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Karma - The Mechanism: Tattvarthasutra 6.24

Published: 15.08.2014

Darshanavishuddhir vinayasampannata shilavratesvanaticharo(a)bhikshna jnanopayogasamvegau shaktitas tyagatapasi sadhu samadhi vaiyavrityakaranam arrhad acharya
bahushruta pravachanabhaktir avashyakaparihanir marga-prabhavana pravachanavatsalatvam iti tirthakaratvasya (24)

Sixteen types of actions and attitudes attract karma that manifests the body of a tirthankara (a perfect teacher who teaches from the state of omniscience):
  1. actively orienting towards growth (samyag darshana)
  2. appreciation for the factors that lead to freedom from all karmic limitations and for all who strive towards this goal
  3. consciously realizing the Five Freedoms
  4. ceaseless pursuit of all knowledge that leads to freedom from all karmic limitations
  5. constant awareness of the temporary and limiting nature of the material form our consciousness is subjected to during its incarnation(s)
  6. charity (dissolving the fear of others and supporting those striving for ultimate freedom by supplying knowledge and food)
  7. overcoming the hardships we may confront while striving for freedom from all karmic limitations
  8. protecting others and removing obstacles on their path to ultimate freedom
  9. supporting others on their path to ultimate freedom by paying attention to their special needs (e.g. by preparing especially pure food etc.)
  10. respect and reverence for the omniscient
  11. respect and reverence for those who publicly represent and propagate freedom from all karmic limitations
  12. respect and reverence for those who teach how to reach freedom from all karmic limitations
  13. respect for the knowledge conveyed by the scriptures
  14. teaching others how to gain freedom from all karmic limitations
  15. carrying out six simple daily practices[31]
  16. deep compassion and understanding for all who strive for the ultimate freedom. (24)

tirthankaras are human beings who reached the 13th stage of development - the state of omniscience - but refrain from achieving the ultimate freedom for a while to impart their know-how to others. All descriptions how to reach freedom from karmic limitations originate in the direct experiences of the tirthankaras.

An extraordinary stability of body and mind is necessary to retain the bodily form after reaching omniscience. Since the attractiveness of ultimate freedom is immense in this stage, all other beings proceed straight onto liberation.

The types of actions mentioned in the sutra acquire a special kind of karma that enables to teach from omniscience (i.e. to communicate knowledge to people who are still deeply immersed in highly limiting karmic mechanisms). Though tirthankaras have not achieved ultimate freedom, they will reach this state once their teaching karma is dissolved. After reaching ultimate freedom tirthankaras take no special position amongst the free beings (siddhas).


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Title: Karma - The Mechanism

Publisher: Crosswind Publishing

Edition: 2000

HN4U Edition: 2014

'The purpose of souls is to assist each other.'
TATTVARTHASUTRA - Chapter 5, Sutra 21

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Darshana
  5. Fear
  6. Karma
  7. Meditation
  8. Omniscient
  9. Sadhu
  10. Samadhi
  11. Samyag Darshana
  12. Sutra
  13. Tirthankara
  14. Tirthankaras
  15. siddhas
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