Justice T.U.Mehta

Code of Conduct for Monks

The whole moral code for a Jaina monk should be viewed from a particular angle. As monk has decided to devote himself absolutely spiritualism. The house-holders are allowed to observe the five cardinal principles of Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya and Aparigraha with concessions but the monks expected to observe them very strictly.

They are also expected to have complete control over their mind and body. This is done by cultivating control over mind, called ‘Manogupti' speech, called ‘Vaggupti' and action called ‘Kayagupti'. The guptis protect the monk from Sin. The Atman receives a shelter in these guptis against the mundane circle of birth and death. As Pujyapada has put it "Yatah samsarakaranadatmano gopanam bhavati". Manogupti means freedom from thought of passions, delusions, attachment, aversion and such other impure thoughts. Vaggupti means avoidance of talk's about women politics, theft, food, etc., and refraining from telling a lie. Kayagupti means renunciation of such violent actions as piercing, beating, contracting, expanding, etc. They are also expected to accept five types of ‘Samitis' (limitations). The word Samiti coming from the root (to go) with Sam prefix, means vigilance in behaviour, namely, Irya, to take care in walking so as not to hurt anybody; Bhasa, to take care in speaking so as not hurt anyone; ‘Esana', to take care in accepting alms so as to receive the same in accordance with the rules prescribed for monastic order; ‘Adana-niksepana' and ‘Utsarga' or Pratisthapana, both require care in taking and giving as well as in throwing away bodily refuse. The central idea of all these different types of limitations and restrictions is Ahimsa. One should not think, speak or do anything which even most remotely would involve the element of violence. The standards prescribed for monks are so much strict and rigid that to suit the modern age many adjustments are required to be made. For instance, as a rule, the Monks have to go on foot wherever they want to go. They therefore cannot use a vehicle. They also cannot use a microphone. If these limitations are rigidly followed, bulk of the society would be deprived of their contact and preaching. However, it should be remembered that these limitations are prescribed keeping in mind only one principle namely, each one of us is expected to concentrate upon his own individual emancipation and if we can, successfully do it social emancipation is bound to follow.