An ancient religion from India with 6-7 million followers that emphasizes non-violence, open-mindedness, and non-possessiveness, Jainism began in the 6th century with the intent of reforming Hinduism. Based on the teachings of its founder Mahavira, it promotes a life of self-denial as the way to achieve “enlightenment”.  According to the beliefs of Jainists, Mahavira descended from heaven.  He committed no sins, and by the practice of meditation he freed himself from all earthly desires.