Relevance of Jainism in 21st Century

Published: 21.01.2009
Updated: 02.07.2015

Background

Nature of an entity is defined as its religion by Jain ācāryas[1]. Further the Jain view of reality as with origination-destruction and permanence[2] implies that the universe with its multiple problems and their resolutions, new developments, was always there and continues to be there. Only their form (problems and developments) changes but the basic doctrine holds true.

A quick glimpse will show that problems associated with caste based rivalries, exploitation of women (as slaves and not letting them practice religion or getting education), vulgar display of wealth and associated economic disparities, animal sacrifice and multiplicity of religions (343 as per Sutrakṛtāṅga) existed during Mahāvīra’s time. The case today is no different but might appear to be more complicated and disguised as knowledge base has enlarged significantly and its dissemination is much faster and global than anytime before.

I give the above as background to show that Jain doctrine as propounded by Mahāvīra some 2600 years ago today is as relevant as it was then; only change is the adaptation of the same to solve today’s problems.

I will try to analyze the burning issues today related to eating habits that cause life style problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc, environment pollution, terrorism, HIV/Aids and bio-ethics in the context of Jain doctrine. For this analysis it is essential to keep the Anekānta doctrine in mind. Therefore I shall look at each problem from the absolute (doctrinal) viewpoint as well as from practical viewpoint. The difference is that the doctrinal (niścaya) viewpoint will push us to the absolutely no violence attitude and practice (like the monks are supposed to practice) and the self (soul’s purification) while the practical view point (vyavahāra) pushes us to minimize the violence syndrome just to the necessary for survival and to keep the concerns of others in mind as well.

To support my analysis of Jain doctrine and its relevance today it is important to first know it as a basis of modern day science a little bit and then the doctrine (annexure I).

1.0 Science in Jainism

Since we live in the age of science and knowledge, let us first see the existence of scientific facts enunciated by Mahavira some 2600 years ago due to his super natural knowledge (omniscience). It is amazing to see how He could visualize the structure of the universe from micro to macro levels without the aid of any modern day instruments. Some examples are given below to prove this:

    • Periodic table in science shows the basic number of elements found to date to be 102. The table also shows some blank positions and the possibility of more basic elements existent but not found till now. Jains talk of a possibility of 4 (8/2 touch) * 5 (colors) * 5 (taste) * 2 (odors) = 200 possible elements in which parmanus can combine to give different elements.
    • Water should be boiled and strained before drinking. Absence of this shows over 4000 persons dieing everyday by taking impure water.
    • The doctrine of Şaṭjṭvanikāya of Mahāvīra talks of air bodied, water bodied, fire bodied, earth bodied and plant bodied living beings, which are stationery and the living beings with mobile bodies
    • Concept of parmāṇu being the smallest indivisible part of matter of Jains has been established by Bohr in his atomic theory.
    • Matter emits light (Sir CV Raman), sound is matter (Galileo and Newton) and plants have life (JC Bose) are the principles, which have been accepted by scientific research so far. Detailed description of matter as skandhas, parmāṇus is indeed getting established by scientific research now. Similarly we find a number of other concerns proved by science about the constituents of universe.
    • The properties of matter such as ability of many atoms to co-exist in the same space point, conversion of matter into energy etc as given in Jain texts have been proved by scientific discoveries.

Similarly there are a number of significant factors concerning cosmos, matter besides the soul which are based on his actual experiences of  and can be verified by scientific experiments if enough effort is made in a systematic manner.

1.1 Jain Doctrine

The important Jain metaphysical postulates are summarized at Annexure I. The four cardinal principles of Jain way of life are:

    • Ahisāor non violence in conduct
    • Aparigraha or Non-possession in life and society
    • Anekānta or multiplicity of view points in thoughts
    • Syādvāda or Conditional dialectic in speech.

Non-violence is the heart of Jain philosophy. The entire ethical practice and the doctrine evolve around minutest details of this concept. Ahisā  is the essence of Jainism. ‘Ahisā parmo dharma, or Non-violence is the supreme religion; ‘Live and let live’, Paraspargraho jīvānām or Living beings are inter-related or dependent on each other. These are the fundamental slogans or signs by which Jainism is identified and associated with. No other religion talks of Ahinsa with such great emphasis and in such great details as Jainism. The entire moral and spiritual ethical postulates of Jain are based on these. Acharanga defines and describes the philosophy of Ahisābeautifully while Puruṣārtha Siddhi Upāya by Amṛta Candra proves that all the ethical tenets of Jainism are derived from Ahisā. We see here the emphasis on self also as all our violent activities cause pain to us ultimately even though we perform these activities for pleasure or to cause pain to others. Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest practitioner of Ahisā of our times and achieved independence for India using Ahisā as his weapon. In fact he used the concept of Ahisā in social transformation rather than spiritual purification. Indian constitution recognizes ahinsa and Jainism appropriately.

Aparigraha is described basically as absence of a feeling of mine. First eight verses of Sutrakrtanga describe the concept of aparigraha and its importance in achieving the ultimate objective in life i.e. liberation. Aparigraha is the absence of feelings of possession, attachment, bondage, expectation, desire, etc. First we spend our entire life in amassing material wealth, then in protecting it from leaving us before we realize it is of no use and cannot give happiness. Similarly we do everything for our family, even to the extent of living for them and see ultimately how the very family is unable to give us protection and happiness. In earlier times we know how Jains used to share their wealth in building temples dharamśālās, serving the monks, setting up educational and health services institutions and secretly support the needy members of the community. Aparigraha means work hard to earn but do not develop attachment to the results & benefits accrued and share them with others. Rather feeling like a custodian than an owner is what is important in attaining happiness.

Anekānta is based on the principle that truth is infinite and it is not possible for us (i.e. non-omniscient) to know it completely. We always know a part of it as per our requirements or objectives while there are many more aspects to it that are not known to us. Therefore we should not insist on our viewpoint as the only and complete truth. Examples of 40 persons photographing a tree or the seven blind men trying to define an elephant explain the concept of Anekānta. The principle of Anekānta is based on the doctrine that our knowledge is relative, opposite of what we know also exists knowledge of others that is also true from a particular view point i.e. reconciliation. Even if we know the entire truth we cannot express it completely at the same time. Therefore Jains talk of Svādavāda, a method of speaking the partial truth without negating the existence of more features or facts. The entire judicial system, if analysed will be seen to be based on the doctrine of Anekānta. Similarly the fundamental principles of democracy i.e. existence of opposition is based on Anekanta. Basis of all terrorism & violence in the world is the insistence of one’s view as the only truth.

1.2 Approach to analyze an Issue and come to a Conclusion

While analyzing any issue and see the relevance of Jain doctrine to find an acceptable / adaptable solution, we should keep the above three principles in mind:

  1. Implication of Ahinsa parmo dharma and Jiyo aur jine do. We know the ideal of completely abstaining from violence is not possible so we have to focus on that solution involving the minimal violence.
  2. Implications of anekanta doctrine. We must analyze every issue from absolute viewpoint (niscaya naya) and the impact on our pure soul as well as from the practical or vyavaara naya, which focuses on the impact on others as well. Both these views taken together only can provide a valid solution to a problem as per Jain doctrine.
  3. An uninvolved group of religious, legal and subject matter expert should analyze the problem from different viewpoints / angles to come to an appropriate decision.

I shall now take up a few burning issues of our present times affecting each and everyone of us around the world.

2.0 Lifestyle Problems

Lifestyle problems as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, enhanced violence and intolerance primarily are related to our changed eating habits. There are many other causes for these problems, but food i.e. type, quantity and quality that we consume is perhaps the most important factor.

Dieting and Vegetarianism have become fad today. Everybody talks of them primarily for being slim and beautiful. Jain diet aims at peaceful mind and enhanced ability to meditate and to focus on achievement of our objectives as health and beauty are its natural benefits also. It is here that the vegetarian diet, not eating before sunrise and after sunset, straining and boiling water and fasting are all essential activities to be observed / performed by householders. While Āyurveda divides food in three types namely ‘hita’ or beneficial to the body, mita or eating less than needed and ṛta i.e. which does not depend on exploitation of others and the consumer earns his food; Jains talk primarily of the third type as the first two are corollaries of this. Basis of Jain diet can be enumerated as follows:

2.1 Non Violence (Ahisā)[3]

Thus Jain food also is based on the practice of this doctrine i.e. minimizing ahinsa. Thus plant based or strict vegetarian food in as much natural form as possible is the recommended constituents of Jain diet. This result in the following boundaries for what is good to eat and what is not good:

    • Anything, which involves killing of mobile living beings, e.g. meat and eggs of any type and their products; honey; food grains and cooked foods infested with moth / mildew and micro organism etc. are non-edible.
    • Anything, which involves killing of large numbers of stationery (one sensed living beings), e.g. root vegetables like onion, garlic, potatoes etc. are non-edible.
    • Anything, which induces laziness or are toxic or aphrodisiac in nature, e.g. alcohol in any form; tobacco; opium, heroin etc. are non-edible.
    • Anything, which is even edible but not suitable for particular individual, e.g. cold water or drinks for a person suffering from cold, cough etc. are non-edible.
    • Anything, which is unknown, is non-edible.
    • Exercise carefulness while preparing and taking food. The food should be prepared in a clean place after carefully cleaning the food articles by known and well-intentioned persons. Not eating after sunset as the subtle two- and three-sensed living beings may not be visible. 

Most of the plant based foods like cereals, fruits (except infested or having large colonies of micro organism in them or toxic in nature), vegetables (except root vegetables, leaf vegetables during rainy season, vegetables infested with insects) are considered edible. Eggs, meat of any type and their derivatives are totally prohibited as they are produced by committing essential violence in one way or the other. Milk and its products are generally considered edible but with certain limitations.



2.2 Non-Eating

This principle is based on total avoidance of violence and to attain self-control. Jains lay equal importance on not eating also. The first three types of external penance[4] are anśana (fasting), unodari (eating less than what is normal food intake) and rasa parityāga (giving up one or more of the five types of tastes namely salty-sweet-oily-dry and bitter foods on specific dates and for specific periods). Jains (practicing spiritual vows) keep fasts or eat once a day on 8th and 14th day of each fortnight and do the same almost on all festivals and special occasions. Further they do not eat greens during rainy season and on specified days etc. The community glorifies those individuals who observe the maximum number of fasts during Paryuṣaṇa Parva.

2.3 Reduction of Passions (Anger, Pride, Deceit and Greed) & Maximization of Self-Control (sanyama)

This principle is to ensure the right mix and quantities of food to be attentive and be able to perform activities, which enable us to achieve our objectives. Food has direct impact on perverted views (mithyātva), disinterest in observing vows (avirati), laziness (pramāda), passions (kaṣāya) and activities of mind, body and speech (yoga). The same has been proved by science. Food has good as well as bad effects depending to an extent on its nature, the method it is prepared, the mixing of different types and the quantity of its intake. Āyurveda talks of three broad categories of food namely rajasika (rich or heavy to digest), tāmasika (toxic causing laziness and loss of discriminating knowledge) and sātvika (pure food which is fit for consumption to lead a healthy and peaceful life). Jain diet emphasizes the last type. Sātvika food contains all the four essential constituents of food namely food grains, edibles and water; oil, air and solar energy in essential quantities and prepared properly. In today’s terminology such types of food can be compared to balanced food having carbohydrates, proteins, salt, oil, water, air, minerals and vitamins. Similarly those food items, which are said to be aphrodisiac in effect or cause loss of discriminating intellect or cause enhancement of violent nature, are to be avoided.

2.4 Modern medical science, economic and ecology views on vegetarian diet. [5]

We see a significant movement in the world towards adopting a total vegetarian diet and giving up meat eating or even animal based products. This trend is based primarily on health considerations. Everyday we find new medical reports identifying illnesses correlated to eating meat and poultry products.

Similarly a number of studies support economic considerations for being vegetarian and resource constraints in supporting meat-eating habits. On the ecology front also, recent researches on production of meat or other animal products show detrimental effect they have on our land and water resources besides the harm it causes to the air quality and the ill effect of consuming animal products.

3.0 Environment pollution

Ācāraṅga, the first of the twelve limbs of Jain canonical literature describes in details the principle of Ahiṅsā and its implication as preached by Mahāvīra himself.

“Thus say all the perfect souls and blessed ones, whether past, present or to come-by speak / declare and proclaim thus ‘, should not be slain or treated with violence, or insulted, or tortured, or ruled or driven away’. This is the pure unchanging eternal law, which the wise ones who know the world have proclaimed in east-west-north-south and all directions”.

Later Ācāraṅga in its first chapter talks of six types of living beings and suggests that the soul of each type of living being is similar to the own soul. The five types of living beings with one sense organ and stationery that cannot move on their own, are air-bodied, water-bodied, fire-bodied, earth-bodied and plant-bodied. The sixth type is tras or the living being, which can move to achieve its objectives (i.e. having 2 to 5 sense organs). It says that no body wants to die or have pain. All these five types of stationery beings are to be treated as living beings and violence is to be minimized towards them to minimize environment pollution in modern parlance

The recent economic theory of consumerism, i.e. increase demand for goods and services bring economic prosperity has led to rampant indulgence in using natural resources (hydrocarbons extraction, deforestation) and discharging effluents in air, water to cause environmental imbalance and a threat to our very existence. Along with this growing demand for material wealth, we see use of unfair means to amass wealth (threatening, killing, aids) and greater unhappiness in people. We see rapidly increasing life style diseases like hypertension, diabetes, hearing impairment, air pollution related diseases like asthma etc.

The first verse in Daśavaikālika and Şaṭkhaṅdāgama: ‘Dhammo magala mukkittama, ahiṅsā  sajama, tavo ….’ talks of non violence, self control and penance as the supreme spiritual values. For environment balance, we have to practice self-control by minimizing our consumption of natural resources, as the total ban of their consumption is not practical for living. Examples are use of water in limited quantities for bathing, washing; not wasting food (to leave leftovers or to overeat) or energy (leaving the lights or ACs on even though not used and use of CFL lighting system etc). Such attitude and practices will solve all our environment pollution problems eliminating their depletion and associated medical (disease like asthma, hearing loss, allergies, breathing problems etc) and economic problems.

No doubt everybody wants a comfortable life but we have to be careful so that the ecological balance is not disturbed and the span of comfortable life changes from momentary to long term. Fundamental principles of Şaṭjṭvanikāya, non-violence aparigraha, anekānta and self restraint do provide solutions to these problems by indulging in a balanced use of these resources that enables them to rejuvenate themselves and be of use to us continuously.

4.0 Terrorism

Terrorism implies disguised acts of violence to cause a fear psychosis amongst masses (terror) to demand acceptance of the terrorist’s views as he thinks that he is victimized. Terrorism can be for meeting economic, religious or racial objectives. Violence begets violence. Nobody can win lasting peace by use of force. The Chinese president while visiting the USA presented the book: ‘ How to win war without fighting by Lo Tse’ to George Bush. In our own time, we have seen Mahatma Gandhi using ahiṅsā , aparigraha and anekānta to win freedom for India. Thich Nhat Hanh, renowned Zen master and preacher of peace said in Times of India on Oct 2nd 2008:

Death to the oppressor is not what monk (who self immolated) desired but an end to hate, oppression and discrimination. (His letter to Martin Luther King in 1962)

Terrorists are victims who create more victims. How to solve terrorism? The state should invite those who believe that they are victims of discrimination and injustice to speak about it. We should initiate sessions of deep listening and invite deeply spiritual people, who don’t have to be famous, to attend these and publicise these sessions to find compassionate solutions & understanding. 

The above is a practical application of the doctrine of non-violence and anekanta to resolve the issues related to terrorism i.e. show compassion (ahiṅsā) and understand the view points of all; and use education and dialogue to resolve differences using the technique of give and take. Ahiṅsā  and Anekānta (existence of opposing forces, reconciliation) will bring us closer to solving this problem. Of course there will always be exceptions and some people will play truant. To bring such people around, the vow of non-violence for householders clearly talks of committing minimal violence as virodhi hiṅsā  for self-defense. Ārambhi hiṅsā  as professional violence may have to be exercised only to stop the spread of terrorism and to bring the victims to the dialogue table to soon come back to normalcy by educating and rehabilitating the persons involved in such acts.

5.0 HIV / AIDS

The methods for control of diseases and ills like HIV/AIDS, can be categorized to my view as follows.

1. Preventive
  • Abstinence
  • Indulgence with caution
2. Curative

Preventive works are sub-classified as abstinence and observing precautions while indulging. The abstinence and to some extent the precautionary measures are faith based and hence Jain doctrine plays an important role. Here we take up briefly this burning social issue connected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Jains give very high importance to being celibate. The fifth anuvrata, called Brahamcarya or svadar santośa vrata for the householders, is defined as follows[6]:

To limit one’s sexual activities to the married partner of opposite sex only. All other women are called as those who are married to others or are not married /owned by anybody else (e.g. unmarried women and prostitutes etc). The five flaws (or abstinences) of this vow are further given as follows:

    1. Indulgence in arranging marriage of others (other than own children or dependent brothers and sisters).
    2. To have sex by organs not meant for sexual activities (e.g. masturbation, homosexuality or oral sex etc).
    3. To make bodily or vocal gestures which provoke sex.
    4. To be mentally engaged profusely in sex.
    5. To deal or socialize with prostitutes or women with loose character.

To observe celibacy Tattvārthsutra advices us to abstain from listening to stories arousing sex (or watching movies these days), to look or observe the sex arousing body parts of women, to reminiscence past activities, to give up eating aphrodisiac foods and to abstain from decorating own body.

Besides the above, Jain texts talk of sexual interactions primarily for pro-creation and ask its followers to avoid sexual activities on special and holy days and places (e.g. 8th and 14th of each fortnight, religious holy days and festivals and at pilgrim or religious places).

Such descriptions and importance assigned to celibacy exert special caution on Jains to abstain from sexual interactions. Thus Jains normally practice and preach (through educating and self examples) the preventive measures to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and evils.

For curing such diseases, Jains do set up hospitals and dispensaries but not specifically for such diseases. To provide social acceptance to patients, Jains have the six essential duties, which include pratikramaṇa (recalling mistakes and seek punishment and promise not to repeat them in future) and its sarvodaya doctrine.

6.0 Bio ethics[7]

The modern day life style, changing paradigms of pleasure has given rise to many issues. Jaina philosophy bases its ethics on its principal doctrine of non-violence and so all ethical questions are validated according to the level and intention of the act. Similarly when we analyze any issue, Jains will use the doctrine of multiplicity of viewpoints (Anekānta) to analyze the problem and then come up with conflict resolution.
Some of these shall be discussed below with Jain view.

6.1  Ethics of Contraception and Population Control

Jainism prescribes vow of limited celibacy for householders and complete celibacy for monks and nuns. For householders abstaining sexual activities, except for procreation with religiously wedded wife only and abstaining on holy days is recommended. In a way Jains support rhythm method of birth control to avoid minimization of killing of sperms and to avoid having too many children as they enhance attachment and feelings for possessions (causes of kārmika bondage and pain).

6.2 Ethics of births

Even though Jainism probably will not care how the child was brought into this world because this child was to be born regardless of the ways and means, yet methods of artificial procreation like in-vitro fertilization (artificial insemination) and surrogate motherhood (commonly known as renting the womb) are refuted by Jainism due to the

    1. Flaws associate with observing the vow of celibacy.
    2. Karma doctrine which says that having / not having a child by natural means is the result of one’s past karmas.
    3. Pains suffered by the surrogate mother.

From practical viewpoint, the pains of childless couples can be minimized by

    • Adopting a child.
    • Better utilization of the couple’s resources for social welfare, professional excellence and their own spiritual purification.
    • Analyzing that children are the cause of attachments and aversions leading to influx of karmas and pain as generally is the case when the children grow up.

So Jains will refute artificial means of having a biological child.

There is a mythological story concerning transfer of Mahāvīra's embryo from the womb of Devaki to Tṛślā in Śvetāmbara tradition, Digambaras question the validity of the story.

6.3 Ethics of unwanted Pregnancies / Child Birth

In general Jainism prohibits abortion of an unwanted child, a girl child or due to birth defects, etc because of the basic principle of nonviolence, regardless to other reasons. As there are possibilities of life to be born, the killing of that life is high-leveled violence equal to killing a human being.

However taking the Anekanta view, we have to see the concerns of the mother, the family, society and the country at large also. Education to prevent the occurrence of such conditions (pregnancies) and the ill effects of the termination of pregnancies is essential to enable the victims exercise restraint / caution before committing such acts. Emotional, social and economic considerations generally affect such people involved in deciding the action to be taken once the situation arises. At times we may find conclusions with higher importance to practical viewpoints as to absolute viewpoint after requiring a group of unaffected religious / medical and legal persons to approve an action. 

6.4 Should Animal transplants be given to Humans?

Five-pound infant baby Fae was given a heart transplant of a seven-month-old female baboon by Dr. Leonard Baily of Loma Linda University in California. Baby Fae survived 21 days. Animal rights group protested against use of baboon as organ factories. Jaina view is very clear here that life of the baboon is equally precious as the life of baby Fae and that this will be an act of murder, violation of the principle of non-violence. Jains consider this is one life sacrificed for saving other life; this is not an experiment on animal to save disease process or entire humanity at large and therefore is not acceptable.

6.5 Ethics of Cloning

Jaina belief is that the process of cloning is limited to the physical body of a person, and that individuality is determined by the karmic and electric (tejas) bodies that cannot be cloned. Identical twins become different individuals although their physical bodies are identical. Therefore Jaina view is that the science of cloning may produce a physical body but will not create a living being. The individuality of a living being with a physical body produced through artificial scientific methods or with natural means will always be dependent on his karmika accumulations.

Another Jaina view would neither approve nor disapprove cloning but would feel that this living being’s physical body was meant to be born while the karmic and fiery body came into this physical body with the migration of soul in this body and the soul cannot be cloned.

6.6 The Ethics of End of Life i.e. Death and Dieing (Sallekhana)

Getting killed by others, suicide or self-emulation on husband’s pier, sickness, euthanasia and the natural pious are some of the ways by which one’s life can be terminated. Jaina philosophy believes in transgression of soul i.e. soul reincarnates as another living being, until liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth (mokṣa). The first two, to be killed or committing suicide are vehemently refuted by Jainism, as both are the highest levels of violence.

Sickness is a form of natural cause and is associated with the karmas. Jainism will support treatment to the patient as long as it is possible if patient, family, the society at large and the medical view are in favor of it. During the treatment, the patient should be encouraged to develop stamina to bear the pain and meditate on the self to be engrossed in religious activities until natural death comes.

In some cases the disease becomes incurable or there is no possibility for the patient to return to normal life. In such cases, the severity of suffering by the patient becomes intolerable to him and his attending family and friends. The medical opinion is also negative in the curability of the disease. In such cases, the patient is assisted by the doctors (euthanasia). Jainism will oppose euthanasia from doctrinal viewpoint but from the viewpoint of the family, attendants and society the decision can be different. Here again the final decision is to be taken by unaffected religious, legal and medical persons to initiate.

The best way to die is to practice sallekhana or to peacefully and religiously end one‘s life as described in Jain holy texts. Thus when the physical body can no longer function towards spiritual progress, a planned way to death is prescribed called sallekhanā. Sallekhanā can be defined as planned detachment with the present body under special circumstances and for the purpose of decreasing the accumulated bad karmas is prescribed. Only persons with right perception can make such decision. Here also the group of religious, legal and medical persons has to approve the decision of the patient to start observing sallekhanā. Jain texts say a person observing sallekhanā is destined to liberation within maximum of eight lives. Death thus is considered a celebration.

7.0 Jain Community today

Jains today account for less than.5 percent of total population of India. They are considered to be peace-loving, non-violent and social welfare-oriented and to account for a substantial portion of Indian economy. Recent census by Government of India showed literacy rate amongst Jains is the highest (over 98%) with more than 50% having at least a college degree. They are engaged in knowledge-based professions like medicine, engineering, computers, law, publication, trading and administration. They contribute significantly to the social cause as over 4400 schools have been set up and managed by them, 100s of dispensaries and hospitals etc. also. What can be a better demonstration of relevance of Jainism today than these facts and figures about the practitioners of Jainism?

7.0 Conclusion

We see that Jain philosophy talks primarily of rather improving oneself in worldly and spiritual matters, than to make others improve. Acharya Tulsi has beautifully described in one sentence: “By improving yourself, the family improves, by improving the family, the community improves, by improving the community the state and then the country and finally the world improves”. So Jain focus on the individual as the center of all activities to achieve worldly and spiritual goals.

For the Jain community, I feel we have to learn from our history. Very important for our survival is to minimize the display of our prosperity and well-being and to share our wealth and way of life with others. The example of a fruit-laden mango teaches us how to bend down that people can enjoy the fruits and the shade. This teaches us how to prosper and share. Similarly we have to find non-violent means to protect ourselves from the so-called religious fanatics.

Views on relevance of Jainism by famous persons[8]:

I do not know if there is rebirth or not, or life after death. But if it is true, then I would like to be born in India as a Jain.  (Albert Einstein)

I am not Rama. I have no desire for material things. Like a Jina, I want to establish peace within myself. (Sri Rama, In The Hindu Yoga Vasishtha)

Abstinence from violence, falsehood, stealing, carnality and possessiveness-these are the vows. (Tattāvartha Sutra)

The sages, who discovered the law of non-violence in the midst of violence, were greater geniuses than Newton, greater warriors than Wellington. Non-violence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute. (Roman Rolland)

They say that the Jaina religion is practiced only by the few. I say that the Jaina code of life is destined to be practiced by the many. They say that heart and soul of Jainism will eventually be embraced by humanity as a whole. Indeed, that blessed day is fast approaching. (Sri Chinmoy)

Annexure I: Jain Doctrine. Metaphysical Considerations

    • God is neither creator, nor destroyer or administrator of the universe. The universe is eternal; it existed from times immemorable, and will exist forever. Only its form and contents continuously go through a process of change.
    • All events in this universe occur due to collection of five co-factors
      • Nature (svabhāva),
      • Destiny
      • Time
      • Past karmas
      • Efforts
    • The reality i.e. ‘sat’ as per Jains is ‘existent’ (asti). They further define existence as substance / dravya. Dravya is further classified as jīva or sentient or living beings and ajīva or insentient or non-living beings.
    • Characteristics of reality or substance are permanence with change or with origination / destruction and permanence. It means permanence and change (pariṇāmi nitya) or eternal - non–eternal (nityānitya) and Arthkriyākāritva (power to produce activity). Origination and destruction are functions of substance. However the changing substance does not leave its nature i.e. permanence. Substances are further classified as sentient / living being / jīva and insentient / non-living being / ajīva.

    • Jiva is further subdivided as mukta / liberated and sansari /empirical. Empirical souls are further classified in many ways and the most common classification is sthavar i.e. living beings, which cannot move on their own, and tras i.e. living beings, which can move as per their objectives. Ajīva are subdivided as matter (pudgala), which is the only concrete substance and dharma, adharma, space and time which are supportive and non concrete. Jiva and matter are the only active substance types while the other four substance types are supportive by nature and support actions and interactions of jīva and matter.
    • Empirical souls and matter interact with each other. Their interaction is called sansar or the world. Jains describe these interactions and states as tattvas, seven in number. The first two are jiva and ajiva, which are the main actors; the next two i.e. influx and bondage show the interactions between them and called sansar or engagement for pleasure and pain. This is called pravriti or engagement and Jains talk of moral ethics to minimize demerit and maximize merit. Causes for sansar are delusion, inadvertence, laziness, passions and activities of mind/body and speech. The next two i.e. stoppage and dissociation of soul from matter are the nivritti or the state of detachment and spiritual purification to attain the last stage called moksa or liberation of the soul from sansar or bondage. Bondage is further classified as auspicious for meritorious results and inauspicious for de-meritorious results.

    • Doctrine of karma, perhaps one of the most important contributions of Jains. All our acts and events in life are based on a cause-effect relation i.e. as you sow so shall you reap. Karmas, which are like the seeds of our activities to yield result in appropriate time, are the cause of sansar and the soul is called mukta soul when it frees itself from karmic bondage. The holy Jain texts provide extremely detailed analysis of causes of bondages, types and nature, duration and path to destroy bondage of karmas with soul.

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Sources
International School for Jain Studies
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acaranga
  2. Acharanga
  3. Acharya
  4. Acharya Tulsi
  5. Adharma
  6. Ahinsa
  7. Ahiṅsā
  8. Ajiva
  9. Ajīva
  10. Albert Einstein
  11. Anekanta
  12. Anekānta
  13. Anger
  14. Anuvrata
  15. Aparigraha
  16. Avirati
  17. Bhadra
  18. Body
  19. Candra
  20. Celibacy
  21. Consumerism
  22. Daśavaikālika
  23. Deceit
  24. Dhammo
  25. Dharma
  26. Digambaras
  27. Dravya
  28. Ecology
  29. Einstein
  30. Environment
  31. Essence of Jainism
  32. Fasting
  33. Fear
  34. Gandhi
  35. Greed
  36. International School for Jain Studies
  37. JAINA
  38. Jain Food
  39. Jain Philosophy
  40. Jaina
  41. Jainism
  42. Jina
  43. Jiva
  44. Jīva
  45. Karma
  46. Karmas
  47. Kaṣāya
  48. Mahatma
  49. Mahatma Gandhi
  50. Mahavira
  51. Mahāvīra
  52. Meditation
  53. Mithyātva
  54. Moksa
  55. Mokṣa
  56. Naya
  57. Newton
  58. Niscaya Naya
  59. Nitya
  60. Nityānitya
  61. Non violence
  62. Non-violence
  63. Nonviolence
  64. Parva
  65. Paryuṣaṇa
  66. Pramāda
  67. Pratikramaṇa
  68. Pride
  69. Pudgala
  70. Puruṣārtha
  71. Rama
  72. Rasa
  73. Rasa parityāga
  74. Sallekhana
  75. Sallekhanā
  76. Sansar
  77. Sarvodaya
  78. Science
  79. Science In Jainism
  80. Siddhi
  81. Soul
  82. Space
  83. Space point
  84. Sthavar
  85. Sutra
  86. Svabhāva
  87. Syādvāda
  88. Tattvas
  89. Times Of India
  90. Tulsi
  91. Unodari
  92. Vegetarianism
  93. Violence
  94. Virodhi
  95. Vrata
  96. Yoga
  97. Ācāraṅga
  98. Āyurveda
  99. Śvetāmbara
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