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Jainism 101 - an overview of Jain philosophy

Jainism 101 gives a brief overview of the basics of Jain philosophy. Stemming from ancient shramanic tradition of India, this simple but profound path is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Jain way of life is based on three principles Ahimsa (non-injury), Anekantvad (Non-absolutism) and Aparigraha (non-attachment).

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JAINISM 101
Back to the Basics
by Sudhir M. Shah
Authoritative
Absolutism
Biased
Dogma
Blind
Faith
What is Religion?
What is Religion?
According to Mahavir Swami
“The true nature of a substance is it’s religion”
What is Religion?
Thus, revealing
- the true nature of our soul, or
- the inherent qualities of our soul
is ‘Dharma’
Inherent Qualities of our Soul
 Infinite Knowledge
 Infinite Perception
 Infinite Energy
 Infinite Bliss
• The first two are cognitive functions of the
soul and represents consciousness.
• Energy is an abstract force which powers the
operation of the knowing and perceiving
qualities of the soul.
• Bliss is a state which includes compassion,
love and total self-sufficiency.
Inherent Qualities of our Soul

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Jainism 101 - an overview of Jain philosophy

  • 1. JAINISM 101 Back to the Basics by Sudhir M. Shah Authoritative Absolutism Biased Dogma Blind Faith
  • 3. What is Religion? According to Mahavir Swami “The true nature of a substance is it’s religion”
  • 4. What is Religion? Thus, revealing - the true nature of our soul, or - the inherent qualities of our soul is ‘Dharma’
  • 5. Inherent Qualities of our Soul  Infinite Knowledge  Infinite Perception  Infinite Energy  Infinite Bliss
  • 6. • The first two are cognitive functions of the soul and represents consciousness. • Energy is an abstract force which powers the operation of the knowing and perceiving qualities of the soul. • Bliss is a state which includes compassion, love and total self-sufficiency. Inherent Qualities of our Soul
  • 7. Why do we need a Religion?
  • 8. Why do we need a Religion? Isn’t it water for our soul and our spirit? We need to be fulfilled
  • 10. Who are Jains? – Jains are followers of JINA, the conqueror of inner enemies. – These inner enemies (Kashay) are anger(Krodh), greed(lobh), ego(man) and deceit(maya). These arise out of attachment(rag): leading to greed and pride and aversion(dvesh): leading to deceit and anger.
  • 11. Representations of JINA Jina as “Vitaragi” Free of Attachments and Aversions. Eyes closed in meditation. Jina as Spiritual Victor/King. One who has conquered his/her inner enemies. Eyes open and royally adorned
  • 12. What is Jainism? • APhilosophyofLiving – Jainism is a religion of self-help: with out any outside agency - even god coming to the rescue of the soul. The soul is its own destroyer or liberator.
  • 13. Concept of God in Jainism • God is a liberated soul, free of the cycle of birth and death • God is NOT a Creator, Preserver or Destroyer of the Universe • God does not judge anyone or intervene by punishing or rewarding anyone. • Every living being has a potential to become God through his/her own efforts
  • 14. Five Axioms • Soul exists • The soul is eternal and independent • The soul is responsible for its own actions • The soul experiences repercussions from its actions • The soul can attain liberation
  • 15. THE ULTIMATE GOAL To free our soul from the bondage of Karma by Completely eliminating all our Kashaya attachments and aversions.
  • 16. THE ULTIMATE GOAL The capacity to reach our goal is within us The first step we need to take is to shed delusion (Mithyatva)
  • 17. What is Jain Activity? Any activity of body, Speech or Mind that helps us eliminate our Kashay (Anomaly of soul) like anger, ego, deceit, greed is a Jain activity
  • 18. The practice of Jainism Non-violence (Ahimsa) Respect for the life of all beings leading to compassionate living and selfless service Non-absolutism (Anekantavad) Respect for the views of others leading to mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha) Respect for the environment setting voluntary limits on use of resources and ethical living
  • 19. Non violence (Ahimsa) • Ahimsa is disciplined behavior towards every living being - Dashvaikalika Sutra (6/9) • Absence of violence of any sort towards all beings at all times is Ahimsa. - Yogasutra • In its absolute definition, ‘Ahimsa is the absence of destructive thoughts, feelings or attitude’
  • 20. •Ahimsa is not to be practiced at the physical level only but at a mental one as well. In other words, it is stated that there should be no Himsa by ‘ Man ‘ (mind), ‘Vachan’ (speech), or ‘Kaya” (body). •Even hurting feelings is himsa. Non violence (Ahimsa)
  • 21. Non-absolutism (Anekantvad) Mahavirswami One of the most revolutionary and radical thinkers of all times “To deny the co-existence of mutually conflicting viewpoints about a thing would mean to deny the true nature of reality” - Acharang Sutra
  • 22. • All claims of “truth” are Relative or Non-absolute • Truth is expressed in many ways • One cannot make definite statement about Truth, each statement is true in its own limited sense • To understand the nature of Existence, one requires the vision of seeing an entity from all perspectives - this is Anekantvad Non-absolutism (Anekantvad)
  • 23. Application of Anekantvad Replace certitude with relativity in thinking Not only tolerate but respect other’s view points Dynamic philosophy of life Life of friendliness and harmony Life of partnership and participation Life of universal love and equality Change in our outlook, thought and action An integral, balanced and effective approach to problem solving
  • 24. Application of Anekantvad “It has been my experience that I am always right from my point of view and wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we both are right and this knowledge saves me from attributing motives to my opponents and critics”. - Mahatma Gandhi in Young India 1925
  • 25. Syadvad •It is a theory of conditional predication •It is a theory of relativity of propositions or judgments •It explains reality epistemologically •It is a method of expressing multifaceted ness of objects by using the qualifies ‘Syad’
  • 26. Syadvad All knowledge claims are only tentative “X may be Y” or “X is Y under certain conditions” rather than “X is Y” Similarity with Einstein’s theory of Relativity
  • 27. Saptabhangi (Seven fold prediction) • Maybe it is existent • Maybe it is non-existent • Maybe it is existent and non-existent • Maybe it is indefinable • Maybe it is existent and indefinable • Maybe it is non-existent and indefinable • Maybe it is existent, non-existent and indefinable
  • 28. Non-possessiveness/non-attachment Aparigraha • . Parigraha is the primary cause of all violence. • In fact, true Non-violence can not be achieved without the spirit of Aparigraha.
  • 29. Aparigraha Non-possessiveness/non-attachment • Aparigraha for the layperson is commonly understood to mean 'limiting one's possessions'. •One must be careful here not to get caught up in just the physical act of vow taking, in giving up this or that. It may be the beginning but until we understand and develop the spirit of non-attachment, physical act alone may be of little help!
  • 30. What is Karma? • Karma is nothing other than the mechanism that makes us thoroughly experience the themes of our life until we gained optimal knowledge from them and until our emotional attachment to these themes falls off.
  • 31. What is Karma? • Karma is everything BUT a negative load on our life
  • 32. Jain Karma Theory • Law of Cause and Effect • Law of Action and Reaction • What one sows, one reaps • Our intention behind our actions of mind, speech and body binds us with Karma
  • 33. Jain Karma Theory • Our “Kashay” (anger, ego, greed and deceit) bind karma to our soul. • Story of Mahavirswami
  • 34. An Analogy - Magnetism
  • 35. Empowering Theory • While the Law of Karma dictates what we are experiencing now to be the result of our own past action, the Law - by clearly defining the principle of cause and effect - also lays before us positive future direction of our own choice and making • Only WE are responsible for our past, present and future and only WE can alter it. No one else can!
  • 36. Summary • Understanding of the mechanism of Karma leads to total independence. • It unfolds abilities generally attributed only to supernatural beings. • We achieve this not by fickle divine sanction or by surrendering to a guru. • Through our own efforts, we recognize our own personal path with ever increasing clarity.
  • 37. Nav Tattva (Nine Reals) • The Relationship between Soul and Karma areThe Relationship between Soul and Karma are defined in Nine Reals known as Nav Tattvadefined in Nine Reals known as Nav Tattva
  • 38. Nav Tattva (Nine Reals) • Jiva (souls) • Ajiva (non-sentient entities) • Punya (Virtues) • Papa (Sins) • Inflow - Asrava (inflow of karmic particles to the soul) • Binding - Bandha (binding of karmic part. to the soul) • Stopping - Samvara (stopping the karmic inflow) • Shedding - Nirjara (falling away of karmic particles) • Liberation - Moksh (liberation from worldly bondage)
  • 39. Practice of Jain Philosophy 1. Control over passions 2. Eliminate anger, ego, deceit, greed (Kashay) within our selves (Victory over the ‘self’) 3. Develop a vision to look for only good in others Thus fill your basket with virtues. -Acharya Haribhadrasuriji (700-770AD) in ‘Darshanshastra’
  • 40. Story of a parrot
  • 41. Jainism, Universe and Science • Science and the foundation of Jainism – “Jainism’s important tenets are based on science. The more science advances, the more Jainism will be proven true” - L.P. Tessitori (Italy) – To call Jainism simply a religion is a misrepresentation since it tries to give a unified scientific basis for the whole cosmos including living and non living entities. Thus it is a holistic science which encompasses everything.
  • 42. Jainism, Universe and Science • In Jain scriptures it has been emphasized that “First is knowledge then comes the compassion” - Deshvaikalik-sutra, verse 10, Ch. 4. • This is consistent with one of the greatest scientist of this century, Albert Einstein, Who said • “ Religion without science is blind, Science without religion is lame”.
  • 43. Jain Cosmology • According to Jain metaphysics the universe is an uncreated entity which has always been in existence and shall always be there. • There was neither any beginning of the universe nor is there going to be any end.
  • 44. Jain Cosmology • The universe according to the Jain thought, possesses the quality of timelessness. It goes back in the past to eternity and in the future also it has got an infinite time before it. • In other words the universe is infinite entity so far as the time dimension is concerned.
  • 45. Jain Cosmology • In the same manner in the space dimension also it is infinite. • Although, the inhabited universe is seen as finite mass of different (six) constituents. • This is called loka, translated very loosely as “the World”. Outside this is aloka: “non-world” (void) or empty space.
  • 46. Jain Universe • In Jain thought, the shape of the inhabited universe has been described as that of the figure 8 or a man standing akimbo. • The dimension from the top to bottom has been described as 14 Rajjus. At the top and at the middle point it is 1 Rajju wide but the width of the bulges varies from 5 to 8 Rajjus Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 47. Jain Universe Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void) • 1 Rajju is defined as a measurement equal to 100,000 Yojans, doubled in geometric progression (i.e. 200,000. 400,000, 800,000 and so on) innumerable times. • The innumerable times has been illustrated to be equal to the number of minutest pieces of hair (of Jogalia) which will fill up billions pits each 8 mile wide, 8 mile long and 8 mile deep.
  • 48. Jain Universe • Rajju = A deva flying for six months at the rate of 2,057,152 Yojans in one samay (Samay = unit of time @1/4 second) • Thus the distance between the two ends of the middle world is approx. 1.9 trillion light years! Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 49. Middle World • Humans, Tiryanch (animals, birds etc.), Jotishka devas (gods of light) and Vyan vantar devas live in the middle world. • In the center of the middle world is Jambu dvip Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 50. Jambudvip • Center of the middle world is divided into seven huge zones • Three zones: Bharat (south), Airavat (north) and Mahavideh (middle) are known as Karma bhumi – Tirthankars are born only in the karma bhumi – Religion exist only in karma bhumi – Liberation is possible only in karma bhumi Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 51. Jambudvip • Remaining four zones: Hemavat, Harivarsh, Ramyak, Hiranyavat plus two sections of Mahavideh (Devkuru and Uttarkuru) are known as Akarma bhumi – Yugalins (congenial pairs) live here – No Tirthankar, no religion and hence no liberation Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 52. Manushya Lok • Human beings reside in Jambudvip, Dhataki khanda and half of Puskaradvip • Hence Humans are found on fifteen sectors of the middle world – Five Bharat kshetra – Five Airavat kshetra – Five Mahavideh khetra Middle world Lower World Upper World Aloka (Void)
  • 53. Six Universal Substances • According to Jain Science, the universe is comprised of six substances – Soul (Jiva) – Matter (Ajiva) – Space (Akash) – Time (Kal) – Dynamic medium (Dharmastikay) – Stationary medium (Adharmastikay)
  • 54. Six Universal Substances • In standard physics one deals with matter in time and space coordinate system • In contrast, in Jain Science it is the soul which is to be studied in terms of time, space and matter
  • 55. History of Preservation of Agams • 226 B.C. in Patliputra by Sthulibhadra – 11 Ang Agams compliled • 374 AD to 387 AD by Skundil and Nagarjun – Agams and Anuyogs documented • 527 AD in Valabhi by Devardhi-gani – Prakirnas Documented, Agams preserved
  • 56. Examine before you accept • Mahavir said to Gautam “Accept not what I say as truth because it is backed by tradition, or because it is the law of the land, or because it sounds good, or because it comes from your teacher. Accept as truth only that which is sagaciously acceptable to reason as well as sentiment”.
  • 57. Thing to remember Don’t be Ideologically Dogmatic Don’t make tools the goal