JAINA CODE OF CONDUCT
Being equipped with samykatva-right
belief along with the astumala-gunas - eight basic virtues, one can adopt
the savaka vratas householders vows or rules of conduct which are twelve
divided in three groups such as:
Five Anuvratas - small vows.
Three guna-vratras - strengthening
Four siksa-vrata - disciplinary vows
and also the supplementary and non-obligatory sallekhana- vrata -vow of
voluntary termination of life by fasting.
The anuvrtas are five:
(1) ahimsa - non-hurting, non-injuring
(2) satya - truth
(3) asteya (acaurya) - non-stealing
(4) brahmacarya - celibacy
(5) parigraha-parimana - limited
attachment to worldly possessions
There is no difference of opinion among
the Jainacaryas in the classification or enumeration of the anu-vratas;
but there are some differences in the nomenclature of some of them without
disturbing the purport in each case. For instance, Kundakunda calls the
fifth anu-vrata, parigraharambha Parimana-vrata and the forth one
parapimma-parihara-vrata, whereas Samantabhadra calls them
paradara-nivrtti and svadara-santosa-vrata respectively.76 It
is interesting to note that the Dharma-rasaayana of Padmanandi (a
medieaval treatise, C. 1200 A. D. of minor importance) substitutes for the
first anu-vrata, devata nimitta ajiva- marana- abstension from killing
living beings for sacrifice to gods, and gives ahimsa- as the second guna-
vrata. Moreover Camundaraya and Sakalakirti give aratribhojana - not
taking food at night as the sixth anu-vrata.77 possibly to
maintain parallelism with the monk's maha-vratas- great vows, from which,
of course, the householder's vows are derived.
Moreover we must note an important point
regarding the mutual relationship of these five anu-vratas as stated by
Pujyapada in his Sarvartha- siddhi (V11-1 Of these five vows
ahimsanu-vrata is the fundamental one. All the rest should be regarded as
rather the means for its sustenance, just as a field of corn requires
adequate fencing for its protection .
THE GUNA-VRATAS AND
Unlike in the case of the anu-vratas,
the Jainacaryas particularly the Digambaras, give various enumerations of
the guna-vratas and the siksa-vratas, though all are unanimous regarding
their number.78 For our purpose here, we will note only two of
such enumerations: (1) The one followed by broadly a large number of the
Digambara teachers like Umasvami, Amrtacandra etc., and (II) the other
commonly followed by the svetambara teachers:
Following are the guna-vratas:
(2) bhogopabhoga vrata
Following are the siksa-vratas .
A glance at these two sets, Digambara
and Svetambara (I and II) of the two groups (A and B) of the vratas viz.,
the guna-vratas (A) and the siksa-vratas (B), would show that A-I-1 and
A-1-3 are the same as A-II- 1 and A-II- 3; similarly B I-1 and B-I-4 are
the same as B-II-1 and B-11-4. But A-1-2 is found as B-II-2; A- 11-2 is
found as B-I-3; and B-I-2 is found as B-II-3. Thus we can note that it is
a matter of variations in respect of classification and sequence of the
vratas under these two sets taken for our consideration here. There could
be a few more additional sets for such purpose, which would naturally
indicate some more variations. Pt. K. C. Shastri presents a nine-point
analytical study of the variants in the enumerations of the guna-vratas
and the siksa-vratas, as based on the Digambara works, and, further,
brings them all under two patterns of four-fold traditions, which can be
said to have been mainly hinged on different conceptions of the
desa-vratas bhogopabhoga-vrata and the sallekhana. He also, at this
context, observes that the enumeration of Kunda-kunda and Ravisena
probably represents the ancient tradition.'' Dr. K. C. Sogani, however,
notes such five Digambara traditions and two Svetambara traditions.79
Moreover R. Williams presents in two separate and distinct tables
the various enumerations of these two sets of vratas as based on the
svetambara list as well as those of a number of Digambara writers arranged
in systematized groups and, further, critically brings out the following
points: "It has been remarked that the guna-vratas are additional vows,
special cases in fact of the anu-vratas, while the siksa-vratas refer to
spiritual exercises. The Svetambaras, even those among them who follow the
Tattvartha-sutra in some interpretations, insist on the designations
guna-vrata and siksa-vrata and have also, as is logical, retained the
sequence which leaves these two types of vows distinct. The Digambaras who
follow the Tattvartha-sutra have blurred this distinction by making the
Desavakagika-vrata follow the dig-vrata to which it is related in content,
the bhogopabhoga-vrata being inserted immediately before the dana-vrata
probably because of the resemblances in the aticaras. Another Digambara
current stemming from Samanta-bhadra agrees with the svetambara tradition
except in one minor detail that it transposes the samayika-and the
desavakasika-vrata (Kartikeya puts the desava-kasika--after the dana-vrata).
Kundakunda, Deva-sena and one or two others suppress the
degavakasika-vrata altogether and give sallekhana twelfth place in the
list. Vasunandin, who follows the Tattvarthasutra for the order of the
guna-vratas, eliminates the samayika and prosadhopavasa-vratas altogether
probably because the same subjects are treated as pratimas and creates in
their place a bhoga-vrata and an upabhogavrata."81
If we closely look into the variations
in the enumerations of these two groups of the vratas, we find that the
apparent difference in the case of some of the vratas do not point out any
divergences of the concerned ethical or ethico-spiritual principles, but
they are rather the outcome of various attempts at approaching and
interpreting particular facets of those vratas from different standpoints,
by different Acaryas, at different periods. Dr. A. N. Upadhaye and Dr.
Hiralal Jain, in their General Editorial to Somadeva's Upasakadhyayana,
observe on this aspect of the vratas, in general, as follows: 82
The basic nature of rules of conduct for the laity has remained the
same; but the classification of the vratas, technical words used for them,
the modes of their observance etc., show progressive trends all along,
depending on the various regions and periods.
Some of the Acaryas have also tried to
explain the general nature and functional importance of these two groups
of vratas. Umasvami in his Tattvartha-sutra83 gives them a
collective name Slla; and Pujyapada, the commentator, states that they
function as protective vows. Amrtacandra further elucidates this
figuratively as follows: Just as the ramparts guard towns, so do the sllas
protect the anu-vratas.84 The author of the Savaya Pannatti
clarifies that the guna-vratas are observed for the whole life and the
siksa-vratas for a limited time.85 Asadhara points out that the
guna-vratas strengthen the anu-vratas and the siksa-vratas provide
exercises in the preparation for the life of renunciation.86 At
this context indeed Prof. Schubring's remarks are worth noting: The
guna-vratas prove to be special forms of the anu-vrata in which the dig-vrata
equally follows the iccha-parimana-vrata As compared to those mentioned up
to now, the siksa-vratas are of positive nature. By them the layman
temporarily comes near to the monk and his conduct of life.87
All this part of discussion also indicates that there is due
complementarity and perfect fusion among the three groups of the twelve
vows i.e, five anu-vratas, three guna-vratas and four siksa-vratas that go
to constitute the ethical discipline of the householder.
In the scheme of the householder's code
of conduct provision is also made for the knowledge of possible aticaras--
offences, infractions or transgressions, attached to each of these vows.
An aticara means transgressing a vow while it is actually being observed;
and according to Amrtacandra, that which hampers the purity of the vow is
aticara.88 These transgressions, carefully gleaned from the
numerous possible ones and set in different groups of five each,89
are meant to show the details of the code laid down for its proper
observance by the householder. They guide the aspiring householder as to
how each vow could be transgressed in the main five possible ways and help
him with cautionary details in the course of regulating his conduct
systematically. For instance, while observing the ahimsanu-vrata, the
householder is cautioned against causing injury to living beings in
respect of the following:
(1) bandha--keeping in capacity
of food and drink
We do not find so much of variants in
the enumerations of these aticaras by different Acaryas, as we do in the
case of some of the groups of the vratas viz., the guna-vratas and the
siksa-vratas, though their nomenclatures or designations are found to vary
from Acarya to Acarya. One can have a complete picture of all these
aticaras, with their variant enumerations (wherever existing), set in
vrata-wise tables, from the pages of R. William's Jaina Yoga.90
It may be noted that the gvetambara
teachers make distinction between bhanga and aticara, whereas the
Digambara teachers do not do so.91 A bhanga is a complete
negation of a vrata; and an aticara is an offence or transgression in
which a vow is partly observed and partly infringed. For example, straight
way refusing to give alms is a bhanga of the dana-vrata: and giving alms
with lack of respect is its aticara.92
We shall note each pentad of the
aticaras under each respective vrata to be dwelt upon shortly.
75. A vrata is a rule of conduct,
voluntarily and resolutely undertaken for observance. Prof. Schubring
remarks that these vows of the householder paradoxically enough, exceed in
number those to be accepted by the monk. This is due to the larger
diversity of the civic life in which the layman still stands. The Doctrine
of The Jainas, p. 297.
76. For further details, vide Pt. K. C.
Shastri, Intro to Upasakadhyayana, p. 67.
77. Vide R. Williams, Op. cit, pp.
78. Among the Digambara writers, these
seven vratas are known as gila-vratas or sapta-gila.
79. Intro. to Upasakadhyayana, pp.
80. Op, cit., p. 92.
81. Op. cit., pp. 56-57.
82. p. 2.
83. S. VI-2.
84. Purusartha-siddhyupaya, v. 136.
85. v. 328.
86. Sagara Dharmamr ta, VI-24.
87. 70. Op. cit, p. 299.
88. Op. cit., p. 181.
89. The number 'five', in respect of the
aticaras of each of the twelve vratas. appears to have been owing to its
importance drawn from that of the main vows viz., anu-vratas which are
90. pp 58-62
91. Except Asadhara who has borrowed
here from Hemacandra.
92. For further details vide R.
Williams, Op. cit., pp 63-64