Image depicting Acharya Kundakunda

Digambara (/dɪˈɡʌmbərə/; "sky-clad") is one of the two major schools of Jainism, the other being Śvētāmbara (white-clad). The Sanskrit word Digambara means "sky-clad", referring to their traditional monastic practice of neither possessing nor wearing any clothes.[1]

Digambara and Śvētāmbara traditions have had historical differences ranging from their dress code, their temples and iconography, attitude towards female monastics, their legends, and the texts they consider as important.[2][3][4]

Digambara monks cherish the virtue of non-attachment and non-possession of any material goods. Monks carry a community-owned picchi, which is a broom made of fallen peacock feathers for removing and thus saving the life of insects in their path or before they sit.[1]

The Digambara literature can be traced only to the first millennium CE, with its oldest surviving sacred text being the mid-second century Ṣaṭkhaṅḍāgama "Scripture in Six Parts" of Dharasena (the Moodabidri manuscripts).[5] One of the most important scholar-monks of the Digambara tradition was Kundakunda.

Digambara Jain communities are currently found mainly in Jain temples of Karnataka, parts of south Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.[6][4] According to Jeffery D. Long, a scholar of Hindu and Jain studies, less than one fifth of all Jains in India have a Digambara heritage.[7]

  1. ^ a b Jeffery D Long (2013). Jainism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-85771-392-6.
  2. ^ Paul Dundas (2002). The Jains. Routledge. pp. 53–59, 64–80, 286–287 with footnotes 21 and 32. ISBN 978-0-415-26606-2.
  3. ^ Kristi L. Wiley (2009). The A to Z of Jainism. Scarecrow. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-0-8108-6821-2.
  4. ^ a b Jyotindra Jain; Eberhard Fischer (1978). Jaina Iconography. BRILL Academic. pp. 1–2, 8–9, xxxiv–xxxv. ISBN 90-04-05259-3.
  5. ^ Paul Dundas (2002). The Jains. Routledge. pp. 63–65. ISBN 978-0-415-26605-5.
  6. ^ Jeffery D Long (2013). Jainism: An Introduction. I.B.Tauris. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0-85771-392-6.
  7. ^ Long 2013, p. 20.