Report on Conferences in Japan, 2010

Posted: 20.06.2017
Updated on: 04.09.2017

Centre of Jaina Studies Newsletter: SOAS - University of London

The 61st Congress of the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies (JAIBS) was held at Rissho University, Tokyo, on 9-10 September 2010. The JAIBS is the largest conference on Indian and Buddhist Studies in Japan, and has been held every year since 1949. The congress this year comprised 14 panels and 271 speakers. Of these, six papers were read on Jainism.

In 'Criticism of Other Schools in Jainism: The Case of Ahiṃsā', Mr Masahiro Ueda (PhD candidate of Kyoto University) analysed the structure of the arguments on hiṃsā in the Syādvādamañjarī. The author Malliṣeṇa had severely criticized the Mīmāṃsā view that the animal killing commanded in the Veda was supposed to be a special hiṃsā, and it could be the cause of dharma. Mr Ueda pointed out that hiṃsā would be transformed into a good action (puṇya) only when the good result could occur through action, e.g., construction of a Jaina temple. Kazuyoshi Hotta (PhD candidate of Tokyo University) spoke on the 'Jaina Concept of Posaha'. Mr Hotta focussed on the purpose and schedule of posaha (vow of a layperson). According to Mr Hotta, in śrāvakācāra literature posaha is proximate to sāmāyika, as the former is an aid for the latter. He further pointed out that, even though in śrāvakācāra literature we come across many variations on the schedule of posaha, all of these indicate the same procedure.

With her paper 'On Upasaṃpadālocanā in the Vyavahārabhāṣya Chapter I', Ms Yumi Fujimoto (PhD candidate of Poona University) discussed confession (ālocanā). When a monk is initiated into another group (gaṇa) for the purpose of studying, etc., he should confess his faults. In the Vyavahārabhāṣya, this type of confession is investigated from various points of view, i.e., the fault itself, fault of a monk, fault of his teacher, purpose of initiation, and so forth. Ms Fujimoto presented and explained in detail the practices of the three-day observation required by a new teacher (parīcchā, Skt.: parīkṣā), which was not examined by the late Professor Caillat (1921-2007) in her articles.

Holy assembly (samavasaraṇa) of Ācārya Viśuddhasāgara, Pārśvanāthdhām, Risali, Bhilai, Chattisgarh 26 January 2010.

Ceremonial installation of the Jina image (jinabimbapratiṣṭhā), Pārśvanāthdhām, Risali, Bhilai, Chattisgarh, 25 January 2010.

In his paper 'On Aśubhānuprekṣā and Medical Science' Dr Yutaka Kawasaki (Osaka University) discussed anatomy in the Bhagavatī Ārādhanā. Śivārya, the author of the work, had examined the structure of the human body in order to show the impurity of the female body, so that the brahmavrata would be firmly obeyed. Dr Kawasaki pointed out that, (1) in terms of anatomy, the Bhagavatī Ārādhanā had a closer affinity to the Suśrutasaṃhitā than did the Carakasaṃhitā; (2) the Bhagavatī Ārādhanā contained additional new information on anatomy as compared to these two medical treatises and also the Tandulaveyālia.

In 'What does the Jaina Maṇḍala Express?' Dr Michihiko Yajima (Tsurumi University) reported on his fieldwork in Chattisgarh, India. He showed the ceremony for the installation of the Jina image (jinabimbapratiṣṭhā) in a newly constructed Digambara temple and illustrated his talk with many photographs which he took on site. Dr Yajima pointed out that the ceremony for holy assembly (samavasaraṇa) was a replication of the Jaina maṇḍala. He concluded that the practice was made consistent with Jaina doctrine by centering the Jina image, in both the maṇḍala and in the temple, as a preacher. Mr Kenji Watanabe (Taisho University) read a paper entitled 'Expression of the Triyoga in the Jaina Āgamas'. The word order of three actions in the Buddhist Canon (kāya, vāca, manas) is reversed in the Jaina Āgamas (manas, vāca, kāya). According to Mr Watanabe, the third case of the word 'kāya' was of two forms, 'kāyeṇaṃ' and 'kāyasā' in the Āgamas, with the latter form not occurring in prose but in verse. Commenting on the word, the Cūrṇikāra has always used the form 'kāyasā' even when the original Āgama text reads 'kāyeṇaṃ'. Mr Watanabe concluded that the Cūrṇi maintained an old reading, i.e., 'kāyasā'.

25th Congress of the Society for Jaina Studies, Kyoto

On 25th September, the 25th Congress of the Society for Jaina Studies was held at Otani University, Kyoto, Japan. The Society was founded in 1986 by the late Professor Atsushi Uno (1922-1998). Since then, the congress has been held every year, with three or four speakers reading their papers on Jainism. Three papers were read this year.

The present author, Tomoyuki Uno (Chikushi Jogakuen University), read a paper on 'Jinabhadra's Interpretation of the Prāpyakārivāda'. Jinabhadra, in his auto-commentary on the Viśeṣāvaśyakabhāṣya, stated that a sensory organ was regarded as being touched by its object only when the sensory organ would suffer damage (upaghāta) or receive a profit (anugraha) from the object. For example, when we see weapons, our eyes do not suffer any damage. When we think about fire, our mind is never burnt at all. This is why Jinabhadra regarded the eyes and mind as being active without actual contact with their object (aprāpyakārin). The paper further examined additional, more complicated discussions about the mind that Jinabhadra offered: e.g., even though bad feeling occurs by thinking of a lover's death, it should occur not in the mind but in the soul (jīva).

In his paper 'On Styānarddhi', Dr Hisayasu Kobayashi (Tokyo Gakugei University) focused on sleepwalking (styānarddhi) and showed five examples of it found in the Niśīthabhāṣya, the Bṛhatkalpabhāṣya, and other texts. These are (1) eating flesh, (2) eating sweets, (3) pulling out an elephant's tusks, (4) murder by a potter, and (5) breaking down a vaṭa tree. Further, he pointed out that the etymological interpretation of styānarddhi or styānagṛddhi in Śvetāmbara literature was quite different from the Digambara interpretation. He concluded that the Śvetāmbara interpretation reflected the five examples, while the Digambara one did not.

Professor Atsushi Uno (24.5.1922-8.8.1998), founder of the Society for Jaina Studies, Japan, conducting a seminar in his office at Hiroshima University, c. 1980.

Ms Hiroko Matsuoka (PhD candidate of Hiroshima University) spoke on the 'Life of the Śvetāmbara [Monastic] Group and the Sacred Places in Western India'. She discussed the way of life of Śvetāmbara monks and nuns, illustrating her talk with many pictures that she took during fieldwork in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is worthy of mention that she elaborated the procedures for a monk's funeral ceremony by showing pictures of the late Muni Jambuvijayaji's funeral, in spite of her sorrow. Further, she showed a picture of a Jina image in Tāraṃgā, and compared it with the report on the establishment of the temple in the Kumārapālapratibodha.

The papers read at both conferences, the 61st Congress of the Japanese Association of Indian and Buddhist Studies and the 25th Congress of the Society for Jaina Studies, offered avenues for further study and stimulating discussions. Together they represent a tradition of many years of Jaina Studies in Japan, a practice that we look forward to continuing in the future.

Tomoyuki Uno received a PhD from Hiroshima University in 1997, for his dissertation 'Kumārila and Jainism: On the Theory of Soul.' He is now an associate professor at the Department of Japanese Language and Literature at Chikushi Jogakuen University in Fukuoka, Japan. His current focus of research is the theory of soul in Jainism, and Jaina epistemology.

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