TWELVE CONDUCT RULES
OF A SPIRITUALLY MINDED HOUSEHOLDER
(IN THE FIFTH STAGE
OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH)
One who has real
right belief is a sentient being. In the absence of the first two stages
of passions which lead to infinite births, a sentient being developes
partial spiritual purity. He is called a spiritually minded householder.
The spiritual purity,
that has been developed, is called real abstinence and in the presence of
such purity, tendency to renounce five sins and observe five partial
abstinences like non-violence are called external conduct rules. Such
feelings of merit automatically appear in a sentient being.
Such abstinences are of
twelve kinds. Partial abstinence from the five sins including violence is
called five rules of conduct of the lower stage. The second classification
of three abstinances are just to safeguard the five rules of conduct of
the lower stage and to develop them. The four training conduct rules are
just a practice of the higher observances of the state of monkhood.
FIVE CONDUCT RULES
OF THE LOWER STAGE
To renounce the
feeling of violence in a broad way is partial abstinence from violence.
Before understanding this, it is necessary to understand violence. The
loss of the purity of the activity of the soul with the rise of feelings
of passion is psychic violence and the loss of our own material vitalities
and those of others due to feelings of passion is material violence.
Purusharthasiddhiupaya Acharya Amrit Chandra has written "Rise of
imperfections like attachment in the soul is violence and their absence is
If somebody acts
carefully without any feelings of attachment and aversion and even then
some living creature is killed, that is not violence. As against this, if
somebody entertains passions in his inner self and is also careless in his
external activities, he is guilty of violence, even if no living creature
is killed or injured due to his activities and movements. To sum up,
determination of violence and non-violence does not depend upon death or
preservation of life of any being, but upon the presence or absence of the
feelings of attachments and aversions.
Violence is of four
Violence in household
activities and Contentious violence.
When feelings of cruelty
only lead to determined violence of living beings that is violence with
determination. Violence in activities like trade and commerce and those in
the household or other activities, in spite of the care to avoid it, are
called business violence and violence in household activities.
unwillingly with a view to protect our family and religious places is
householder renounces violence with determination completely. Feelings of
such violence do not arise in him. He also tries to keep himself away from
other three types of violence, as far as possible. This observance is
called partial abstinence from violence.
Partial observance of
To tell lies with
recklessness is untruth. Partial abstinence from telling lies is partial
observance of truth. Untruth is of four kinds :
(i) Perversion of truth
(ii) Propounding untruth
(iii) Telling otherwise
(iv) Harsh and cruel speech
(i) Saying that things
in existence do not exist is perversion of truth.
(ii) Saying that things
that have no existence, do exist is propounding untruth.
(iii) Describing things
as against their intrinsic nature e.g. to say that there is merit in
(iv) To utter
scandalous, contentious, painful words, and words opposed to the
scriptures and those leading to violence and conflicts is the use of harsh
and cruel speech.
To take anything
that entails giving and taking in the worldly sense, without the
permission of its master through recklessness is stealing. To abjure
stealing is abstinence. Though a renouncer of theft, the householder draws
water from a tank or a river and earth from mines without any asking; he
is a partial observer of non-stealing.
from indulging in sex-
Complete abstinence from
sex is celibacy. A householder, unable to observe complete celibacy,
remains satisfied with his own wife and altogether renounces indulgence in
other women. This observance being partial is called partial abstinence
from indulging in sex.
Limitation of worldly
Accumulativeness is a
desire for possession of non-self entities. It is of two kinds - external
and internal. Internal accumulativeness comprises of fourteen stickings
like wrong faith, anger, pride, deceit, greed, and nine mild passions.
External possessions are land, house, gold, silver, grain, wealth,
servants and utensils etc. Out of the above, the householder renounces
wrong faith altogether. He renounces others partially, because he has
tints of passions left in him. He imposes a limit to all external
possessions. This is called limitation of worldly possessions.
THE FIVE CONDUCT
regional abstinence, and abstinence from unnecessary demerits are
observances to safeguard the five conduct rules.
having softness of passions, imposes limitations on his movements in all
the ten directions, on the basis of famous places. This is direction
The broad limitations of
direction abstinence are further minimised to movements during particular
hours, days, weeks and months etc. This is regional abstinence.
3. Abstinence from
and inclinations towards violence and other demerits is indulgence in
unnecessary demerits. The householder observing these rules of conduct
does not, without any purpose, dig earth, throw water, burn fire, move air
and crush vegetables. He also does not indulge in such other activities,
leading to unnecessary loss of life. He abstains from violence of moving
creatures and renounces purposeless violence of stationary beings also. He
does not take interest in activities such as attachments and aversions and
keeps away from them. This is called abstinence from unnecessary demerits.
limitation of objects of sensual pleasures, and service of the saintly
beings are four training observances.
To develop oneness with
our soul, renouncing all attachments and aversions, regarding all merits
and demerits as equal and thus developing soul force is meditation. The
householder should quietly sit alone in loneliness for at least
forty-eight minutes, three times a day, to observe this rule of conduct.
To stay nearest own
soul, abandoning passions, subjects of senses and food is a fast. On every
eighth and fourteenth days of both the fortnights of the month, fasting
without indulgence in outside activities of the householder or trade and
commerce is a real fast.
This has three grades.
The super type-
To take meals once at one sitting only on both days before and after the
fasting day is the super type fast.
The medium type-
To fast only on the day fixed is the medium type of fast.
The lowest type
- To take meals once only on the day of the fast is the lowest type of
3. Limitation of
objects of sensual pleasures-
Even within the
limitations already imposed on possession of worldly objects, to decrease
the sensual involvement, is the limitation of objects of sensual
pleasures. The subjects of the five senses are of two kinds, those that
are enjoyed once only and those that are enjoyed a number of times.
4. Service of the
To offer a share of
one's meals to monks and householders and to feed them with proper
prescribed process is the service of the saintly beings.
The householder, with
real right faith, observing the twelve rules of conduct, without any
fault, follows those rules of conduct, because without real right faith
and consciousness, these rules cannot be really observed with internal
real faith and right consciousness and in the absence of passions, which
lead to infinite births, passions which hinder partial abstinence and
passions which disturb complete abstinence, the emergent purity of the
soul naturally creates cravings for these rules of conduct in the
householder. The meritorius feelings of the rules of conduct without the
consciousness of the soul is not real observance of the rules of conduct.
Dr. H.C. Bharill