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Shvetambara monks clad in white with face mask and fronds or brooms

The Shvetambaras ( Sanskrit , m., श्वेताम्बर, śvetāmbara, people dressed in white) are a group within Jainism .

way of life

Although there are monks among the Shvetambaras as well, they form rather the large group of lay people within the Jaina community. Compared to the Digambaras , they have more moderate positions. But also the Shvetambaras live in principle according to the commandment of ahimsa , non-violence and respect for all living beings. To avoid accidentally killing an insect, they often wear a white face mask or sweep the floor before stepping on it.

In the center of the Shravanabelagola sanctuary near Mysore , the Jain ascetic Bahubali / Gomateshvara , completely unclothed according to Digambara custom, is depicted - the ideal image of many Jainas, including the Shvetambaras. His motionless meditation even goes so far that tendrils wind up on his body.

The postulates of non-violence and immobility have resulted in Jainas mostly in 'sedentary' but exclusive professions such as traders, jewelers, etc. were or are active. This fact - combined with a largely ascetic lifestyle - in turn meant that many Shvetambara families became quite wealthy and were able to finance elaborately designed temple buildings or their restoration (e.g. in Mount Abu , Ranakpur or Jaisalmer ) with large funds to be visited by Digambaras.


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