The end of the world in Buddhism and Jainism

The apocalypse has been speculated about for centuries, and especially in the past few decades, there have been a lot of scares. It has been dramatized by hollywood in different movies, like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. In both Buddhism and Jainism, the "apocalypse" is viewed very differently than how it is viewed on TV or in other religions. Different religions use the apocalypse as a way to make sure that people follow it, because one day they will be judged on what they did and how they followed their religion, and it provides a reason for people to live good lives and to have a positive influence. However, Jainism and Buddhism look at it differently.

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Ancient Buddha Prophecy:
"After my decease, first will occur the five disappearances. And what are the five disappearances? The disappearance of attainments, the disappearance of the method, the disappearance of learning, the disappearance of the symbols, the disappearance of the relics." (1) Buddha is saying that after he dies, bad things will eventually happen to man. They are known as the five disappearances. They are the disappearances of attainments, the method, learning, symbols, and relics. This shows that Buddhists believe that eventually things that make up our culture will disappear and man will lose a lot of things.

More Quotes:
"The Buddha told us that our world, with all its attachments, is not permanent ( a concept known as 'impermanence' in Buddhism). It changes and ends all the time." (2) In this quote, they are saying that the Buddha said that our world is not permanent. They are acknowledging that the world, eventually, will come to an end, and that it is not permanent, which means it will have an "apocalypse". However, it won't be like some other religions have portrayed, where people will go to heaven and demons will come to earth, or the world will be consumed in massive earthquakes and storms. It will be a gradual change, and is a part of a cycle which means that the world will have a new beginning once we are gone.

"Essentially the Buddha is saying 'things are gonna change no matter what… so accept that and it's going to make life a lot easier for you."(2)
The basic concept of the Buddha is that things will always change. He is saying that nothing you can do will stop things from changing. You need to accept the fact that things will always change, and once you do that you will have a better life. So, basically, Buddhist believe that things will change no matter what and once you accept that you will live a happy life.


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Jain Philosophy:
"On the contrary, it asserts that the universe has always existed and will always exist in exact adherence to the laws of the cosmos. There is nothing but infinity both in the past and in the future."(3) This shows that the belief in Jainism is that there is no apocalyptic fate of the world. They have a more vague and expansive belief in that the universe is has always existed and will always exist, no matter what. And that no matter what happens, the past present and future will always be infinite.

More Quotes:
"And this world is itself subject to a process of growth and decline. It is part of a universe which, without beginning and without end, passes through an infinite number of cosmic cycles, each divided into phases of ascent and descent during which civilization rises and falls."(4) They are saying that this world is vulnerable to advancement and growth and declination and ending. It is a part of a universe that has no beginning or end and so it will always exist. It will pass through different cycles in which civilization will have gains and losses and is infinite as long as its a part of the universe.

"Jains believe that the universe is without beginning or end. The universe did not begin at any time and it will not end at any time."(5) In Jainism, the belief is that the universe has no beginning, which means that it was not creating by a big bang, or god, or any other deity or entity, and that the universe will never end, so it is infinite and nothing can bring an end to it.
It is infinite both in its past and in the future. Even if this world does come to an end eventually through the doing of humans or through something external from this world that will affect us, the disappearance of humans will have no impact on the lifespan of this universe.


In conclusion, Jainism and Buddhism have very different views about the apocalypse and the end of the world. However, both religions view it differently than a lot of other beliefs. In Buddhism, the primary belief is that yes, the world will end. The world will end eventually and it is just a part of life because everything changes and Buddhists accept that. Over time, man will lose different qualities and values that we have now and the world as we know it will come to an end, no matter if its through our doing or some big disaster. In Jainism, the view on the apocalypse and the end of the world is a bit more vague. Jainists believe that whatever happens to the world will happen to the world. They have a more realist point of view in that the universe is infinite in both the past and the future, and the Earth is just a small part of it. No Rapture or Armageddon as some other religions foretell will happen, and however the world or the human race will end, the universe will remain, for all of eternity.

Work Cited:
Smith, Joel. "Prophecies of the Buddha." Prophecies of the Buddha. Baha'i Faith, n.d.
Web. 03 Nov. 2013.
Peto, Alan. "Buddhism and the End of the World." Alan Peto Buddhism RSS. Alan Peto, 20 Dec. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. <>.
Shah, Pravin K. "Six Universal Substances." Sacred Texts. Jain Study Center of North Carolina, 19 Jan. 1993. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. <>.

"The Universe." Jain World., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2013. <>.

"Universe,God, Jainism, Multifold Aspects, & Substance." Chapter 6: Universe, God, Jainism, Multifold Aspects, & Substance. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013. <>.