Jain dharma – the path to uncovering your awesomeness
Jainism is a timeless religion with present day roots in India.
The goal of a Jain is to attain Moksha – the completely unobstructed true effortless state of the soul.
Moksha is equally about complete freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth, the cause of constant suffering.
The path to attain Moksha is through the enlightened world-view (samyak darshan), enlightened knowledge (samyak gnan) and enlightened conduct (samyak charitra).
This path is attained by having complete faith in:
- Sat Dev – firm faith in the true God, one who has attained Moksha and shown the path of how to do so.
- Sat Dharma – firm faith in the true scriptures, words of the Sat Dev, handed down through the centuries.
- Sat Guru – firm faith in the self-realised teacher (Sat Guru, a true Guru) who can in present day show us the intricacies of the path and help us recognise our inner truth.
Understanding and applying Jainism to life
As a reference point for attendees of workshops that I have the privilege to run, I will attempt to outline some of the principles from the timeless Jain tradition, with a view to understand and apply them in day-to-day life.
The 9 tattvas
The nine tattvas describe the mechanics of how we are caught up in the ups and downs of worldly life, and how to free ourselves from this suffering, thereby attaining true peace and happiness.
In the Jain scripture Tattvarth sutra, the first two lines are:
1.1 The enlightened world-view, enlightened knowledge and enlightened conduct are the path to liberation.
1.2 To possess the enlightened world-view is to believe in the categories of truth (tattvas).
This is why the tattvas are so important for the path to liberation.
The 12 bhavanas
The twelve bhavanas are a collection of reflections to cultivate detachment (vairagya), the essential foundation for successful spiritual striving.
This detachment arises as a result of contemplating on the transient nature of the world around us, what it means to be alone, to have no shelter and the rare opportunity we have right now.
The 5 vows
The five vows for an ascetic or a householder are there to act as a protective fence, shielding one’s self from the indulgences that lead to the covering up of the soul’s greatness.
These vows are non-violence (ahimsa), truth (satya), non-stealing (asteya), celibacy (brahmacharya = conducting one’s self close to the soul) and non-possessiveness (aparigraha).
There is of course much more to Jain dharma, and over time I will add to the page. A taster of more to come:
- 6 dhravya: the six type of substances that the universe consists of – soul, matter, space, time, principle of motion and principle of rest.
- 4 bhavanas: an additional four reflections that focus on the qualities of the soul – friendship, appreciation, compassion and equanimity.
- 4 characteristics of the soul: infinite bliss, infinite power, perfect knowledge, perfect peace.
Inspired by greatness
Everything within this section is from the understanding I have sought to gain from the great ones among us, and their words:
Raj Saubhag Ashram, Sayla
Vacchanamrut, by Shrimad Rajchandra
Tattvarth sutra, by Umatsavi
The Jaina Path of Purification, by Padhmanabh S. Jaini
Twelve facets of reality, by Chitrabhanuji