|Handbook of Jainism||
Fourth stage of development: part-1
As soon as the state of "delusion", the first of the four instrumental causes of mundane existence is removed or controlled, the right attitude (samyaktva) of thought towards the truth comes out; we are convinced then that it is wrong to kill or injure living beings, and there is a relish of this conviction; also, instead of disliking and denying the truth, we like and relish it.
Our whole progress depends upon acquiring or rather manifesting this right attitude. And it is present actually in all remaining stages of development above the third.
Until this attitude is attained all philosophy, concentration, etc., will be false.
As this attitude is important, we want to know how it can be attained. There are some thirty-five rules the practice of which will bring us to this stage; and three processes which have to be gone through, after which we shall have the right attitude. There are certain internal signs by which we may know whether or not it has been reached by us; we believe in the truth without any vacillation; we do not have the degree of anger towards any person to the extent that we feel we could never forgive him or be friendly the whole of our lifetime. That intensity of anger towards any person does not rise up; it is controlled by the mind. Not only anger but also pride, deceit, and greed.
The following are five inward signs or characteristics of the right attitude of thought towards the universe in which we find ourselves:
DEITY, TEACHER, RULES OF CONDUCT
When we are in this state of right attitude then we have certain very definite convictions regarding three principles, viz., the deity, the spiritual teacher and rules of life.
Deity, in the Jain doctrine, is the highest ideal, that we keep before the mind with the object that ultimately shall become like him. If the person does not reach this ideal with all its grandeur in the bodily state as did the Master (Tirthankara), still the person will reach the state of Deity in liberation where all are equal. The Master is a person, not an abstract idea, having attained an ideal manhood, and living, while on earth in the body, among his brothers and sisters; his relationship to other human beings is not that they are his children.
When the right attitude is attained then the person will have a strong conviction that only those are Masters in whom the following eighteen failings are absent.
None of the eight class of energies (antaraya karmas) must be found in him, there are five in this class, and so we have the first five absent failings. There must be no weakness or inability to do any right action he might wish to do.
It is said that the last Master, Mahavira, whom history describes, possessed these eighteen qualifications.
When the right attitude of thought is attained, any being or person that is held up as a deity in whom any one of the above eighteen faults is discovered, will not be regarded as deity. And the deity should be critically examined to see if all these failings are absent.
The deity is not one who issues laws that must be obeyed; nor is he a creator of the universe.
THE SPIRITUAL TEACHER
What sort of a person is able to teach us spiritual truth in the absence of an omniscient Master? When we have attained the right attitude we shall feel convinced that the only kind of person who can teach us the truth about spiritual matters in the absence of the omniscient Master is one who has the five characteristics mentioned below. Such a teacher may be a man or a woman.
Of animate objects he does not accept any, even if offered by its owner; because although the owner of a parrot, for instance, may be willing to hand the bird over to a teacher, there is the question as to whether the bird is willing to be handed over; and as all things should claim their freedom, the teacher would not take the bird even if it were willing.
Of inanimate objects he will not take anything that has been made specially for him, food, etc., because by doing so he would share in the consequences (karma) of producing the article.
If the teacher has a superior teacher, or the Master, and is told by him not to take certain things, then these things must not be taken. The obedience here required is not like that of a soldier to his superior officer; the teacher would not kill if told to.
It is said that there are at present living in India monks who possess there five qualifications, and who could be found by inquiring.
RULES OF CONDUCT
This is the third subject upon which very defiant convictions are held when we attain the right attitude the signs of which are now being added to. A body of rules of conduct does two things: it keeps a man from falling, and it helps him to advance.
These rules are rules relating to social life; because all living beings are social. It is by means of our relations with other living beings that our development progresses, and not in solitude. The ultimate outcome of these rules is the doing of good towards other living beings.
When a person has reached the right attitude he is convinced that any body of rules of conduct must be based on sympathy, love, pity, compassion, etc., (daya); he is convinced that any body of rules of conduct which is based on injury or killing of living beings cannot be the truth. And this conviction is very strong. He cannot, therefore, follow any religion which requires the sacrificing of animals; there must be a feeling for others.