Jain, a Digamber nun, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India - Stock Image

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Ajmer, India - October 26, 2011: a photograph of a nun from the Digamber sect of the Jains (Jainism). This shot was taken when a group of Jain nuns and monks were visiting the Jain community in Ajmer in Rajasthan, India. This nun is pouring water from a special earthen container which she carries including a large brush made from peacock feathers used to brush away insects. These are her only worldly possessions. The shot was taken during the rainy season in India which the Jains call "Caturmas".
Jainism is an ancient religion, an off-shoot of Hinduism, and coterminous with Buddhism. Jains belong to one of two sects: Digambers (sky-clad and ascetics can often be seen wandering entirely in the nude) and Svetambers. The nun in this photograph is a Digamber. She is however wearing a white sari; it is only males of a certain seniority who go nude. The more advanced ascetics (religiously speaking) wear nothing at all. Ahimsa, non-violence, is a central tenet of Jainism. Jain communities in India are extremely prosperous. It is only during the monsoon months in India, known as Caturmas to the Jains, that the monks and nuns stop wandering for about three months during which time they are looked after by local Jain communities.
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