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Five Supreme Beings

Five Supreme Beings (pañca paramesthin, those at the highest stage), the five exemplary modes of being for Jains. Highest are the tirthaṅkaras; next are the siddhas, the liberated souls (jīva); then the guides on earth (acarya) who lead monks and nuns; then the teachers of monks and nuns (upadhyāya); then monks. They are approached in reverence and homage through pañca namaskāra (the five homages), a mantra which offers homage to each of the five groups.

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