In Jainism, a Tirthankara is a saviour and spiritual teacher of the dharma. The word Tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha, which is a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths, the saṃsāra. According to Jains, a Tirthankara is a rare individual who has conquered the saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on his own and made a path for others to follow. After understanding the true nature of the Self or soul, the Tīrthaṅkara attains Kevala Jnana, and the first Tirthankara refounds Jainism. Tirthankara provides a bridge for others to follow the new teacher from saṃsāra to moksha.
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