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published: 3/17/04
updated: 12/28/13

Timeline of Jainism




A Chronology of the Jain faith

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Although many people associate theHindu religion with India, Jainism is another world religion that was established in that historic country. The focus of the Jain faith has communal and individual aspects. Corporately, Jainism's focus is on non-violent relationships with other people. Individually, Jainism emphasizes personal asceticism.

As the timeline below indicates, the Jain religion was founded in the 6th century B.C. Hinduism was already present in India when Jainism arose, however, Buddhism was just getting established at that time.

The timeline below highlights important events in the Jain religion. Links will take you to more articles that explore this ancient Indian faith.




A timeline of the Jain faith


5th cent. BCE


Life of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism.

3rd cent. BCE



A Jain community forms in the trading center of Mathura.

c. 4th-5th cent. CE



Umasvati codifies Jain texts in the Tattvartha Sutra.


5th cent.



Schism occurs, forming the Svetambara and Digambara sects.


9th-11th cent.



Digambara Jainism is frequently supported by south Indian royalty.


12th cent.



Hemacandra, a Svetambara monk, is tutor to the rulers Siddharaja and his nephew Kumarapala.


17th cent.



The iconoclastic Sthanakvasis sect emerges.


18th-19th cent.



Decline of image-worshipping ascetic communities.


21st cent.



Revival of asceticism and development of mystical sects. Many Jains emigrate to East Africa, the United Kingdom and North America.



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