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Faithandfood Fact Files - Jainism

"Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat."
The Manu-samhita

Forbidden ingredients
Main food beliefs
Vegetarianism
Eating in restaurants
Feasting and fasting
Links
Contact
About the writer

The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

Which ingredients are forbidden?

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Honey
  • Figs

Strict Jains do not eat root vegetables, garlic, onions

All foods that might have meat, fish and eggs.

What are the main laws or beliefs relating to food?
As Jitubhai Shah, director of the L.D. Institute of Indology in Ahmedabad, India, says: "The Jain lifestyle is a perfect enunciation of ahimsa… The reason Jains don't normally eat or drink anything after sundown is because it is believed that doing so would cause the death of minute microorganisms that emerge in the dark. The entire lifestyle is geared towards causing least harm to other creatures and the environment…”

Apart from not eating meat, fish and eggs, strict Jains do not eat onions and garlic because they increase sexual desires. Strict Jains also do not eat any root vegetables like potatoes because smaller insects are killed in their harvest and the vegetable itself will have millions of bacteria.

Is there a link with vegetarianism?
The emblem of the Jain religion, symbolizes its main tenet, the doctrine of Ahimsa, nonviolence. The practice of Jain asceticism, the avoidance of harm to any living creature, is central to the Jain practise of vegetarianism.

In general, will people of this faith eat in a food outlet that serves food or drink that does not conform to their beliefs?

When and why do people of this faith feast and fast?

Links to websites with further information:
http://www.lifepositive.com/Spirit/world-religions/
jainism/jain.asp

http://www.allaahuakbar.net/jain/
ahimsa_and_non.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/


If you have any question about the dietary practises or beliefs in this faith, you may contact

 

Written by Nitin Mehta MBE
Nitin was born in Kenya in a Jain family and came to the UK in 1972. He formed the Young Indian Vegetarians in 1978 and over the years has campaigned extensively and is well known for the Hyde Park rallies. Nitin also started vegetarian societies in Kenya, Mauritius, Portugal and Delhi. Nitin edits the newsletter Ahimsa, and in 1999 received an MBE for services to the community. Nitin has written numerous articles and books on Vegetarianism.

Note: Some people who are Jains do not observe the dietary laws stated above. Prohibitions and restrictions even within a particular faith may change between denominations or branches. Please do not take this as an authoritative list. This page is meant as a guide only are the beliefs of the writer.

The Faithandfood Fact File bookmarks are the same for each religion. Compare this religion with the dietary beliefs of another faith by clicking on the name of the religion on the toolbar on the left.

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