Classical Indian Philosophy: Jainism: The Process of Attaining Liberation

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Matter

Bondage of the soul occurs when it is associated with matter or pudgala.

Definition of Matter

Definition of Matter

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Liberation

liberation is nothing but complete annihilation, separation, or disassociation of matter from the soul.

Liberation is possible in two ways:

  • By stopping the influx of matter into the soul which is called Samvara.

  • By complete elimination or annihilation of matter which is associated with the soul which is called Nirjara.

  • Tri-Ratnas: The three ways via which samvara and finally liberation can be achieved are called Tri-Ratnas or the three gems of Jainism.

  • They are right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct.

Right Faith or Samyag-Darsana

  • This means to have faith in the teachings of the teachers or the founders of the faith of Jainism or Tirthankaras.

  • According to Uma swami, right faith means possessing the attitude of respect or sraddha towards the truth or the teachings of the founders.

Right Knowledge or Samyag-Jnana

This means the knowledge of reality can only be obtained by studying carefully the teachings of the tirthankaras.

Right Conduct or Samyag-Caritra

Right conduct means only the performance of those actions which are right and refraining from the wrong ones.

Right actions are:

  • Ahimsa or non-violence, meaning abstinence from injury to all life because all lives are equally important.

  • Satyam or truth, meaning abstinence from falsehood. So, speak not only what is true, but also what is pleasant and good.

  • Asteyam or non-stealing, meaning abstinence from stealing.

  • Brahmacaryam: Abstinence from self-indulgence. So, one must keep oneself away from all, internal and external forms of self-indulgence.

  • Aparigraha: Abstinence from all forms of attachment. This vow deals with abstaining from all attachment to sense-objects of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.

  • Practice the five Samitis or carefulness in walking, speaking, receiving alms (or eating), placing objects and disposing refuse.

  • Practice the three Guptas or controls/restraints of thought, speech, and body movements.

  • Practice the 10 Dharmas or good acts. They are truthfulness, forgiveness, humility, straightforwardness, contentment, self-control, cleanliness, sacrifice, non-attachment, celibacy.

  • Meditate on the cardinal truths taught regarding the self and the world. This is called Anuprekshas.

  • Pariṣahajaya or develop a patient attitude towards the time of difficulties and hardships.

  • Caritra or conduct oneself in accordance with the spiritual path. For example, spiritual practices, equanimity, purity, remove greed, etc.

  • According to Jainism, via this the influx of matter or karmic particles into the soul is stopped (Samvara).

Right conduct or samyag-caritra

Right Conduct or Samyag-Caritra

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Nirjara

  • Nirjara is complete annihilation of the karmic particles or matter associated with the soul.

  • This state is called the state of wearing out.

  • When all the particles of matter are exhausted and when there remains no association between matter and soul, the soul shines in its intrinsic nature of “infinite faith, infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite power.

  • This state is called Moksha or liberation.

Questions

1. The basic obstruction that stands in the way of Liberation according to Jainism is

A. Matter

B. Karmic Particles

C. Pudgala

D. All of the above

Answer: D

Explanation: The basic obstruction that stands in the way of Liberation according to Jainism is

  • Matter

  • Karmic Particles

  • Pudgala

2. The process of cleaning of matter from the soul is called

A. Samvara

B. Nirjara

C. Pariṣahajaya

D. Guptas

Answer: B

Explanation: Nirjara is the state when all the particles of matter are exhausted and when there remains no association between matter and soul.

3. According to Jainism, there must be control over one’s thought, speech, and bodily movements. The concept is called

A. Guptas

B. Pariṣahajaya

C. Samvara

D. Dharma

Answer: A

Explanation: Guptas means control/restraint of thought, speech, and body movements.

4. In order to attain liberation, there must be presence of

A. Samvara

B. Nirjara

C. Right Faith

D. Both A and B

Answer: D

Explanation: Liberation is possible in two ways:

1. By stopping the influx of matter into the soul which is called Samvara.

2. By complete elimination or annihilation of matter which is associated with the soul which is called Nirjara.

5. “Right faith means possessing the attitude of respect or sraddha towards the truth or the teachings of the founders” is the view of

A. Tirthankaras

B. Uma swami

C. Ashvaghosa

D. None of the above

Answer: B

Explanation: According to Uma swami, right faith means possessing the attitude of respect or sraddha towards the truth or the teachings of the founders.

#Jainism

#Liberation

#Pudgala

#Samvara

#Nirjara