Jainism, Pure Soul Exhibition, Companion Volume, Centre of Jaina Studies, SOAS, Kanji Swami Project
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre of Jaina Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religions. Mythology. Rationalism
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
P Language and Literature > PK Indo-Iranian languages and literatures
D History General and Old World
ISBN: 9781399946865
Copyright Statement: Text © 2023 the individual writers as stated
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 11:50
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/39392
Funders: Other, Leverhulme Trust

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