Jain monastics renunciants and devout householders take five main vows known as vratas, outlined in their oldest surviving text, the Acaranga Sutra: ahimsa ("non-violence"), satya ("truth"), asteya ("not stealing"), brahmacharya ("celibacy or chastity"), and aparigraha ("non-attachment").
These principles have impacted Jain culture in many ways, such as leading to a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle that avoids harm to animals and their life cycles.
Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviors and teachers known as Tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who is believed to have lived millions of years ago, and twenty-fourth being the Mahavira around 500 BCE.
Jainism has two major ancient sub-traditions, Digambaras and Svetambaras; and several smaller sub-traditions that emerged in the 2nd millennium CE.
The Digambaras and Svetambaras have different views on ascetic practices, gender and which Jain texts can be considered canonical.
The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes Ahimsa in Jainism. The wheel represents the dharmachakra, which stands for the resolve to halt the saṃsāra ('transmigration') through relentless pursuit of truth and non-violence.
Violence negatively affects and destroys one's soul, particularly when the violence is done with intent, hate or carelessness, or when one indirectly causes or consents to the killing of a human or non-human living being.
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