Two Overviews [Part 2]

Posted: 23.03.2012
Updated on: 02.07.2015

The paper was published in Berliner Indologische Studien Vol. 20 (2012), pp. 7-35.


II. Terms in Jaina ethics (the canon)

We add to Jaina 'Sects and Schools' an overview on canonical Jaina ethics. Translations explaining the terms follow the publications of H. Jacobi if not stated otherwise.

There is the multiple opposition between monastic ethics and householders' ethics, between ethics and soteriology (soteriology, i.e. karman doctrine), between canonical and post-canonical ethics. We do not take into account the three fields of householders' ethics, karman doctrine, and post-canonical ethics (Niryuktis etc.).

The canon is full of terms and clusters of terms, different e.g. from detailed monastic rules (Ācārānga Sūtra II 1-14) and also different from the simple (not technical) language of Ācārānga Sūtra I.

Clearly post-canonical are late nikṣepas, and post-canonical is Umāsvātī's magnum opus, the Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra (comprehensive systematization). L. Alsdorf speaks in connection with Ut even of “intricate technicalities”, of “kryptic scholastic stanzas” and of “typical specimens of late scholastic systematization and calculation” (Alsdorf Ut: 27, 32, 65). These developments (and similar developments) are not considered.

'Vrata' (the vrata complex) and a few 'short chains'.

The vrata complex (our expression) has been described in Glasenapp Jn (pp. 228-231) and in Wiley Di (pp. 66, 135 and 235).

The five mahāvratas (vows for monks) are ahiṃsā, sūnṛta, asteya, brahmacarya, and aparigraha: no killing, no lying, not taking what has not been given, renouncing sexual activity, renouncing attachment (possessions). Ācārānga II 15; Daśavaikālika Sūtra 4 (Schubring Daś: 125-128) and 6 (ibid.: 152-154); JĀGM (Sū): 245; Leumann Aup, § 87 (mahāvratas, kaṣāyas etc.); Bruhn Ma: 7-8 and 64-70 (non-Jaina sources et alia); Praśnavyākaraṇa (Schubring Do: 94-95). - (Daśavaikālika Sūtra 4, p.125:) >> savvaṃ, bhante, pāṇâivāyaṃ paccakkhāmi, se [?] suhumaṃ vā bāyaraṃ vā, tasaṃ vā thāvaraṃ va. << - Complex discussion of the mahāvratas in Praśnavyākaraṇa 1: >> pāṇavaho nāma esa niccaṃ jiṇehiṃ bhaṇio: pāvo, caṇḍo, ruddo, khuddo... << (Suttāgame I, p. 1200).

Items two to five may be important for one reason or the other, but the really relevant mahāvratas are numbers one and four to six. Item one (ahiṃsā) is the protection of living beings, comprising also minute creatures (four elements plus plants). Item two (sūnṛta) is not frequent, but occupies a significant place in monastic prescriptions: JĀGM (Āc): 189-200 (520-552), JĀGM (Daś), pp. 41-48; Bruhn Am, p. 72: speech in Buddhism (Caillat Pr) and in Jainism (Caillat Bh). Item three (asteya) is probably the least important mahāvrata; two to three may reflect pre-Jaina ethics. Item four (brahmacarya) stands for celibacy, item five (aparigraha) forbids property. These two are self-evident, but the descriptions (what is b.? what is a.?) are not entirely clear.

The 6th mahāvrata (mostly negative form) is rātri-bhojana (Daśavaikālika 4 and 6; Schubring Daś: 127-128, 154). Rātri-bhojana is explained by the risk of killing small beings after darkness has set in (it should actually be understood as a part of ahiṃsā). The detailed study (canonical: Schubring Do: 302-303; post-canonical: Bruhn Am: 34-35; Balbir Qu) demonstrates the considerable but unexpected relevance of this vow. It is vrata, not mahāvrata, but a supplement to the five mahāvratas.

To mahāvratas 1-5 (plus 6) correspond five small vows or aṇuvratas for laypersons. The small vows 1-5 give orders to avoid to some extent the five offences (mahāvratas). Little is said about offences below the full mahāvrata level: What precisely is not forbidden? A frequent phraseology defines the prohibited mahāvrata forms as sthūla (Pkt. thūla) or 'gross'. - The pentad of living beings (four elements and plants) must be 'protected' by monks (extreme caution), but need not be 'protected' by laypersons in a similar manner. Refer for aṇuvratas (food etc.) in post-canonical literature to Williams Ys: 50-99. - Schubring Do: 297-303 (vratas in general).

There is furthermore an extension by special laymen's vratas in the form of three plus four additional categories (no parallel development in monastic ethics). The seven additional categories are the three guṇavratas and the four śikṣāvratas (interpretation of i-vii sometimes difficult). Three guṇavratas: anartha-daṇḍa-vrata, dig-vrata, upabhoga-paribhoga-parimāṇa-vrata; Hoernle Uv I: 19-21, Schubring Do: 298-299 (order different from Hoernle). Refer for anartha-daṇḍa-vrata to Upāsakadaśāḥ (Hoernle Uv I: 21) and to post-canonical sources (Williams Jy: 123-131; Bruhn Am: 35-36, 39). The transgressions of anarthadaṇḍa (anartha° is no. 1 in Schubring's order of the triad): >> aṇaṭṭhā-daṇḍa-veramaṇassa samaṇôvāsaeṇaṃ panca aiyārā jāṇiyavvā... kandappe, kukkuie, moharie, saṃjuttâhigaraṇe [?], uvabhoga-paribhogâiritte [?] <<. Refer for saṃ- and uva- to Hoernle Uv I: 21, II: 30-31. Rhetorics: upa- and pari- have (here and elsewhere) a strengthening function, uvabhoga and paribhoga are 'synonyms' (duplication), and the bhoga-phrase occurs on two planes (guṇa-vrata plane 'above': 1-3 and anarthadaṇḍa plane 'below': 1-5). There is furthermore some terminological contact beween the fifth mahāvrata (Hoernle Uv I) and the three guṇavratas (ibid.).

Four śikṣāvratas: sāmāyika, deśâvakāśika, poṣadhôpavāsa (upavasatha), atithi-saṃvibhāga (Pkt. ahā-saṃvibhāga); Schubring Do: 299-300; Hoernle Uv I: 53-56, Uv II: fn. 81. >>... sāmāiyassa... panca aiyārā jāṇiyavvā... taṃ jahā: maṇa-duppaḍihāṇe, vaya-duppaḍihāṇe, kāya-duppaḍihāṇe... [and two further transgressions] <<. Refer for sāmāyika (Pkt. sāmāiya) to Āvaśyaka Sūtra (1), 'part 1'; duṣpraṇidhāna (Pkt. duppaṇihāṇa or duppaḍihāṇa) is 'ill behaviour'. - An additional vrata is the sallekhanā (Pkt. sallehaṇā, saṃlehaṇā), fasting leading to death (infra).

The general term (five plus seven, rātri-bhojana and sallekhanā not included) is dvādaśavidha agāra-dharma (Leumann Aup, § 57, Schubring Do: 297-300). The seven terms (guṇa° and śikṣā°) introduce largely new subjects.

To these twelve duties of a layman the texts... add the fasting leading to death which by its name of apacchimā māraṇ'antiyā saṃlehaṇā jhūsaṇ' ārāhaṇā [quotation: Hoernle Uv I: 22] indicates the high esteem it enjoys.” Schubring Do: 288-290, 299-300; Kamptz St passim; Dundas Jn: 179-181; Dundas Jn, Bibliography p. 315 (reference to Caillat Āy and Caillat Jn).

Āṇanda's (a layman's) death in Upāsakadaśāḥ: Hoernle Uv I: 43-44; Suttāgame I, p. 1136. - Hoernle Uv I: 43-44: >>... Āṇande samaṇovāsae... māsiyāe saṃlehaṇāe attāṇaṃ jhūsittā, saṭṭhiṃ bhattāiṃ aṇasaṇāe chedettā,... kāla-māse kālaṃ kiccā... Sohamme Kappe... devattāe uvavanne... Mahāvidehe vāse sijjhihii <<. jhūsitta and chedettā: mortifying himself (jhūs-: Leumann Aup: 121) and depriving himself of meals. - Compare Ambaḍa (layman, monk) in Leumann Aup, § 100 and Khandaka (monk) in JĀGM Vyā I: 93 (51). See for sallekhanā Hoernle Uv II: fn.161.

The guṇavratas and śikṣāvratas have no parallels in monastic ethics (supra). The sallekhanā is recommended for the monk and also for the layman: “... the layman puts himself on a par with the monk” (Schubring Do: 300).

We are in the vrata context concerned with Pārśva (P. = 23, plus 2-22) and Mahāvīra (M. = 24, plus 1), to be more precise, with both Jinas in connection with the 4th vow [P.] or with the 4th and 5th vow [M.]); otherwise the two biographies are here not under consideration. Four vows or cāujjāma dhamma: >> bāvīsaṃ arahantā bhagavanto cāujjāmaṃ dhammaṃ paṇṇavayanti, taṃjahā savvāo pāṇâivāyāo veramaṇaṃ (i), savvāo musā-vādāo veramaṇaṃ (ii), savvāo adiṇṇa-dāṇāo veramaṇaṃ (iii), savvāo bahiddhadāṇāo (not clear, dāṇa? ādāṇa?) veramaṇaṃ (iv) << JĀGM (Sthā): 103 (266). To the cāujjāma dhamma of Pārśva (23, 2-22) corresponds in the case of Mahāvīra (24, 1) a fivefold formula (five mahavvayas) including the phrase >> panca-maha-vvaiyaṃ sa-paḍikkamaṇaṃ dhammaṃ <<. Bruhn Ma, § 19; Mette Sy: 134-136. Mahāvīra's fivefold sequence is standard, whereas Pārśva's fourfold sequence is rare (no. 4 is unexplained, supra); see also Schubring Do: 30-31 (cāujjāma).

A few short 'chains' are old and of universal importance: the four kaṣāyas, the five samitis (actually smṛtis), the three guptis, and a frequent threefold moral formula (trividhaṃ trividhena, tivihaṃ tiviheṇaṃ). The twenty-five bhāvanās (3) include the occasional tetrad koha, lobha, bhaya, hāsa (2nd mahavvaya, bhāvanās 2-5) and the pentad of the five senses (5th mahavvaya, bhāvanās 1-5).

The four kaṣāyas (Daśavaikālika 8,37-39) are connected with four antonyms (krodha, māna, māyā, lobha, antonyms: kṣamā, mārdava, ārjava, śauca); see Schubring Do: 293 (ibid. complete list of 18 vices); Bruhn So: 70. - The five samitis and the three guptis may go together (Alsdorf Ut: 8-10 (Ut Chapter 24); Jacobi (Ut) Ch 24, pp. 129-136; Schubring Do: 304-306; Okuda Di: 58, 124-125). We mention the terms: five samitis, JĀGM (Sama), p. 334: (i) circumspection observed in walking, (ii) c. in speaking, (iii) c. in looking for alms, (iv) c. in the way of taking utensils in one's hand and of either setting or laying them down, (v) c. in relieving nature. Samiti has in one case (Ut 24,4-7: walking, number i) a structure of fourfold subdivisions. See Jacobi, Schubring and Alsdorf supra for all terminological issues connected with the samitis. - Three guptis: JĀGM (Sama), p. 330: guptis of mind, speech and body. Ut, Ch 24, vss. 20-25. - 24,20: Gupti of the mind: >> saccā taheva mosā ya, sacca-mosā taheva ya / cautthī asacca-mosā [?] ya, maṇa-guttīo cauvvihā. << Okuda Di: 60, 126 (speech). 24,20 (mana-gutti) is almost identical with 24.22 (vai-gutti).

'Twice threefold': >>... jāvaj-jīvāe tivihaṃ tiviheṇaṃ / maṇeṇaṃ, vāyāe, kāeṇaṃ / na karemi, na kāravemi karentaṃ pi annaṃ na samaṇujāṇāmi <<... Daśavaikālika Chapter 4; Schubring Daś: 125 foll. and 202 foll.; Schubring Do: 300 (further examples). The formula occurs in a sequence in Daśavaikālika Chapter 4: In the five mahāvratas, in rātribhojana, in the four elements plus plants (seed-grains etc.), i.e. in the five categories of beings with one sense (Glasenapp Jn: 198).

There is a widespread tendency to define religion on the sole basis of terms, chains of terms, chains of related words, and not (not also) on the basis of the non-terminological language (general vocabulary, style, poetry). Language without terms is found in the Jaina canon only to some extent.

A peculiarity of Jaina literature is repetition: dogmatic repetition and narrative repetition. The resulting difficulties are sometimes a problem; see e.g. Daśavaikālika Sūtra 4 (different forms of dogmatic repetition): The monk or nun, having renounced (etc.) evil action, should not at day-time or in the night, alone or in company, sleeping or awake, touch (etc.) water, hoar (etc.), (or) his wet body or wet garment, his oily (?) body or oily (?) garment, should not ask another person to touch (etc.... first repetition) and should not approve another person's touching (etc.... second repetition). Schubring Daś: 128-132 and 204 (in a sequence protection of water etc., see the sequence). - Compare 'thrice threefold' and refer for narrative repetition in the first place to the confused Antakṛddaśāḥ of the canon.

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