Living Religions depicts Jainism as a more extreme version of Hinduism that a relatively small part of the world population actively practice. From the readings it seems as if the Jain practice is more heavily focused on the preservation of life, as the harming of any form of life is regarded as bringing a large amount of negative karma; karma in general is regarded as undesirable by Jain followers, for the complete unburden of the influence of karmas on the individuals spirit is the ultimate goal of the Jain faith. The Jain do not take note of the caste system that grasps most of India, however one branch of the Jain religion, specifically the Digambaras, do consider males as more worthy than females; the Digambaras go so far as to believe women cannot hope to reach true purity without first being reborn into a male body, this is the same as saying women are truly a separate and lower subgroup of humans as the Jain belief system considers being human the most opportune incarnation for reaching purity. Contrasting the Digambaras split of Jainism, the Svetambaras do not hold the same regards towards women but still regard monks as a higher status than nuns; disregarding this contradiction to the otherwise all-encompassing consideration that all things having equal rights to life the Jain religion has a zero tolerance policy for violence, deceit, and other actions deemed to bring heavy loads of negative karma.
As the Jain religion does not have a definite higher power that governs the higher plane of existence that they believe exists outside the physical world, only achievable by reaching true purity and transcending the grip of the reincarnation cycle, their entire faith system runs on self-discipline and the guided retribution of karma. Compared to other religions, aside from the jarring degree of self-discipline such as extensive periods of fasting and exposure to the element that defy basic survivalist traits, the Jain religion is devoid of the latent negative qualities, such as consistent violence and destruction, that other religions seem to express throughout time; this in itself is a high scoring quality for any religion as violence for reasons that in all honesty cannot be proven is a major hindrance to the progression of humanity, the live and let live philosophy is truly the best policy. Oddly enough the survivability of their Jain religious practice has increased in recent years due to the fairly recent spread of the Jain influence outside of India, a requirement for any culture to continue existing. With any luck the core teachings of the Jain religion, IE nonviolence and the overall strive to better yourself and the world around you, will influence even those who do not wish to adopt the entire Jain belief system.
(I request feedback as to the nature of my writings, I feel really unsure about the quality of my writing in terms of meeting the correct criteria for the assignment and the actual quality of the writing in general. I am self-conscious about my previous entries as well as this entry because we have yet to be shown our grades for two of the previous boards; I would hate to continually make the same errors and let my grade suffer.)