Going to the Temple

John E. Cort

in Jains in the World

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195132342
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834112 | DOI:
 						Going to the Temple

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The defining ritual activity of the Svetambar Murtipujak Jains of Patan is image‐worship, conducted in temples to images of the Jinas. The chapter gives detailed explanations of both the prescribed ideals and the actual practice of image‐veneration (caitya‐vandan), the eightfold image‐worship (murti‐puja), and viewing (darsan). To understand the intentions of the worshipers, one must also understand both Jain devotion (bhakti) and Jain theology. The Jains posit that God – the sum total of liberated souls – resides in infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite bliss, and infinite power, but at the same time embodies a total lack of desire that results in his being inactive in the world. Jains therefore understand worship to ”work” through a process of meditative self‐reflection rather than the intervention of a divine being.

Keywords: bhakti; caitya‐vandan; darsan; devotion; God; Jina; puja; theology; worship

Chapter.  19090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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