Sanskrit जिनयान, from:
- जिन jina: very old, victorious, vishnu, victor, buddha
- यान yana: vehicle, chariot
Jinayana refers to the oldest religion in the world, the root religion at the base of all traditions. All religions can be traced back to it. The ancient initiates of that root religion can be called jinns, jina, or jains.
While the modern Jain tradition also came from the ancient Jinayana, the two are quite different and should not be confused.
It should also be noted that some Spanish speakers have conflated Jinayana with the Buddhist tradition Hinayana, but they are not the same. (This confusion may partly exist because in Spanish "j" is pronounced like the English h in "hill," but in Sanskit the "j" is pronounced hard, like in "job." See Hinayana.