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Beyond Samsara: From the Sacred Jainism Scripture – Uttaradhyayana, Part 1 of 2

2024-02-07
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On today’s show, we are pleased to present selections from the Uttaradhyayana, a sacred Jainism scripture, where we learn of the disciplines that Jain monks adhere to in order to attain liberation from samsara, the circle of transmigration.

THIRTIETH LECTURE. THE ROAD OF PENANCE.

“Now hear with concentrated mind, how a monk destroys by austerities the bad Karman which he had acquired by love and hatred. By abstaining from destroying life, from lying, from taking anything which is not given, from all sexual indulgence, from having any property, and from eating at night, the soul becomes free from Âsravas [influx of karma]. By possessing the five Samitis [rules of conduct] and the three Guptis[restraints], by freedom from passions, by subduing the senses, by vanquishing conceit, and by avoiding delusions, the soul becomes free from Âsravas [influx of karma].

Hear attentively how a monk destroys the Karman acquired by love and hatred in the absence of the above-mentioned virtues. As a large tank, when its supply of water has been stopped, gradually dries up by the consumption of the water and by evaporation, so the Karman of a monk, which he acquired in millions of births, is annihilated by austerities, if there is no influx of bad Karman.

Austerities are of two kinds: external and internal; external austerities are of six kinds, and internal are of six kinds.

External austerities are fasting, abstinence, collecting alms, abstention from dainty food, mortification of the flesh, and taking care of one’s limbs.

[…] fasting is either such in which a desire for food is present, or such in which no such desire exists. […]”

“Internal austerities are expiation of sins, politeness, serving the Guru, study, meditation, and abandoning of the body.

Expiation of sins is tenfold, what must be confessed, and so forth; this is to be strictly observed by a monk; this is called expiation of sins.

Politeness consists in rising from one’s seat, folding of the hands, offering of a seat, loving the Guru, and cordial obedience.

There are ten kinds of service, as serving the Âkârya, [teacher] and so forth; doing service consists in giving one’s assistance as well as one is able.

Study is fivefold: saying or learning one’s lesson, questioning the teacher about it, repetition, pondering, and religious discourse.

Abstaining to meditate on painful and sinful things, one should, with a collected mind, engage in pure meditations on the [dharma] Law; this, the wise call meditation.

If a monk remains motionless when lying down, sitting, or standing upright, this is called abandoning of the body, which is the sixth kind of internal austerities.

If a sage truly performs these two kinds of austerities, he will soon be thoroughly released from the Circle of Births. Thus I say.”
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