Terapanth

Posted: 18.11.2016
Updated on: 19.11.2016

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Perspective from the eyes of a professional

Disclaimer: This is a humble attempt to link philosophies of Terapanth with our daily lives in a simple and candid writing. Please read this piece of writing as a simple reminder note prompting you for further thinking and action.

Every religion has a set of principles and rituals to practice its philosophy. Our own great religion Terapanth, following the philosophy of Jainism, has 13 core principles. These 13 core principles also give one of the meanings to its name the "Terapanth".

These 13 principles are spiritual in nature and yet very much practical in application. As we ponder over these principles, astonishingly we get valuable insights on management of our professional, social and personal lives. (Though considering the great foresight and intelligence of Acharya Bhikshu; this is no surprise.)

Every follower of Terapanth must know and understand these principles. Furthermore, it's also our duty to pass on this basic knowledge to our juniors and to those who are still unaware.

While for a monk initiated in Terapanth order, there is no excuse in devout following of these 13 core principles, we, as lay followers, can also practice every one of these principles. Preaching, descriptions and explanations can go long and long on these principles, but here we must understand that these principles are applicable to every aspect of our life.

All we need to do is to remain alert and conscious in our thoughts and actions. Our goal should be to practice as much as possible & feasible. This way we not-only reduce Karma in flux, but also save us from many inconveniences. So in the following paragraphs we'll get to know (and learn by heart) the 13 core principles of Terapanth with some quick notes and examples for easy grasping.

The 13 principles comprise of Five Mahavratas or Great Vows + Five Samitees or Comportments or Regulations + Three Guptees or Restraints.

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Five Mahavratas or Great vows

1. Non-Violence
Violence is not only physical, but can also be vocal and mental.
Very much applicable in our Professional life:

 

  • Plucking of flowers, leaves (even use of these for decorations or rituals); Killing of insects or mosquitoes are all examples of physical violence. (That is why proper cleaning of surrounding and inside the house, wardrobes, utensils etc. has been stressed in our Indian Culture to minimize violence of this kind.)
  • Shouting in anger is a form of Vocal Violence.
  • Even tattling or gossiping is a form of violence.
  • Scolding or abusing someone in thoughts and emotions is Mental Violence.

“Detachment of Karma is achievement of Liberation”


2.Truth

 

  • It seems that practically it's quite difficult to follow truth every time.
  • Possible yes, but feasible may be not.
  • Shouldn't we try to reduce this circle of "not always feasible" to follow Truth?
  • Almost every day we come across situations where we can skip falsehood. Yet, we don't because we don't want to cut across our comfort zone.
  • "Aapka kaam ho gaya hai, Sir" - A common lie when even we are still trying to understand what exactly the work is.
  • It's also common to see many misunderstandings just because someone lied unnecessary to save his efforts and comforts.
  • Clear communication, a form of Truth, is always advisable in Professional World.

3. Non-Stealing

 

  • Using someone else's property (cash, kind or know- how) without permission is Stealing. Sometimes for the sake of progress or quick success or entertainment, people do such things. Common examples of stealing (other than money and precious things):-
    • Stealing office data for personal use.
    • Using office infrastructure for personal use without asking for permission (yes! It's stealing as you are using it without the permission of the owner).
    • Using someone else's content for your own report without even telling him about it.
    • Falsifying measurements and calculations.

4. Celibacy

 

  • The concept of Celibacy goes beyond illicit sexual engagements.
  • Watching or reading indecent content is an example of non-celibacy which we can control a lot.
  • Stress on Restraint of watching, reading or talking indecent content is given to regulate and control human mind which by nature gets easily distracted.
  • Furthermore, in today's professional and social world, extra care is needed to steer clear of any controversy. (People have been fired for using office internet for indecent surfing and viewing. Sexual unrestraint has ruined many promising careers in the world)

5. Non-Possession
Non -Possession also means non - attachment. Depending on and attaching with material things as less as feasible is the way to mental freedom. Only a free mind can think of great deeds.

 

  • How many material things we actually need to survive and grow?
  • Over-possession causes not only storage problem, but also emotional problem. If anything goes missing or breaks down, sometimes people go mad.
  • Some guys can't even spend a day without their mobiles or tablets. They are betting their peace and happiness.

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Five Samitees or Compartments or Regulations

1. Careful movements

 

  • Body movement while working or walking or even sitting is to be taken care of. (A person lost his job because one day while yawning with wide stretched hands, he accidentally dropped coffee on his senior's work papers. Senior got infuriated, shouted back and in bitterness spoilt the performance appraisal of the said person.)

2. Careful Speaking
Four Arts and Necessities of Vocal Mastery (Very Important in today's competitive and confusing professional world)

 

  • "What to speak and what not to speak"
  • "When to speak and when not to speak"
  • "How to sound and how not to sound (pitch and tone)"
  • "Why to speak and why not to speak"

People are losing their customers, clients, jobs and relations just because they are not practicing Vocal restraints.

3. Careful Begging for Alms etc.

 

  • Careful begging for alms requires accepting what is rightly served with right intention ana with right food for the body. It also comprises eating in a right manner.
  • Aren't we careless in what we eat, when we eat and how we eat?
  • Do we say thank you to a person serving food to us?

4. Careful Utilization of Utensils etc.

 

  • Monks and Nuns have limited begging utensils and clothes. So for them careful utilization of these is natural. What about us?
  • If a study is conducted, then I'm sure it would be found out that people using their personal belongings carefully have more chances of success in personal and professional life than the others.
  • That's how we can also teach our juniors careful utilization of resources (a must for every management and business personnel)

5. Careful disposal of body-wastes

 

  • Body wastes include spits.
  • Careful spitting is not only good for personal hygiene but also good for society.
  • Using any such thing which causes more spits like Paan Masala, Chewing gums etc. is not recommended.
  • Haven't we seen enough fights on spitting and urinating on streets? I have even read news of killing on such petty things by Management and business personnel.

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Three Guptees or Restraints

1.Physical

 

  • Proper and firm sitting is always advisable whether in the house or at office.
  • It not only affects our health, but also our thoughts and energy level.
  • Improper posture creates poor image (not good in today's competitive world).
  • Firm posture in meditation enhances determination and mental agility.

2.Vocal

 

  • Practicing Vocal Silence, (e.g. take vow not to speak for certain period of time) enhances determination and mental peace.
  • Conflict resolution can also be achieved by Vocal restraint.

3. Mental

 

  • This is the most important of all these principles and perhaps the most difficult to follow.
  • Almost every moment mind is under the grasp of thoughts.
  • Needless to say mostly unproductive and negative thoughts come into mind.
  • Thoughts lead to actions. So a mind trapped in unproductive & negative thoughts would invariably lead to unproductive & negative actions which would ultimately cause inconvenience, troubles and sorrow.
  • Don't stress much on what's happening in office. Who's into which group and who's up against you. Just concentrate on your job in hand (Office Politics is killing).
  • Don't stress much on what your relatives are planning or people in your social circle are up to.
  • Practice Mental Silence.

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Source/Info

TPF Communique 2016.02, p.14
by
Vikram Chandaliya