Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life
INTRODUCTION
SYNOPTIC PHILOSOPHY
APPROACH TO REALITY
THE JAINA THEORY OF THE SOUL
CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE
  THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA IN JAINA PHILOSOPHY
 

THE PATHWAY TO PERFECTION

 

IN THIS OUR LIFE

  MEN OR GODS
 

GENERAL INDEX


Chapter - 7 : IN THIS OUR LIFE

 

I. Samyakcaritra has been distinguished into two types:

i) Sakala (complete) and ii) vikala (partial). Sakala � caritra is the rigorous practice of Dharma and is to be adopted by those who are initiated as monks and who have renounced this world: It is Munidharma (the way of an ascetic). But for those who have not renounced the world it is still possible to seek the truth and pursue the path of righteousness though in a convenient and lesser degree.  That would be Vikala- caritra, the way of the householder.  There are, thus, we levels of moral life.  The polarity of house � holder and   ascetic is indeed one of the most characteristic features of the Jaina structure.  The layman has the obligation to cherish his family, the monk must sever all ties with them.  The monk is excessive since his life is a negation of compromise; while moderation must be the key- note o existence for the house- holder whose life is rooted on compromise.

          II.Muni- dharma at seeking salvation through the practice of strict moral and spiritual injunctions.  Of these, the five vratas (vows) are important.  They are 1) ahimsa (nonviolence); 2) satya (truth); 3) asteya (non-stealing); 4) Brahmacarya (celibacy); and 5) aparigrha (non- possession).  It is difficult to translate these words in proper from. The Vratas have to be practised rigorously and without exception.  In this sense the vratas to be practised by the ascetics are called Mahavratas (great vows).  �The reverence towards life (Albert Schweitzer has put it) by which the realm of life was so immeasurably extended, permeates the discipline of Mahavira�s order in a way no other ethical prescription does.  We can observe it entering into the fields of other vows like truthful speech as arising out of passion.  The vow of non- possession is equally important.  A monk is not allowed to possess anything, in some cases including a piece of cloth.  The vow of chastity has a large effective range.  � The prescriptions cohering with it do not refer to normal sexuality only, but they frequently also indicate events of sexual pathology�.  According to one tradition, the fifth was added by vardhamana Mahavira, the twenty third Trithankara did not mention celibacy as a vow.  In a discussion between kesi, a disciple of parsva and Gautama, a disciple of Mahavira, it was made clear that the addition of the fifth did not imply any major deviation from the teachings of the Jinas, but was an outcome of circumstance.  It indicated a fall in the standards of monastic moral life as there was sufficient interval of time between the last two Trithankaras.  Later it is sometimes suggested that the sixth vow raj- bhoyanao veramanam (abstaining from taking food at night) was added with the main intention of avoiding injury to life in the dark.  This was primarily meant as injunction for the householder as the ascetic takes only one meal a day at midday.  It is a special case of ahimsa.  In fact the entire ethical structure of the ahimsa.  We find this expressed in the other injunctions to be followed by the ascetics.  The ascetics have to practise: 1) the five Mahavratas,  2) five samiti, 3) the control in five senses. 4) six avasyakas, other practices like I) loca (plucking the hair on the head with hands), ii) acelakatva (abstaining from the use of covering of any sort.

 

iii) asnana (abstaining from bath), iv) prthicisayana, v) adantadhavana (abstaining from cleaning teeth), vi) sthitibhojana ( taking food offered by the lay disciple, by using the palm only and by standing), viii) ekabhukta ( taking one meal a day).  The five samitis are I) irya- samiti (restriction on movement), ii) bhasa- samiti (restriction on speech).  iii) esana- samiti (taking pure and permissible food), iv) adana- niksepa ( careful use movement of the necessary objects like kamandalu, a pot for use of water etc..)  and v) pratisthapana- samiti ( answering the nature calls in solitary places).  The practice of vows and other injuctions has to be carefully done by the ascetic without exception.  The life of a monk is hard and rigorous in this sense.  His object is to attain Moksa, and for this purpose rigorous mortification of the body has to be practised.  The practice of vows is threefold: in body, mind and speech.

          The infraction of the practice of vows and other injunctions has also to be threefold: i) by oneself, ii) by getting others to commit violation, and iii) by acquiescing in the act of violation.

          A muni is not to cover himself with any type of clothes or decoration made of cotton, wool, bark of a tree or even grass.  He is forbidden to take bath (asnana).  He should sleep with care on one side where there is little possibility of injury to living being including the tiniest insects.  He should not clean his teeth, nails and other parts of the body nor should he decorate himself in any way ( adanta- dhavana).  He should eat taking the food on the palm standing on a clean and purified place, and he should eat only once a day midday.  These are included in the twenty- eight basic mulagunas of a Muni.  Rigorous restrictions are imposed on an ascetic; which if imposed on the layman it would not be possible for him to practise in conformity with his responsibility of household life.

          The Dasavaikalika- sutra gives description of the essential qualities required of an ascetic.  One who is self- controlled, who is free passion and is non- attached is a real Muni.  He saves his soul and hose of others.  Such self- controlled persons go to heaven (deva- loka), or are freed from the bonds of life according to the degree of destruction of Karma.  One who gets to heaven is reborn and has to continue his struggle for the destruction of the remaining karma ultimately to attain Moksa.