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Five great vows

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.

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