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:
Not feeling the degree of anger, etc., just mentioned.
A desire to reach the state of everlasting life, or liberation from mundane existence.
The recognition that this continual going on from incarnation to incarnation is not the right state of life; looking upon any embodied state of existence as a misery and one to be got away from.
Compassion towards those who are suffering from any kind of misery. If the misery is due to the ignorance and foolishness of the individual, then there is still pity for him that he should be thus ignorant. (It is the duty of society to lessen the extent of suffering which exists in it.)
The conviction that that only is a true code of rules of life which has been taught by the omniscient, or persons in whom the eighteen failings are absent. These eighteen failings are given later on.
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.
Laughing and joking must have disappeared. Laughing as a rule is on the occasion of some unfamiliar idea or connection of ideas, and when such is the case it shows imperfect knowledge; and there must not be anything with which the ideal man is unfamiliar.
He has no liking (rati) for this, that, or the other thing, that is, material objects. He is always in a state of internal bliss whether the object is there or not. Also, liking an object, a cushion seat, for instance, would be a source of displeasure at its loss. It is attachment to sensation that is the point here as a failing.
He has no positive dislike for any object. Dislike is a source of misery, and there must be no misery in the ideal.
Fear has disappeared. There is fear in us for the loss of our body, our reputation, our property, because we identify ourselves with them, considering them the factors of our being, and we have not realized that the real self is different from our goods, etc., and that our real self cannot be injured by any force, shows lack of knowledge, and weakness.
He has no feeling of disgust or sense of repulsion. The sense of disgust produces a kind of misery; also if all the aspects of a thing are known then there is no sense of disgust.
Sorrow is absent; it is a kind of misery. (He may have pity and compassion.)
Lust or sexual passion has disappeared entirely.
His attitude of belief and conviction is correct. All signs of anger, greed, killing, have gone.
Ignorance has gone, and therefore he is omniscient.
He never goes into the state of sleep. If there is any hitch in the continuity of his omniscience then he is not the Master.
He has perfect control over desires; over any desire to please or indulge the eye, the ear, taste, touch or smell.
He has no attachments to things or persons. He makes no effort, nor has he any desire to keep or to get material things or worldly pleasure (raga).
He has no hatred of persons or things.
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.
He does not destroy any form of life, animal, vegetable, or mineral (water for instance), through carelessness of body, speech, or mind. It is, therefore, impossible for him to be a layman.
His speech is actually truth in fact, and is spoken in a pleasant way, and is spoken only when the teacher thinks that it is beneficial to the person to whom it is spoken.
He does not take anything which is not given to him by its owner, and he takes only those things which are necessary for the maintenance of his body.
Things which can be given are of two kinds : (1) animate, (2) inanimate.
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.
He has entirely given up the sex passion.
He does not own any property in the sense of ownership as understood in law. His clothing is given to him, but he does not have them as “owing” them.
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.