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 - 7 : IN THIS OUR LIFE

 

          I.       We have so far seen the pathway to perfection through the practice of Yoga and the stages of self- realization.  But the transcendental perfection is to be rooted in the empirical life; as we cannot ignore the empirical for the transcendental.  We have first to learn to live a good life in this world and then we can go higher to spiritual perfection, or else it would be like one aiming at climbing the Mount Everest without setting a foot on the base camp or without training oneself for mountaineering.  Moral excellence is, therefore, as much important as spiritual perfection.

It has been alleged that the Jaina outlook, as of other ancient Indian though, is negative.  In their zeal for the otherworldly ends they have ignored the things of the world; lie negation and not life affirmation is the dominant spirit of their outlook; and it is throughout pessimistic.  For Jains ultimate spiritual excellence could be attained by the gradual process of getting moral excellence.  The good man can reach the destiny of perfection of the soul.  There is no short cut to moksa.  As we have seen in the last chapter, Schweitzer maintains that the problem of deliverance in the Jaina and the Buddhist though is not raised beyond ethics.  In fact it was the supreme ethic, and it was an event full of significance for the thought of India.  And in Indian though category of Dharma is important.  �So far as the actual ethical content is concerned, Buddhism Jainism and Himduism are not inferior to others.�  Suffering in the world is a fact: sarvam duhkham was one of the cardinal principles of the Buddha.  Misery leads to think of an escape from the bonds of this life.  In this sense all philosophy is pessimistic.  But, the ultimate ideal of a Jaina is perfection and life- negation is a means to an end.  It is the negation of empirical values of life and not of the supreme values; and ethics leads to realization of the supreme values.  In the west the Helenic ideal was to be a good citizen, to attain excellence in this life.  The Vedic Aryans aimed at happiness and good life in the world and heaven hereafter.   The Indian seers realized that we have to transcend the empirical to reach pure perfection, or else we have no lasting peace.  Yet the empirical is a stepping stone for the transcendental perfection.  Moral life, therefore, is important as the pathway to perfection.  The ways of flesh and mind are to be channelised to the pathway to perfection giving Caesar what is due to him.  Ethics for the Jainas is working in righteousness all the days of one�s life.  Of the triple ways to perfection enunciated by the Jainas, Samyak- caritra is equally important.  It is a way leading to moksa: without hunger and thirst for righteousness we shall not enter the kingdom of perfection.  Caritra is predominately activistic.  It refers to moral and spiritual excellence.  It implies willed activity, and samyak- caritra (right activity) is an important step one has to adopt in the pathway to self- realisation.  To attain samyaktva is not an easy task.  One has to be ripe for it.  Samyaktva is possible for one who has attained Samyag � drsti (right faith) and Samyga- jnana (right knowledge). One who has cleared the darkness of the deluding karma and who possesses knowledge adopts Samyak- caritra.  It consists in avoiding the influx of karma (asrava) coming as it does from the practice of himsa (injury to life), anrta (untruth), steya (stealing) and other forms of sense pleasures. Samyaktva has been assimilated to the status of a vrata and presented with five aticaras (infraction).  They were enumerated as early as the Tattvarthasutra, though not found in the canon.  Without entering into the minor discrepancies of the Digambara and Svetambara version of the essential qualities of samyaktva, we may mention the characters of Samyaktva. Samyaktva (rightness) is characterised by I) samvega (spiritual craving), ii) Sama (stilling of the passion), iii) nirveleda ( disgust for sense pleasures), iv) bhakti ( devotion), v) anukampa (compassion), vi) ninda (remorse for the evil acts of relatives and others), vii) garner (repentance expressed in the from of alocana made in the presence of Guru) and viii) vatsalya  (loving kindness to the living).  Samyaktva expresses itself in nihsanka (freedom from doubt), nihkanksa (desirelessness), nirguhana (absence of repugnance), amudha- drsti (absence of perversity of attitude.

          The description of the nature of Samyaktva as shown above has a great psychological significance.  It presents the mental setting required for developing character and personality as needed for spiritual progress. The instructive tendencies and emotions have to be channelized and directed by transformation and sublimation with a view to attaining mental equipoise.  Ethically considered the characteristics of Samyak- caritra present a back- ground and a canvas for the illumination of one�s self towards the goal of attaining perfect equanimity and spiritual strength.