The Jains by Paul Dundas
Jainism - with Hinduism and Buddism - is an integral part of Indian culture, and its adherents continue to make a vital contribution to the religious and economic life of the subcontienent. Furthermore, Jainism, with its distinctive views on matters such as non-violence and intellectural relativity, has clear relevance to life and thought in the 20th-century. In this up-to-date guide to one of the world's oldest religions, Paul Dundas goes beyond recent accounts of Jainism which have concentrated on doctrine to give instead a strong sense of Jainism as a living and dynamic faith. He focuses on the Jains as agents within their own destinies and on the manner in which they have, over the centuries, structured and made sense of their lives as Jains. Paul Dudas interprets the Jain religion as both a historical, evolving phenomenon and a mode of life which provides a coherent and satisfying world view for its followers. He demonstrates the complex and multidiemnsional nature of Jainism, traces its evolution, and assesses its principlal doctrinal and sectarian characteristics, giving special attention to Jain attitudes towards scripture, and the role of ritual and sacred places.