ETHICS OF JAINISM
On the same lines among the Digambara texts, the reputed work entitled
S`ravakachara, i.e., Rules of Conduct for the householders, composed by
the most revered Acharya Amitagati, has given the following list of eleven
gunas, i.e., attributes of a pdrama-sravaka, i.e., best householder :
(1) Kama-asuyd-maya-matsara-paisunya-dainya-madahina (��ִֆ�����-��ֵ��-�֟�ָ�-����㭵�-������-�֤���߭�
): Devoid of lust, envy, deceipt, anger, backbiting, meanness and vain
(2) Dhira (��߸�) : Steadfast.
(3) Prasanna-chitta (����֮�ד֢�) : Of contented mind.
(4) Priyamvada (ׯ�ϵ�Ӿ֤�) : Fair-spoken.
(5) Vatsala (�֟�ֻ�) : Tender-hearted.
(6) Kusala (����ֻ�) : Competent.
(7) Heyadeya-patistha (�����֤����-��י��) : skilled in discerning what
is to be accepted and what to be eschewed.
(8) Gurucharanaradhanodayata-manisa (�����ָ���ָ�֭֬�����֟�-�֭����)
: Ready in mind to adore guru�s feet;
(ו֭�-�֭֓�-�����-�����-þ�֭��:-����Ӎ� )- Having the taints on one�s
heart washed clean by the Jina�s words.
(10) Bhava-vibhiru (��־�-ֳ�߹�) : Apprehensive of the samsara
(�֭��ߍ����-�֍���-��ֵ�-�����-���۬�� ) : Having�s one�s lust for
sensual objects diminshed.
Thus it is clear that both the Digambara and Swetambara texts have been
very particular about impressing on the minds of Sravakas their
responsibility to lead proper religious life and to become useful members
As regards these principles of appropriate conduct for laymen it can be
said in general that if the householder would carefully observe these
principles of conduct, he would come into the posses�sion of following
qualities which every true gentleman should possess. He would be serious
in demeanour, clean as regards both his person and clothes, good-tempered,
popular, merciful, afraid of sinning, straight-forward, wise, modest,
kind, moderate, gentle, careful in speech, sociable, cautious, studious,
reverent both to old age and ancient customs, humble, grateful, benevolent
and attentive to business.
3. ETHICAL CODE FOR ASCETICS
(1) Enunciation of Rigorous Rules
When a layman consistently observes the rules of conduct pres�cribed for
the householders and especially attains all pratimas, i.e., stages, he is
qualified to become an ascetic. The admission into the order of monks is
accompanied by the impressive ceremony known as drksa or initiation
ceremony. This ceremony makes the layman a member of the order of
ascetics. The order of ascetics (includingnuns) is one of the two orders
in which Jaina community has been divided from the very beginning, and the
other order is that of laymen (including lay-women).
It is worth noting that there is a close connection between these two
orders and the stage of Aavakas i.e. laymen, has been preliminary, and, in
many cases, preparatory to the stage of sadhus, i.e., ascetics. Because of
this intimate relationship we find that the rules prescribed for laymen
and ascetics do not differ in kind but in degree. The same rules of
conduct observed by laymen are to be followed by ascetics with the only
difference that while laymen practise them partially or less vigorously,
the ascetics have to observe them fully ana more rigorously. That is why
we have seen that the main five vows of householders are known as
anuvratas or small vows, and the same become mahavratas or great vows when
practised by ascetics.
This is obvious that the ascetic stage signifies absolute renunciation of
the world and the only objective in this stage is to concentrate energy on
the attainment of moksa, i.e., final salvation. Asceticism is a higher
course in spiritual training and it is in this stage that real efforts are
made to achieve sarrivara (the stoppage of influx of karmas) and to have
nirjara (the shedding of existing karmas) with a view to attain nirvana
(salvation of the soul). It is laid down that to attain nirvana a man must
abandon all trammels, including his clothes. Only by a long course of
fasting, self-mortification, study and meditation, he can rid himself of
karmas, and only by the most rigorous discipline he can prevent fresh
karmas from entering his soul. Hence a monastic life is quite essential
Therefore very minute rules of conduct are prescribed for the ascetics who
have to observe them without any fault or transgression. Obviously in
these rules, prominence has been assigned to the rules meant for achieving
sa�tvara (stoppage of influx of karmas) and nirjara (shedding of existing
(2) Rules for Samvara
Samvara is the stoppage of influx of karmic matter into the soul and this
stoppage is effected by the observance of three kinds of gupti (control),
five kinds of .samiti (carefulness), ten kinds of dharma (virtues), twelve
kinds of anupreksa (meditations or reflections), twenty-two kinds of
parisaha jaya, (subdual of sufferings) and five kinds of charitra
The flow of karmas into the atman or soul is caused by the activities of
body, speech and mind; so it is quite necessary for the ascetics to keep
these channels of influx under strict control, i.e., to observe the guptis.
The three guptis are regulations with reference to controlling one�s inner
nature, that is, they are dictated by the principles of self-control.
(i) Mano-gupti is regulation of mind in such a way as to give room only to
(ii) 0ag-gupti is regulation of speech; it consists in observing silence
for a particular period or in speaking only as much as is absolutely
(iii) Kaya-gupti is regulation of one�s bodily activity.
It is just possible that even in performing the duties of an ascetic, the
vows might be transgressed out of inadvertence. Hence as a precautionary
measure the samitis (acts of carefulness) are prescribed. The samitis are
designed with a view to cultivate the habit of carefulness in accordance
with the principle of ahinisa (non-injury). The samitis are prescriptions
for the regulation of the movements of the body and are of five kinds as
(i) Irya-samiti : It aims at regulation of walking, so as not to injure
any living being.
(ii) Bhasa Samiti : It regulates the mode of speech with a view to avoid
the hurting of other�s feelings by the use of offensive words.
(iii) Esana-samiti : It regulates eating food in a prescribed manner and
especially with a view to avoid faults.
(iv) Adana-niksepa samiti : It regulates the actions of taking or using,
and of putting away, of his accessories like kamandalu, pichchhi, sastra,
(v) Utsarga-samiti : It regulates the movements connected with the
answering of call of nature, etc.
It is pertinent to note that although these five samitis can be strictly
observed only by ascetics, these are also desirable to some extent in the
daily life of sravakas or laymen. For example, it is expected that a
devoted layman should avoid treading on growing plants, should never leave
a vessel filled with a liquid substance uncovered, and should not ever use
an open light, lest insects might rush into it and be killed.
Both the three guptis and the five samitis are sometimes grouped together
under the name of ast-pravachana-matrka, i.e. `The Eight Mothers of the
Creed�, on account of their fundamental character.
It is always asserted that mainly due to the kasayas (passions) the soul
assimilates karmas. Hence it is laid down that the four kasayas, of krodha
(anger), mana (pride), maya (deceptions) and lobha (greed), must be
counteracted by cultivating ten uttama dharmas, i.e., supreme virtues:
uttama-ksama (supreme foregiveness), uttama-mardava (sup�reme humility or
tenderness), uttama-arjava (supreme honesty or straightforwardness),
uttama-saucha (supreme purity or content�ment), uttama-satya (supreme
truthfulness), uttama-samyama (supreme self-restraint), uttama-tapa
(supreme austerities), uttama-tyaga (supreme renunciation),
uttama-akinchanya (supreme non-attachment) and uttama-brahmacharya
With a view to cultivate the necessary religious attitude, it is enjoined
on the ascetics to constantly reflect on twelve religious topics known as
anupreksas (meditations or reflections). It is laid down that these
anupreksirs should be meditated upon again and again. These twelve
anupreksns are as follow:
(i) Anitya : everything is subject to change or is transitory. (ii)
Asarana : unprotectiveness or helplessness. The feeling that soul is
unprotected from fruition of karmas, for example, death etc. (iii)
Sarrisara : mundaneness. Soul moves in the cycle of births and deaths and
cannot attain true happiness till it is cut off: (iv) Ekatva: loneliness.
I am alone. the doer of my actions and the enjoyer of the fruits of them.
(v) Anyatva : separateness. The world, my relatives and friends, my body
and mind; they are all different and separate from my real self. (vi)
Asuchi : impurity. The body is impure and dirty. (vii) Asrava v inflow.
The inflow of karmas is the cause of my mundane existence and it is the
product of passions. (viii) Sarrivara -stoppage. The inflow of karmas must
be stopped by cultivating necessary virtues. (ix) Nirjara : shedding.
Karmic matter should be destroyed or shaken off the soul by the practice
of penances. (x) Loka : universe. The nature of the universe and its
constituent elements in all their vast variety proving the insignificance
and miserable nothingness of man in time and space. (xi) Bodhi-derrlabha :
rarity of religious knowledge. It is difficult to attain Right Belief,
Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. (xii) Dharma : reflection on the true
nature of religion and especially on the three-fold path of liberation as
preached by the Tirthankaras or conquerors.
These anupreksas are also termed as bhavanas, i.e., contemplations.
The Parisaha jaya
With the view to remain steady on the path of salvation and to destroy the
karmic matter, it has been laid down that ascetics should bear cheerfully
all the troubles that might cause them distraction or pain. These troubles
or hardships or afflictions through which the ascetics have to pass are
called the parisahas, i.e.. sufferings. �There are twentytwo parisahas
which monks are expected to face unflinchingly. They are : ksudha
(hunger), pipasa (thirst), sita (cold), usna (heat), damisamasaka
(insect-bite), nagnya (nakedness). arati (absence of pleasures or
disagreeable surroundings). strr (sex-passion), charya feeling (tired from
walking too much), nisadya (discomfort of conti�nuous sitting in one
posture). sayya (discomfort in sleeping or resting on hard earth).,akrosa
(censure or scold), vadha (injury), yachank (begging), alabha (failure to
get food), roga (disease), trna-sparsa (thorn-pricks or pricks of blades
of grass), mala (body dirt and impurities), satkara-puraskara (disrespect
shown by men), prajna (non-appreciation of learning), ajn6na (persistence
of ignorance) and adarsana (lack of faith or slack belief), for example,
on failure to obtain super-natural powers even after great piety and
austerities, to begin to doubt the truth of Jainism and its teachings.)
These parisahas should be ever endured, without any feeling of vexation,
by the ascetics who desire to conquer all causes of pain.
The ascetics are also expected to strive to observe five kinds of conduct
: samayika (equanimity), chhedopasthapana (recovery of equanimity after a
fall from it), Parihara-visuddhi (pure and absolute non-injury).
suksma-samparaya (all but entire freedom from passion) and yathakhyata
(ideal and passionless conduct).
These five kinds of conduct help to maintain the sprititual discipline of
(3) Rules for Nirjard
Along with samvara (the stoppage of the influx of the karmic matter into
the soul) the ascetics have to strive to effect nirjara (the gradual
removal of karmic matter from the soul), if they have to proceed further
on their path of salvation.
The main step to nirjara, i.e., shedding of the karmas, is the observance
of tapas (penance or austerities), which is included in the Right Conduct.
Tapas is of two kinds, viz., (a) bahya tapa i.e., external austerities,
referring to food and physical activities, and (b) abhyantara tapa i.e.
internal austerities, referring to spiritual discipline. Each of these two
types of tapa is of six kinds.
(A) The Bahya Tapa
The six external austerities are as follows : anasana (fasting),
avamaudarya (eating less than one�s fill, or less then one has appetite
for), vrtti parisamkhyana (taking a mental vow to accept food from a
householder only if certain conditions are fulfilled without letting any
one know about the vow), rasa parityaga (daily renunciation of one or more
of six kinds of delicacies, namely, ghee i.e. clarified butter, milk,
curd, sugar, salt and oil), vivikta-sayyasana (sitting and sleeping in a
secluded place, devoid of animate beings) and kayaklesa (morti�fication of
the body so long as the mind is not disturbed).
(B) The Abhyantara Tapa
The six kinds of internal austerities are : prayaschitta (expiation or
confession and repentance of sins), vinaya (reverence or modest behaviour);
vaiyavrttya (rendering service to other saints), svadhyaya (study of
scriptures), vyutsarga (giving up attachment to the body) and dhyana
(concentration of mind).
These external and internal penances show what a rigorous life of
self-denial the ascetics have to lead. The ascetic is to sustain the body
with minimum feeding and to take maximum work from it in the attainment of
his spiritual ideal. In Jainism an elaborate technique of fasting has been
evolved and the ascetic is trained all along his career so efficiently
that when the hour of death comes, he accepts voluntary fasting and gives
up the body as easily as one would throw off the old garment. The ascetic
has always to take exercise in fasting by observing series of fasts
Among the internal penances special significance is attached to dhyana
(meditation) because it is considered as the most important spiritual
exercise whereby alone the soul can make progress on the path of salvation
and can destroy all the karmas. Feelings like attachment for beneficial
and aversion from harmful objects have to be given up to attain
concentration of mind, which is the prerequisite of successful meditation.
It is always emphasised that the sukla dhyana (pure meditation) ultimately
leads the soul to salvation because in sukla dhyana an attempt is made for
complete cessation of physical, verbal and mental activities. When the
entire stock of karmas is exhausted by following the rules of conduct laid
down by Jaina ethics. the soul shoots up to the top of the universe where
the liberated souls stay for ever.
It is evident that the rules of conduct and the austerities which a Jaina
ascetic has to observe, are of an extremely difficult character and that
only a person who is mentally prepared for a life of renunciation can be
initiated into the stage. Obviously, only a person who is imbued with full
faith in the validity of Jaina philosophy and is possessed of right
knowledge of soul and matter in all their aspects and is prepared for a
life of penance and austerities can be a successful Jaina ascetic.
(4) Attributes of Ascetics
According to Jainism an ascetic is expected to possess certain Mula�gunas,
i.e., primary attributes or basic qualities. The concept of the Mula-gunas
has been greatly developed by the Digambara sect of Jainas. It is
prescribed in the Digambara texts that a sadhu (ascetic) must possess the
following twentyeight mula-gunas or basic attributes, the rigour of which
is increased stage by stage:
These twentyeight Mula-gunas are : 1-5. The five great vratas or Vows;
6-10. The five samitis, or carefulness; 11-15. Controlling of five senses:
16-21. The six Avasyakas or essential duties: 22. Removal of hair with
one�s own hands periodically; 23. Nakedness; 24. Non� bathing; 25.
Sleeping on hard ground; 26. Refraining from cleansing the teeth: 27.
Taking food standing, and 28. Eating not more than once a day.
These virtues are termed root-virtues, because in their absence - other
saintly virtues cannot be acquired.
(5) Classes of Ascetics
The ascetics are divided into different classes according to the
strictness with which they observe the rules for ascetic life and their
standing or position in the order of monks. The Jaina ascetics are broadly
divided into two categories, viz., the ascetics who observe the rules of
conduct in their strictest form, without ever having recourse to
exceptions, are called Jinakalpi skdhus, and those who practise the
ascetic prescriptions in a milder form are known as sthavirakalpt sadhus
Further. the heads of the groups of saints are called Achayas, those in
charge of instruction are termed as Upadhyayas and the rest of the
ascetics are known as mere Sadhus
Moreover, there are different grades among ascetics according to the
approved stages through which the rigour of ascetic life is increased.