Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, whereas Jainism is centered on the life and teachings of Mahavira. Buddhism is a polytheistic religion and it's main goal is to gain enlightenment. Jainism is also a polytheistic religion and it's goals are based on non-violence and liberation the soul.

Comparison chart

Buddhism versus Jainism comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBuddhismJainism
Place of origin Nepal, India India.
Place of worship Monasteries, nunneries, pagodas and temples. Temple
Practices Practices of the Threefold Training: Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom. Five vows of Truth, Non-violence, Non-stealing, Non-attachment, control over desires and senses. Greater emphasis on non-violence and truth. Also follow 3 jewels of Right Perception, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct
Use of statues and pictures Common Common.
Clergy Monks and Nuns, who unitedly and exactly follow the teachings of the Buddha under the name 'Sangha'. Monks, nuns.
Founder Gautama Buddha (born as Prince Siddhartha) Rishabhdev- 1st Tirthankar in this era, Further revived by Vardhaman Mahavir- 24th and final Tirthankar of this era
Principle This life is suffering, and the only way to escape from this suffering is to dispel one's cravings and ignorance by practising the Eightfold Path. Respect all living things. Attain liberation by avoiding and shedding of bad karma which is the cause of rebirths and all sufferings. Five vows and three jewels.
Belief of God Buddhism does not believe in a Creator God. Jainism does not believe in a Creator God.
Goal of religion To attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death, thus attaining Nirvana. To gain liberation and be released from cycle of rebirths, adopt a path of non-violence towards all living beings.
Life after death Until one has attained Nirvana, he or she will be reborn into any of the 31 planes of existence over and over again, due to his/her karma. Until liberation is achieved, circle of rebirths and deaths continue due to Karma via incarnations in any life form on earth, as also heavenly and hellish life forms.
About Following the teachings of the Buddha Following the teachings of Mahavira.
Literal Meaning Buddhists mean those who follow the teachings of the Buddha To become a Jina (liberated soul) by following the teachings of 24 Tirthankars (ford-makers/teachers)
Concept of God A God or gods have always been rejected wholly by Theravada Buddhists. Their only refuges are the three jewels: The Buddha, The Dhamma, and The Sangha. No creator God. Rather, Godliness is the inherent quality of any soul characterizing infinite bliss, power, Perfect knowledge and perfect Peace. One who achieves this state by breaking bonds of Karma and liberation from rebirths can be termed God.
Definition Teachings of the Buddha Teachings of Tirthankars
Means of salvation Buddhism has nothing to do with "salvation". The only goal in Buddhism is to attain Nirvana. To do this, we should let go of our desires, cravings and attachments, and try to dispel our ignorance Goal is to unshackle the soul from bondages of karma which results in misery due to many rebirths and deaths. Once soul is freed from these bondages, it achieves Nirvana and becomes perfect soul free from all attachments, in an eternal blissful state
Status of women No gender bias in Buddhism. In the Discourse related to householders, named 'Tein-gala-wada', certain duties and obligations were mentioned and applied to specific gender i.e. duties of a husband to a wife and vice versa, by the Buddha. Women can become nuns.
View of the Buddha Founder of Buddhism or the Four Noble Truths Buddha is considered as contemporary of Mahavir
Human Nature Ordinary human beings possess greed, anger, delusion, igorance, cravings, etc. and they were compared by the Buddha as 'the fools' and 'the blind'. (Ordinary human beings mean those who haven't walked or are not walking the Eightfold Path.) Human suffering is due to negative effects of bad karma and excessive attachment to material aspects of world.
Angels No angels accepted. Concept of Yaksha, Yakshinis. They are celestial and heavenly beings who can aid and guide humans upon invoking. But they are not considered God and their worship is not encouraged as they are not perfect souls and haven't achieved Nirvana.
Day of worship Instead of worshipping, Buddhists pay obeisance to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. No particular time although morning is preferred for any rites.
Marriage Seen as a social convention and mainly a personal and individual concern, not a religious duty. Advice in the Discourses are on how to maintain a happy and harmonious marriage. Faithfulness and monogamy was encouraged. Marriage is a social convention and not linked to religion. But followers must strictly follow monogamy. Monks, though have renounced material world, hence strictly follow celibacy.
Scriptures Tripitaka - a vast volume of 3 main sections: the Discourses, the Discipline and the Absolute Doctrine - which appeared only after the death of the Buddha, thanks to the monks who collected all the teachings of the Buddha. Religious scriptures called Agamas. Many other canonical texts.
Rites Generally common. Generally common.
Time of origin 2,500 years ago, circa 563 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) Very ancient. One of the oldest religions as origin of 1st Tirthankar is too ancient and obscure. Mahavir (24th Tirthankar) born in 599 B.C.E.
Concept of Deity Instead of deities, Devas or celestial beings are accepted as those suffering in the samsara. Numerous deities known as Tirthenkaras. But Jains do not worship them in literal sense of idol worship to ask favors. Rather, these Tirthankars are venerated as ideal Men and teachers whose teachings should be followed.
Followers Buddhists Jains.
Authority of Dalai Lama Merely belonging to Tibetan Buddhism and has no relevance to Theravada Buddhism. N/A.
Population 300-450 Million, but Theravada Buddhists: 100-150 million 50-60 million
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of Buddhists deny the existence of a God or gods. So Buddhism is not a religion, but the teachings of the Buddha. Yes. Jains do not believe in the idea of a Creator God. The laws revolve around Karma. Good Karma lead to spiritual elevation and bad Karma and bad deeds to decline.
Original Language(s) Original language is Magada, language used during the lifetime of the Buddha, which is the universal language (understood all over the universe) Ancient texts were written in various languages, predominantly in Magadhi, language prevalent at time of Mahavir and Buddha.
Goal of Philosophy Buddhism is not a philosophy. It is the practical teachings of the Buddha and its goal is 'nirvana'. Jainism is a way of life, adhere to teachings of Tirthankars, respect all life forms and end goal is to achieve Nirvana.
Names of God Brahma, Avalokitesvara 24 Tirthankars, besides some celestial beings are worshipped as Demi Gods though they are not liberated from cycle of rebirths.
Use of statues Used often. Used often.
Virtue on which religion is based upon Compassion Ahimsa (meaning non-violence, or pacifism).
sects Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, and so on. Digambara, Svetambara
Place and Time of origin Approx. 2,500 years ago, Very ancient, origin obscure dating many millenia
Views on other religion Buddhism does not condemn any of other religions . Belief in pluralism and accomodating multiple view points of all religions.
View of other Dharmic religions Believes absolutely that any other ideas and concepts rather than the Buddha's teachings will never be true or perfect in this world. Comradeship with other Dharmic religions.
Offshoot religions Some branches of Buddhism like Mahayana, in which the teachings of the Buddha have been amended over and over again. No
Legislation All the rules determined by the words of the Buddha. Teachings of Tirthankar and if any dispute arises, monastical help is sought mainly as guidance. No rigid legislation.
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? Yes. Yes
Use of statues, images Statues are commonly used as symbolic reminders while paying obeisance to the Buddha. Permitted.
Holy days/Official Holidays Kasone Full Moon Day, Waso Full Moon Day, etc. Paryushan festival
Views on other religions Buddhism sees no contradiction in following more than one religion. Belief in pluralism and respect other religious view points and try to accomodate them.
Clothes No prohibitions made but one should distinguish between what is right and what is wrong according to the Buddha's guidance. Avoid clothes made from animal products.
Three Jewels The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, which are the only precious refuges in the whole universe. Right perception, right knowledge, right conduct
War between two churches/ major sects Many mainline Buddhist sects deny Soka Gakkai as true Buddhism. All sects co-exist harmoniously and in peace
Status of Elohim Buddhists do not believe in a Creator God. No belief in Creator God
Marriage and Divorce If one followed the Buddha's teachings, one would not need a divorce. However, if personal differences are so vast within a couple, divorce is permitted. Marriage is individual preference but monogamy must be observed. Though divorce is generally discouraged, modern day Jainism allows separation if differences are vast.
Saints No saints. Only upright or virtuous persons, Arhats, etc. those who follow exactly the Buddha's teachings. 24 Tirthankars who revive religion in different eras.
Symbols Wheel. Swastika(used it long before it became a symbol for antisemitism).
Virtue(s) on which religion is based upon Compassion Pacifism.

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