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Today, after extensive research, they believe Jainism significantly predates Buddhism while there remains much debate on whether Hinduism and Jainism developed around the same time. and set forth many of teachings still seen in Jainism today.
As far as scholars can ascertain, Hinduism likely began before 2,000 B. Hindus believe in the cycle of creation and destruction in all things and that God is a creator and destroyer with many forms.
Hindu gods are manifestations of this greater God that, in essence, is one with all existence.
When Hindus reach paradise, liberated from reincarnation, their soul merges with God who is one with the universe.
Jains believe the soul remains intact in paradise, living as an individual in perfection.
Jains do not believe the gods choose who may be liberated.
Instead, they believe it is a person's responsibility to cleanse themselves of karma and in doing so, release the divinity of their own soul, delivering them to Moksha.
This means that while the Hindus try to do the right things to atone for a spiritual debt, Jains follow practices intended to purify the soul of a polluting force.
This greatly influences their concepts of reincarnation.
To outsiders, Hinduism and Jainism can often look very similar.
The thousands of years Jains and Hindus have lived among each other in India provided ample opportunity for mutual influence.