Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions - Jain View of Life






Chapter - 7 : IN THIS OUR LIFE


A true monk should have no desires, non attachments and should wander about as the known beggar.  He should live as a model of righteousness.  He is not to live by any profession or occupation; possessed of full self- control and free from any ties, he should live the life of a homeless mendicant.

          The daily routine of a monk is well regulated and regimented.  He has to be severely solemn and is obliged to behave in a strictly reserved and inobtrusive manner.  He cannot indulge in singing, dancing, laughing or any other from of merry- making.  He has to devote much of his time to meditation, study, and in the third part of the day he has to go only for food and drink.

          The Acaragasutra and Dasavaikalika present a detailed picture of the strict rules for taking a midday meal.  He has to be modest in behaviour and give precedence to other receivers and even to animals.  And such a monk practising the rigours of an ascentic for the sake of a fuller and more perfect life here and here-after is superior to all others, like a trained �Kamboja steed� whom no noise frightens, like a strong irresistible elephant, like a strong bull and a lion.

          Four things of supreme value are difficult to obtain in this world : 1) human birth, 2) instruction in the Law (dharma), 3) belief in the Dharma, and 4) energy in self-control. We must, therefore, make the most of what we have not because tomorrow we die but because we become immortal and perfect. The attainment of perfection is in the hands of mans; and knowing this, we should avoid sense-pleasures which are short-lived and apparently sweet yet fraught with the danger of losing all that we have, as a man lost his kingdom by eating a mango fruit which was strictly forbidden by his physician and as �forbidden fruit whose mortal taste brought death into this world and all our woe.� Asceticism is the primary step for the monks on their way to self-realization. External asceticism consists in dropping one�s meals, in restricting oneself to a few objects and in begging for food. These are meant for preparing one�s mind for self-purification. The internal asceticism is mainly mental and it aims at purification in the final form. It includes the control of the senses, subjection to confession and atonement, readiness to spiritual service, study and the practice of dhyana in gradual stages. And one who has given up all worldly ties, is well-versed in the Dharma, who practices all codes of ascetic life, is the sramana, a bhikkhu. A monk complies with the rules of yati as regards posteriors, lying down sitting down, and is thoroughly acquainted with the Semites and, guptis.

           There have been conflicting opinions as to how the ascetic practice and the monastic vows originated. Buehler held that most of the special directions for the discipline of the Jaina ascetic are copies, and often exaggerated copies, of the Brahminical rules for penitents. The outward marks of the order closely resemble those of a Sanyasin. Jacobi seems to support this view when he said �Monastic order of Jainas and the Buddhists though copied from Brahmana were chiefly and originally intended for Kshatriyas. This view was presented in the early stages of Indological research but it is difficult to be accepted. What we call Indian Philosophy is a synthesis of the Sramana and the Brahmana currents of thought. The Sramana cult which was primarily ascentic in nature was pre-Aryan. And �we should no more assess the Samkhya, Jaina, Buddhist and Ajivaka tenets as mere perverted continuation of stray thoughts selected at random from the Upanisadic bed of Aryan thought currents�. Dr. Upadhye calls this Pre-Aryan current of thought as �Magadhan religion�.

          All cannot renounce the world, nor is it desirable. Most men have to live in this world and work for their spiritual salvation, while engaged in daily routine of empirical life. They are the householders (sravakas) . They cannot practise rigorous discipline of an ascetic. They have to practise the vows with less rigour, as far as possible, still without sacrificing the fundamental spirit of the Vratas. The ethical code for the layman is twelve-fold consisting of 1) five Vratas which are common for the ascetic and the householder, except for the fact they have to be practised with less rigour without sacrificing the spirit of righteousness and the main goal of self- realization. Great physical and moral advantages accrue from the observation of vows. It keeps the body and mind healthy and leads one in the direction of maintaining moral strength, ultimately to lead to moksa. The vows practised by the layman are the anuvratas (lesser vows). In addition to 1) five anuvratas, he has to practise 2) three gunavratas and 3) four siksavratas.