Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life
INTRODUCTION
SYNOPTIC PHILOSOPHY
APPROACH TO REALITY
THE JAINA THEORY OF THE SOUL
CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE
  THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA IN JAINA PHILOSOPHY
 

THE PATHWAY TO PERFECTION

 

IN THIS OUR LIFE

  MEN OR GODS
 

GENERAL INDEX


Chapter-2 : APPROACH TO REALITY

 

I.                  Jainism is realistic and pluralistic. Its philosophy is based on logic and experience. Moksa is the ultimate aim of life. It is realised by the three-fold path of right intution, right knowledge and right conduct. Right knowledge is possible by the right approach to the problem of life. Anekanta, the Jainas believe, gives us the right approach to looking at the fundamental non- violent attitude of the Jainas. It is the expression of intellectual non- violence.

In surveying the field of Indian philosophy, Dr.padmarajiah mentions five types of philosophy considered from the point of view of the nature of reality. They are:

1.         1.       Philosophy of Being � samkara represents this school of thought

Or identity.

2.       Philosophy of Becoming (change or difference) Buddhism          

          Buddhism presents this view.

3.       Philosophy subordinating difference to identity-

i) The samkhya ii) Bhedabhedacada and

iii) Visistadavaita hold this attitude.   

1. Philosophy subordinating identity to difference-

i) The vaisesika, ii) Dvaita of Madhvacrya gives this view.

2.  Philosophy co-ordinating both identity and difference �

The Jaina view of reality presents this attitude.

Jainism meets the extremes and presents a view of reality which comprehends the various sides of reality to give a synthetic picture of the whole. It recognises the principle of distinction and develops the comprehensive scheme of anekanta Realism. Anekanta is the �most consistent form of realism�, as it allows the principal of distinction to run its full course until it reaches its logical terminus on the theory of manifold reality andkonwledge.

     Anekanta consists in a many- sided approach to the study of problem. It emphasizes a catholic outlook towards all that we see and experience. Intellectual tolerance is the foundation of the doctrine. It arose as an antidote to the one-sided and absolute approach to the study of reality of the philosophers at the time. It arose out of the confusion of the problem of the nature of reality. The Upanisadic philosophers sought to find the facts of experiences. This search gave rise to many philosophical theories. Buddhism tried to presents a fresh and a different approach in the Madhyana pratipada Drsti. The Anekanta view presents a coherent picture of the philosophies, pointing out the important truths in each of them. It looks at the problem from various points of view. The cardinal principal of the Jaina philosophy is its Anekanta, which emphasize that �there is not only diversity but that real is equally diversified. 

II.               Although Anekanta was a special feature of the Jaina point of view, it is possible to say that some other schools of thought were aware of this view. In Buddhist philosophy the phrase majjhima magga bears  the same significance as Anekanta. Pandit sukhalaji sanghavi, in his introduction to the sanmati Tarka, says that the doctrine of Anekanta and the madhyma marag have great resemablence in the fundamental idea underlying them. Anatmavada of sanjaya, vibhajjavada, madhyma pratipada which induced the Buddha to treat all prevalent opinions with respect may be mentioned as expression of Anekanta attitude. Similarly Bhedabheda- vada of Bhartrprapance is referred to as Anekanta. Gautama, the Buddha, faced the confusion of thought presented in his time about the about the ultimate nature of reality. He was silent about these problems. In Digha Nikaya, Gautma says �It is not that I was, it is not that I will be, I will not be; it is not that I am, I am not� The Buddha described his attitude to Manavaka as Vibhajjavada. This is similar to Anekanta, although it is not so clearly defined and developed. No specific words suggesting the doctrine of Anekanta are found in the philosophic literature of ancient India. It is suggested that the doctrine of evolution as propounded by the Samkhya School imply the Anekanta attitude. However, the Jainas perfected the doctrine and systematized it. The Buddhist philosopher sanataraksita makes mention of the Anekanta of the vipremimamsakas, Nigghantas and kaplia samkhayas. Among the Jaina exponents, Mahavira practised the attitude and is supposed to have expresses it in the syadvada.