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Jainism (/ˈnɪzəm/ JAY-nih-zəm), also known as Jain Dharma, is an Indian religion. Jainism traces its spiritual ideas and history through the succession of twenty-four tirthankaras (supreme preachers of Dharma), with the first in the current time cycle being Rishabhadeva, whom the tradition holds to have lived millions of years ago, the twenty-third tirthankara Parshvanatha, whom historians date to the 9th century BCE, and the twenty-fourth tirthankara Mahavira, around 600 BCE. Jainism is considered to be an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every time cycle of the cosmology. The three main pillars of Jainism are ahiṃsā (non-violence), anekāntavāda (non-absolutism), and aparigraha (asceticism).

Jain monks take five main vows: ahiṃsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (not stealing), brahmacharya (chastity), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). These principles have affected Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly lacto-vegetarian lifestyle. Parasparopagraho jīvānām (the function of souls is to help one another) is the faith's motto, and the Namokar Mantra is its most common and strongest prayer.

Jainism is one of the oldest religions still practiced today. It has two major ancient sub-traditions, Digambaras and Śvētāmbaras, which hold different views on ascetic practices, gender, and the texts considered canonical. Both sub-traditions have mendicants supported by laypersons (śrāvakas and śrāvikas). The Śvētāmbara tradition in turn has three sub-traditions: Mandirvāsī, Deravasi, and Sthānakavasī.[1] The religion has between four and five million followers, known as Jains or Jainas, who reside mostly in India, where they numbered around 4.5 million at the 2011 census. Outside India, some of the largest Jain communities can be found in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Japan is also home to a fast-growing community of converts.[2] Major festivals include Paryushana and Das Lakshana, Ashtanika, Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, Akshaya Tritiya, and Dipawali.