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death with equanimity

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(Chapter I, cont.)

1.224 – 1.2245

1.224 The Latest Classification

The latest classification of canonical works is in the form of Aṅga Sūtras, Upāṅga Sūtras, Mūla Sūtras and Cheda Sūtras.i According to the available information, this classification was first mentioned in ‘Prabhāvaka Caritra’ “Circa 1334 Vikramī Era”. Samayasundara Gaṇi also mentions this classification, as such, in his ‘Sāmācārī Śataka’.ii Thirty–two scriptures recognised by the Sthānakavāsī “Prayer–house dwelling” and the Terāpanthī Śvetāmbara “white–clad” Jaina tradition as canonical works “Jaina Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjaka – White–clad Idol–worshiping tradition recognise forty–five scriptures as such” include eleven Aṅga Sūtras “Primary canons, twelve Upāṅga Sūtras “Secondary canons”, four Mūla Sūtras “Basic canons”, four Cheda Sūtras “Disciplinary canons” and Āvaśyaka–sūtra “Esssential scripture”.iii They are as follows:–

1.2241 Eleven Aṅga Āgamas –

These are the same as those mentioned under Aṅgapraviṣṭha āgamas.

1.2242 Twelve Upāṅga Āgamas –

The Upāṅga “subsidiary” canonical works generally correspond to their respective Aṅga “primary” counterparts. They are –

  1. Aupapātika – This subsidiary canon mentions, with suitable examples, as to which type of rebirth a person with specific actions, thoughts and dispositions is destined to. Its expanse is that of forty–three aphorisms – sūtras.

  2. Rājapraśnīya – This subsidiary canonical work, in the form of a dialogue between Monk Keśī and king Pradeśī “believed to be king Prasenajit of Kośala” that presents Monk Keśī’s answers to questions of elemental importance put to him by king Pradeśī.

  3. Jīvābhigama – In the form of a dialogue between Lord Mahāvīra and His principal disciple “Gaṇadhara” Gautama, this subsidiary canonical work presents a detailed exposition on the types and sub–types of animate “Jīva” and inanimate “Ajīva” entities. It also has a detailed description of the oceans and continents as obtained in the Jaina cosmology.

  4. Prajñāpanā – An encyclopaedic work, by Ārya Śyāma, this subsidiary canonical work contains a sea of information on literature, religion, philosophy, history and geography. It can be compared to the fourth primary canonical work – ‘Vyākhyā–prajñapti’.

  5. Jambūdvīpa–prajñapti – As the very name of this subsidiary canonical work suggests, it contains a detailed description of the Jambūdvīpa, Bharatakṣetra, their hills and rivers as well as that of the ascendant “Utsarpiṇī” and descendent “Avasarpiṇī” phases of the time cycles. It also contains a description of the Kulakaras and a detailed biographical sketch of the first Tīrthaṅkara Lord ṛṣabhadeva and His son Cakravartī “king–emperor” Bharata.

  6. Sūrya–prajñapti – Containing a detailed expose on Jaina cosmology, this subsidiary canonical work contains detailed descriptions of the movement patterns of the celestial bodies such as the Sun “s”, the Moon “s” the constellations, etc. It is a valuable work on the ancient concept of astronomy.

  7. Candra–prajñapti – This subsidiary canonical work contains a detailed account of the daily and monthly movement patterns of the Moon “s” and their vimānas “heavenly bodies”. This work, together with the Sūrya–prajñapti and Jambudvīpa–prajñapti makes for a complete study of Jaina cosmology.

  8. Nirayāvalikā“Kalpikā” – A volume containing ten chapters, it presents important historical material on the contemporary history of Magadha empire.

  9. Kalpāvataṁsikā – It contains the biographical sketches of the ten grandsons of the Magadha emperor Śreṇika Bimbisāra and depicts their meritorious acts and consequent heavenly destinies.

  10. Puṣpikā – Ten chapters of this subsidiary canonical work contain miscellaneous moral stories. Its third chapter is devoted to the story of Somila Brahmin and the fourth to that of Subhadrā. Other chapters contain stories of various aspirant spiritual practitioners.

  11. Puṣpacūlikā – This work is also on the lines of the Puṣpikā and its ten chapters contain ten stories of various spiritual aspirants who attained heavenly destinies through their meritorious acts.

  12. Vṛṣṇidaśā – The twelfth and the last of the subsidiary canonical works, its twelve chapters contain the descriptions of the royal personalities of the Vṛṣṇi clan of the Yādavas including those of Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa of Dvāraka and his twelve kinsmen who accepted monastic ordination at the hands of the twenty–second Tīrthaṅkara Lord Ariṣṭanemi.

1.2243 Four Mūla Sūtrasiv

  1. Uttarādhyayanasūtra – One of the Extra primary other than essential timely studiable canonical works, the Uttarādhyayana is the first of the Mūla “basic” sūtras. It is known as Uttarādhyayana for two reasons – 1. It is to be studied after the more essential Ācārāṅga or the Daśavaikālika, hence the text for after–study, 2. It is believed to be the essence of entire Jaina sacred lore, hence the work of supreme importance or best–study. Its thirty–six chapters contain the essence of the Jaina thought on almost every area of spiritual and moral issue. It contains material on all the four anuyogas and its importance is all the more enhanced by the belief that it is the compilation of the last thirty–six discourses by BhagvānMahāvīra, delivered just before His nirvāṇa.

  2. Daśavaikālika – The extra–primary other than essential any time studiable canonical work the Daśavaikālika is a compilation of the essential rules of right monastic conduct. Its ten chapters cover various aspects of monastic conduct. It is considered so important that the apprentice monks and nuns cannot be confirmed in proper monastic ordination unless they have studied the contents of this essential code of conduct.

  3. Nandīsūtra – This basic canonical work by Devavācaka Gaṇi is an expose on the perceptional knowledge. The subject of five kinds of knowledge – sensory, scriptural, clairvoyant, telepathic and omniscience – has been dealt with in relation to their various aspects. It also contains the rolls of heads of monastic groups “Paṭṭāvali” starting from Ārya Sudhrmā right down to Devardhigaṇi Kṣamā–śramaṇa of the Valabhi conclave fame.

  4. Anuyogadvāra – Mainly explanatory in nature, this work is considered to be an essential aid in the study of all the primary and secondary canonical works. So much so that it is considered to be a key to their study.

1.2244 Four Cheda Sūtras v

  1. NiśīthaNiśītha enjoys the most important position amongst the Cheda Sūtras “Disciplinary canons”that prescribe censures and atonement for various monastic misdemeanours. It is also known as the second appendix to the Ācāraṅga. It describes, in detail, the renunciations and exceptions to the monastic conduct and expiation for the exceptions resorted to. It is divided into twenty chapters dealing with various aspects of monastic conduct, exceptions and measures for their atonement.

  2. Vyavahāra – It is again a treatise, by canon omniscient Bhadrabāhu, on the rules of monastic conduct and life–style that prescribes rules for seeking food “Pinḍaiṣaṇā” by monks and nuns, monastic tours “Vihāra”, confessions, repentance and atonement for various infractions, etc. Its ten chapters are devoted to these and many other aspects of monastic life and lay great emphasis on scriptural studies.

  3. Vṛhatkalpa – This Cheda Sūtra is complementary to Vyavahāra Sūtra and deals with similar subjects of monastic conduct, renunciation, exceptions and expiation thereof. It enjoys a place of pride amongst the Cheda Sūtras and deals with the subject under scrutiny at length.

  4. Daśāśrutaskandha – Another Cheda Sūtra by Ācārya Bhadrabāhu, this work is also known as Ācāradaśā. Its ten chapters deal with various aspects of monastic conduct. Its eighth chapter is the famous Kalpasūtra describing the Cāturmāsa–kalpa “conduct during the four months of the rainy season” of the Jaina clergy. It also describes the five auspicious events in the lives of Lord Mahāvīra, Lord Pārśvanātha, Lord Ariṣṭanemi and Lord ṛṣabhadeva.

1.2245 Āvaśyakasūtra : The Thirty–second Āgama –

This canonical work, which is included amongst the most essential basic scriptures “Mūla Sūtras” according to some classifications prescribes and describes six essential activities that must be undertaken by the ascetics and the lay followers everyday without fail. These activities are – 1. Samāyika “observing equanimity”, 2. Caturviṁśati–stava “paying homage to the twenty–four Tīrthaṅkaras”, 3. Vandanā “Bowing to the five venerable paragons of spiritual virtues”, 4. Pratikramaṇa “Retracting from the transgressions committed during the day, the night, the fortnight, the month–quartet or the year as the case may be, 5. Kāyotsarga “Observing periods of detachment towards the physical body” and 6. Pratyākhyāna “Giving up some sinful activity, food or physical facility as a part of one’s daily spiritual activity”.

i The Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjaka tradition also include ten Prakīrṇakas amongst canonical texts.

ii Jaina Āgama Sāhitya: Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid, p. 20.

iii Ibid, p.33.

iv Jaina Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjaka tradition lists six Mūla Sūtras, including Āvaśyakasūtra, and Piṇḍaniryukti–Oghaniryukti as well. – Ibid., p. 30, 31.

Another view justifies the inclusion of only two canonical works – Uttarādhyayana and Daśavaikālika – as Mūla Sūtras on the ground that Anuyogadvāra and Nandīsūtra are, both, Cūlikā ‘Supplementary’ treatises.

Preface to ‘Uttarajjhayaṇāṇi Volume II’ by Ācārya Tulsi, p. 11.

v Jaina Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjaka tradition lists six scriptures as Cheda Sūtras including Mahā–niśītha and Pañcakalpa in addition to the four listed above.

Jaina Āgama Sāhitya: Manana Aur Mīmāṁsā, ibid., p. 31.

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