|Handbook of Jainism||
SYNTHESIS OR RECAPITULATION
The plan I have endeavored to follow in this book is the procedure mentioned earlier (on pages 17-18), synstatis, analysis, and synthesis making respectively the parts I, II, and III of the book.
The Jain doctrines are summed up in nine fundamental truths; and to put together the four sections of part II, we perhaps cannot do better than give these nine principles, prefaced with the two remarks that 1) reality exhibits distinct and contrary aspects, such as permanence and change, etc., 2) the whole truth about anything cannot be expressed in one predicate.
We live socially in a real and, in a sense, everlasting universe of sentient, conscious beings (jiva), and of inanimate, insentient, unconscious things (ajiva). We attract (asrava) subtle forms of matter to ourselves, and we assimilate it (bandha); the natural qualities of the soul are thus more or less obscured, and, consequent various conditions of weal (punya) and woe (papa) are experienced. We have been doing this, and suffering the consequences forever in the past - before birth and since, perpetuating our bodily existence through deaths and rebirths continually. This continual attraction and assimilation of matter generates in us energies which are not essential factors of the soul's existence, but which hinder the soul's natural activities. These unnatural energies may be stopped and destroyed by stopping the influx (samvara) and by ridding the soul of matter (nirjara). This is effected by practicing the thirty-five ordinary rules of conduct, self-control, twelve special rules of conduct, and concentration, as described in the preceding pages; and by practicing more advanced forms of mental and moral disciplines, not given in this book. In this process of stopping the inflow and of ridding the soul of matter, the individual develop gradually through fourteen stages, in which there appears, more and more, unimpeded activity of the immortal self, in the form of right knowledge, wisdom, love, strength, blissfulness, etc., until, at the finish, every atom of physical matter in combination with the soul and the consequent ignorance, foolishness, cruelty, weakness, pain, misery, etc., are removed from us for ever (moksa).
The above statements are put forward as being literally true; they are not figurative or mystical; they are about concrete realities, are not abstractions, and are of universal application to living beings.