The life of an ascetic begins with
initiation. First he gives away his clothing and jewels to relatives, and
dons the dress of an ascetic (sadhu), three upper garments and two lower
ones which vary in color according to sect. Next, he has his hair
removed. From now on he is a homeless wanderer and must remain
possessionless except for his robes, a few pieces of cloth with which to
strain insects from his daily drink of water, a cloth mask with which to
cover his mouth for fear of hurting the air, a few wooden jugs or gourds,
and a brush or whisk with which to sweep insects from the path before him.
The five great vows taken by the Jain
ascetic are stricter versions of the first five taken by the layman:
kill any living thing, whether five, four, three, and two, sensed or
immovable (one-sensed), even through carelessness.
only of what is pleasant, wholesome and true.
take what is not given.
Chastity�to have no
dealings with gods, human beings or animals of the opposite sex.
To renounce love for
any thing or person, which means ending all likes and dislikes with
regard to sounds, colors or smells as well as people; in other words,
to be indifferent to anything mediated through the senses.
As there exists an ideal for the Jain
layman, so too there exists the picture of a perfect monk, It has been
said that the true ascetic should possess twenty-seven qualities, for he
must keep the five vows, never eat at night, protect all living things,
control his five senses, renounce greed, practice forgiveness, possess
high ideals, and inspect everything he uses to make sure that no insect
life is injured. He must also be self-denying and carefully keep the
three rules for controlling mind, speech and body, he must endure
hardships in the twenty-two ways, and bear suffering till death.