Five great vows

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Five great vows (mahāvrata). Vows undertaken by Jain ascetics, accepted as fundamental to Mahāvīra's teaching by both Digambaras and Śvetambāras. They are (i) ahiṃsā, the avoidance of killing any life-form; (ii) satya, speaking and thinking the truth, and avoiding lies; (iii) asteya, not taking what is not given; (iv) brahmacharya, renunciation of all sexual activity, including any kind of contact with women; (v) aparigraha, detachment from all objects of the senses, and from possessions. A later sixth vow forbids eating after dark. For the lay (and less demanding) equivalents, see ANUVRATA.