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The essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself.

Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation.

Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each of these souls is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion.

Jains believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation, which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth so that the immortal soul lives forever in a state of bliss.

There are no gods or spiritual beings that will help human beings.

Jains are divided into two major sects: the Digambara (meaning "sky clad") sect and the Svetmbara (meaning "white clad")sect. Jainism has no priests. Its professional religious people are monks and nuns, who lead strict ascetic lives.

The supreme principle of Jain living is non violence (ahimsa).

Source: BBC website