Religious Traditions and Cremation Beliefs: Jainism
Several world religions incorporate cremation into their belief system. Learn about the world religions that encourage their followers to be cremated.
Cremation is becoming more accepted in Judaism, Catholicism, and other major world religions. However, many Eastern religions have always embraced cremation as part of their worldview.
This multi-part series explores religious beliefs about cremation. Whether to release the body from its earthly restraints or begin reincarnation, we invite you to learn how cremation is essential to sacred funeral rituals for millions of believers worldwide.
Jainism has about six million followers, called Jains, who live primarily in India, where the religion began 2,500 years ago. Their ultimate spiritual goal is to release the soul from the weary cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Unlike some religions, Jains do not believe in a god or creator, but followers must be non-violent in actions, thoughts, and speech.
Preserving Resources and the Earth
Jains believe in living simply, using additional resources or possessions to help those in need. Cremation serves two purposes for Jains: it hastens the soul’s release from the body and is less harmful to the Earth than burial. Followers also believe that returning to a loved one’s graveside is psychologically damaging and creates unnecessary trauma that prevents a follower from pursuing meditation and charitable pursuits.
Like Sikhs, followers of Jainism believe in quickly cremating their loved ones. According to some followers, a deceased body begins to create infinite lives through the cycle of reincarnation. The more lives, the more sins are potentially committed. To keep the soul pure, cremation should occur as soon as possible, ideally between sunset and sunrise the day after passing. In ancient times, Jains were also concerned about the health hazards of keeping an unpreserved body among the living.
Jainism Funerals and Cremation Practices
Before the cremation, family members rub their loved one’s body with a wet cloth before dressing it in clean clothing. Family members place incense, perfumed cotton, and religious objects around a simple closed casket. They recite prayers and chant as the casket is transported to the crematory. Traditionally, male family members and close friends enter the crematorium. The eldest male relative walks around the casket three times while sprinkling holy water. Jains bury the cremated remains.
Jainism is one of many world religions incorporating cremation into its belief system. Use the links below to learn about religious traditions and cremation in other faiths:
Cremation and Your Beliefs
Followers of the Jain faith prefer cremation to burial as part of their belief systems. They favor direct cremation because it allows them the flexibility to conduct their last rites in their respective places of worship or at a funeral home.
Direct cremation gives you greater flexibility when planning a memorial. Cremated remains can be buried underground, interred in a columbarium niche, or scattered. Tulip provides simple, dignified, and affordable cremation services. Please contact our expert care team with any questions or if you are ready to start preplanning.