Positive Non-Violence Is Dharma
Mercy, charity, kindness, compassion, service, friend-ship, affection, saving life, etc., are various expressions of positive non-violence. Being causes of karmic stoppage, reduction and destruction, these are various forms of dharma. It is not proper to consider them as adharma or irreligious. In the Jaina literature the characteristics of dharma or right faith have been mentioned in the following aphorisms –
So dhammo jattha dayā|
- Vātti on Niyamasāra, 6.
That is – Where there is mercy, there is dharma.
Dhammo dayā visuddho|
- Bodhapāhuḍa (Kundakunda), 25.
That is – What has been purified by mercy is dharma.
Dāṇaṁ sīlaṁ ca tavo bhāvo, evaṁ cauvviho dhammo|
Savvajiṇehiṁ bhaṇio, tahā duhā suacaritehiṁ\
- Saptatisthānaprakaraṇa, verse 96.
That is – All Lords Jina have said that dharma is four-fold – by way of charity, righteousness, penance and (right) volition. Again the dharma has been categorised in two ways as knowledge (Śruta) based dharma and conduct (Cāritra) based dharma.
Karuṇāe vatthusahāvo khamādibhāvo va dasavihodhammo|
Rayaṇattayaṁ ca dhammo, jīvaṇaṁ rakkhaṇaṁ dhammo\
- Kārtikeyānuprekṣā, 478.
That is – Kindness is dharma; nature of things is dharma; forgiveness, etc., constitute ten-way dharma; Tri-gem (Ratnatraya) – right vision, right knowledge and right conduct – is dharma and to protect the living beings is dharma.
Thus, mercy and charity have been clearly enumerated as dharma. It is proven by the aphorisms like
‘So dhammo jattha dayā’ and ‘Dāṇaṁ . . . . . dhammo’, etc.
Kindness is dharma because it is the basic nature of the living beings – ‘karuṇāe jīvasahāvassa|’, and basic nature of anything is its dharma. Compassion and affection are also manifestations of dharma because compassion is an attribute of right vision and right vision, as a part of ‘Tri-gem’ has been said to be dharma – ‘Rayaṇattayaṁ ca dhammo’. Friendship is dharma because friendship is closely connected with forgiveness and forgiveness has been included in ten-way dharma – ‘Khamādibhāvo dasaviho dhammo’. Protecting and saving the living beings has also been said to be dharma – ‘Jīvāṇaṁ rakkhaṇaṁ dhammo’.
Like this, all the dimensions that give expression to positive non-violence have been included among various definitions of dharma. Therefore, on the basis of scriptural proofs and indirect proofs by inference it is very well proven that positive non-violence is dharma. Anyone who leads his life in accordance with positive non-violence constantly feels that he is overcoming his flaws and faults and attaining gradual purification. From this point of view, even though direct proof, positive non-violence is proved to be dharma.
The general public considers the auspicious activities like mercy, charity, etc., as dharma but some who believe in intellectual jugglery advance the argument that the activity oriented auspiciousness like kindness, protection, affection, service, etc., being the cause of karmic bondage, result in worldly transmigration and, thus, they hinder liberation and cannot be accepted as dharma. According to them dharma is in abstinence only. However, this view is neither in according to the canonical teachings nor is it logical. In what follows, this viewpoint is being examined in greater detail.
Activities are of two types – 1. Inauspicious activities and 2. Auspicious activities. Violence, telling lies, stealing, sensory enjoyment, etc., are inauspicious activities and they have been termed as sins, which is as it should be. Such activities result in all-round misery and worldly transmigration and, therefore, they are worth abandoning. Auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, affection, service, etc., remove spiritual flaws, purify the soul and destroy the karmic bondages and are, therefore, called dharma.
Auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, affection, service, etc., are virtues and inauspicious activities like violence, telling lies, stealing, sensory enjoyment, etc., are vices. Virtues and vices are opposite to each other. The virtues are natural and the vices are unnatural. The nature can never be a cause of karmic bondage; it is only the unnatural vices that result in karmic bondages. Therefore, nature of things has been said to be their dharma and the unnatural vices have been said to be sins. Auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, affection, service, etc., result in reduction and destruction of karmic bondages. This helps in spiritual emancipation and liberation. Because they are causes of attaining liberation, the auspicious activities are dharma. To consider them as causes of karmic bondage and that of worldly transmigration is to consider them as adharma. To consider dharma as adharma is falsehood.
In the Jaina canonical literature auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, affection, service, joy, mildness, simplicity, humility, etc., have been termed as auspicious combination of mind, body and speech (yoga), which is also said to be a means of karmic stoppage (saṁvara). The reason behind calling them as means of karmic stoppage is that they do not result in karmic bondages. However, in reality they are not only the means of karmic stoppage but also of karmic reduction and destruction (nirjarā). Thus, these activities are in the form of both – karmic stoppage and destruction of karmic. For example – 1. Take the case of Namaskāra mantra that is a symbol of humility. In this mantra it has been clearly said that the auspicious activity ofreverently bowing to five paragons of spiritual virtues such as Arihanta, Siddha, Ācārya, Upādhyāya and all monks results in the destruction of all karmic accumulations (Savvapāvappaṇāsaṇo) and is, therefore, dharma. It is so because the humble activity of bowing to these paragons results in waning of pride and destruction of pride results in karmic destruction. 2. Take the case of affection. It is a part of the right vision and an essential activity. Right vision is a part of the liberating path and is, therefore, dharma. Therefore, affection (Vātsalya) is dharma. 3. Tattvārtha sūtra includes the auspicious activities of friendship, joy and kindness as parts of dharma in the form of karmic stoppage. 4. Auspicious activities of simplicity (Ārjava), mildness (Mārdava), humility (Lāghava), etc., have been included in the ten-way dharma. 5. Compassion (Anukampā) has been mentioned as a sign of right vision. Right vision is dharma and so is compassion. 6. Totally detached omniscient Lords have been said to be infinitely charitable. Therefore, charity is a part of the detached dharma only.
The ‘auspicious activities do not result in karmic bondage but in karmic reduction and destruction’, is an original belief of Jainism and it has been in constant currency in the form of sacred tradition. The belief that auspicious yoga stops karmic influx is current in the white-clad sect of Jainas till date but some how it is not acceptable to all the members of the sky-clad tradition. May be some followers of the sky-clad tradition do not subscribe to this view today but in ancient times this view was widely prevalent among them as well. Many proofs of this can be seen in the Dhavalā and Jayadhavalā commentaries. One of these is being quoted here from the Jayadhavalā commentary of Kasāyapāhuḍa –
Suha-suddhapariṇāmehiṁ kammakkhayābhāve takkhayāṇuvavattīdo uttaṁ, odaiyā bandhayarā uvasama-khaya-missayā ya mokkhayarā| Bhāvo du pariṇāmio karaṇobhayavajjio hoi\
- Jayadhavalā, Bk. 1, p. 3.
That is – If we do not accept karmic reduction and destruction through auspicious activities, it becomes impossible to imagine any means of shedding karmic bondages. The fruitional volition (Audayika bhāva) is a cause of karmic bondage, subsidential (Aupaśamika), destructional (Kṣāuyika) and mixed – destructo-subsidential (Kṣāyo-paśamika) volitions (bhāva) result in liberation and inherent volitions (Pāriṇāmika bhāva) cause neither bondage nor liberation.
In the abovementioned example, the commentator – Śrī Vīrasenācārya has clearly and emphatically said that the destructo-subsidential volition (auspicious combination or śubha yoga) is a cause of liberation. That it results in karmic separation and not in karmic bondage. It is only the fruitional volition that causes karmic bondage.
On this belief the honourable editor of Jayadhavalā commentary, Shri Phoolchandji Premi has written, as a note in the form of special meaning, that the auspicious volition comes about due to the fruition of passions etc., and not due to their destruction cum subsidence. Therefore, if the fruitional volition causes karmic bondage, the auspicious volition should also be a cause of karmic bondage and not of karmic separation. Mr. Editor’s belief that “auspicious volition comes about due to the fruition of passions” is not confined to him alone. This belief has gained ground in many a sect of Jainas for the last few centuries. The reason behind this argument is that if they do not accept the coming about of auspicious volition due to fruitional volition, their belief that auspicious volition results in karmic bondage cannot be sustained.
Here, first of all, we have to think whether the rise of passion, or the fruitional volition, is the cause of coming about of auspicious volition or not? The following facts deserve our consideration in this regard –
Passions are part of inauspicious volition. To consider the coming about of auspicious volition out of inauspicious one, is fundamentally erroneous. This error is such as if some one plants the bitter Margosa (Nīma) tree and claims that it yields sweet mango fruits. The rule is ‘as the seed is, so the fruit’. Therefore, the auspicious volition cannot come about due to the fruition of inauspicious passions and to believe so is an error.If the rise of passions were accepted as a cause of coming about of auspicious volition, what would then be the cause of coming about of inauspicious volition? Then we will have to consider the auspicious volition as the cause in the coming about of inauspicious volition, which would not be logical. If the rise of passions were considered as the cause behind the coming about of both the auspicious and the inauspicious volitions then we will have to accept the yielding of two entirely opposite kinds of results through the same cause, which would again be illogical.
If only the pure volition, and not the auspicious volition were to be considered as the cause of karmic separation, then only the fully detached Lords Jina, and none else, would be able to achieve karmic separation. The reason being that pure volition is not possible in anyone except Lords Jina. It is so because, as a rule, except for the fully detached Lords Jina all else have the fruition of passions in lesser or greater measure. As long as the passions are on the rise, the pure volition is not possible and in the absence of pure volition the karmic separation is not possible. Like this, there is no way to achieve karmic separation right up to the tenth stage of spiritual development (guṇasthāna). In the absence of karmic separation there would obtain a situation where there would be no penance, restraint and karmic reduction and destruction, which would result in the disappearance of the path of spiritual practice itself. This is against the canonical dictates. The solution to this problem is possible only on accepting the auspicious volition as the cause for karmic separation. There is no other way. Therefore, the belief that auspicious volition results in karmic bondage is against canonical logic.
If we were to consider the partial purity as purity, then we will have to accept that all only creatures are always in pure volition, because no living being is wholly impure at any point of time. If some living being were to become wholly impure his very consciousness would vanish and he would become lifeless or a non-living thing. As has been said in Kasāyapāhuḍa book 1, p. 55 –
“Ṇa ca kammehiṁ ṇāṇassa daṁsaṇassa vā ṇimmūlaviṇāso kīrai, jāva davvabhāvi-guṇābhāve jīvābhāvappasaṅgādo”.\
That is – It is not right to say that we can completely destroy karma, knowledge and vision because this belief will result in a situation where the livingness of the living being will become questionable, which is not proper.
What is meant here is that no living being can ever be wholly impure, it is partially impure, only. This partial impurity remains from the first stage to the tenth stage of spiritual development. And the rule being discussed is that karmic separation is not possible in the presence of any impurity. Therefore we will have to accept that none else but the fully detached Lords Jina could achieve karmic separation. This is a fundamental error. Therefore, the only way a non-omniscient aspirant can achieve karmic separation is through auspicious volition. It is the karmic separation through auspicious volition that results in the gaining of the right vision. It is the auspicious volition only that becomes helpful in the gaining of subsidential and destructional volitions. The gaining of these volitions is not possible in the presence of complicated and increasing inauspicious volitions.
The auspicious volition comes about not due to the rise of passions but due to their weakening. It is so because the rise, bonding, existence of passions is inauspicious or sinful only. To consider the inauspicious rise of passions as auspicious volition is to consider sin as merit. To consider so is erroneous, misleading and false.
Auspicious volition comes about due to the weakening of passions. The weakening of passions is not a cause of karmic bondage but that of karmic destruction. The fact is that the karmic bondages that take place in the presence of auspicious volition, take place because of inauspicious volition due to the rise of passions that are also present. The durational karmic bondage can take place due to passions only. In the absence of durational bondage there is no meaning of any karmic bondage. What is meant is that the cause of durational bondage of karmic bondage is fruitional volition due to the presence of passions, and not the auspicious volition as is being made out by some so called logicians. Therefore, itis not logical to accept auspicious volition or the destructo-subsidential volition as the cause for karmic bondage.
In the canonical literature and the doctrine of karma none of the natures of destructive karma have been said to be auspicious. All have been classified as inauspicious. Thus, the rise of passion has nowhere been considered as auspicious. On the other hand the weakening of passions has been considered as auspicious and this very phenomenon has been taken as destructo-subsidential volition. From this it is clear that auspicious or destructo-subsidential volition occurs due to the weakening of passions and not due to the rise of passions. Thus, to believe in the coming about of the auspicious volition due to rise in passions is against the canonical teachings. What is meant here is that the rise of passions that coexists along with the auspicious volition is in no way a substantial or any other kind of cause in the coming about of auspicious volition.
Auspicious or destructo-subsidential volition is in the form of spiritual purification. It represents spiritual purity. Therefore, it is meritorious. It is the cause of karmic destruction and separation and, therefore, it is dharma. The auspicious volition does not even partially destroy any of the spiritual qualities. Therefore it is neither in any way spiritually harmful, nor is it in any way abandonable. What is meant here is that the auspicious activities of the non-omniscient aspirant happen not due to the rise of passions but due to their weakening. Some believe that there is a kind of auspicious attachment present in the state of auspicious volition, which is the cause of karmic bondage. However, this belief is also not in accordance with the canonical dictates. The reason being that the attachment is brought about due to the deluding karma and none of the types and subtypes of deluding karma have ever been said to be auspicious in the canons or in the doctrine of karma. Therefore, the belief that there is a kind of attachment that is auspicious is against the canonical teaching and does not match with the precepts of the karma theory. The feeling of affection that is there for the Lords, the spiritual masters, the faith and the virtuous is not attachment but a feeling of praise for them and a sense of joy towards them. The pleasure that one gets in the company of the virtuous and by remembering them is not mundane pleasure but it is due to the basic spiritual nature. Attachment is unnatural while this pleasure is natural. Therefore, to consider love, affection and the sense of joy for the virtuous as attachment is an error. Attachment is abandonable, but not the love and affection. In attachment there is attraction and mundane pleasure while in love there is joy and happiness.
The four volitions of friendship, joy, kindness, and neutrality are auspicious. Being auspicious they are natural and not unnatural or flaws. The natural attributes are in the form of virtues, not vices. Unnatural attributes are flaws. The volitions of friendship, joy, kindness, etc., are virtues and not flaws. Because they are not flaws or vices they are not unnatural. Unnatural attributes can never be auspicious and similarly, the natural attributes or the auspiciousness can never be flawed. Therefore, the auspiciousness represents the virtues and not the vices. The karmic bondages take place due to the flaws and not due to the virtues. Therefore, to consider that the auspicious volitions or virtues like friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, affection, etc., result in karmic bondage and worldly transmigration is an error. As long as this error is not corrected, the awakening of humaneness is not possible.
Where even the humaneness is absent, dharma in the form of restraint, penance, karmic stoppage and separation, etc., and liberation is not possible. In the absence of humaneness, there is animal nature and devilry, which has no place in human life. Therefore, those who consider friendship, joy, kindness, compassion, affection, etc., as causes of karmic bondage and worldly transmigration consider virtues as vices, nature as antinature and the path of liberation as the path of bondage. Therefore, they are in falsehood and against the dharma, truth and humanity.
Now we have to consider as to what is the process of karmic destruction and separation due to auspicious volition? To do this we will have to consider the ancient treatises on karma theory and their commentaries. In the ancient treatises on karma theory and their commentaries the word employed for auspicious volition is ‘viśuddhi’ or purification. What purifies the soul is purification. The soul is purified due to the weakening of passions. Therefore, any reduction in passions from what it is at present, is spiritual purification to that extent. That is why spiritual purification has been termed as dharma and merit. On the other hand any increase in the quantity of passion has been said to be a spiritual complication (saṅkleśa). The spiritual complication results in spiritual downfall and it denotes sin. That is why in the Jaina scriptures and commentaries spiritual complication has been termed as sin.
The passionate inclination of mind itself is delusion. Therefore, any reduction or increase in passion is reduction or increase in delusion (deluding karma). Reduction in passions and consequently in delusion is purification of volition. This purification of volition is auspicious volition. Auspicious activity or auspicious combination (yoga) is the practical side of auspicious volition. Being the means of spiritual purification all this is dharma. Like this auspicious volition, auspicious combination, dharma and merit (puṇya) are synonymous and not contrary. Ācāryas Akalaṅka and Pūjyapāda have said in their commentary on aphorism 10 of chapter 1, that purification of volition results in rise of affection, awakening of sense of neutrality and destruction of ignorance. These three are helpful in gaining liberation. Meaning that auspicious activities are means of liberation. Here we are considering as to how volitional purity symbolised by auspicious activities like mercy, charity, kindness, affection, and friendship result in karmic destruction and separation.
The doctrine of karma says that reduction in passions, result in volitional purity. Leaving the lifespan determining karma, the auspicious volition and activities affect all the existing subtypes of the remaining seven kinds of karmas. They undergo reduction in their duration-bondages, which certainly reduces the already bonded duration of these subtypes of karmas. Along with this reduction in duration bondage, sinful subtypes of these seven kinds of karma undergo reduction in their intensities, that is, – their already bonded intensities get reduced. Like this, the auspicious volition and activities results in karmic destruction in the form of reduction in already bonded durations and intensities of these seven types of karma. This karmic destruction is beneficial and useful for all living beings. This is the principle of group karmic destruction in the form of reduction in already bonded durations of the subtypes of seven kinds of karma other than the lifespan determining karma, and reduction in the intensities of the sinful subtypes of these very karmas due to the auspicious volition and activities. Now, we shall consider as to how the auspicious volition results in the destruction of each of these karma types.
Importance of Auspicious Volitions such as Mercy, Charity etc -
The auspicious volitions in the form of reduction in passions and consequent purity result in the reduction of delusion or deluding karma. This results in purity of conduct and the quality of conduct improves.
In auspicious volition, the reduction in passions results in reduction in inequity, thus, the equality increases and equanimity is strengthened. The increase in equity and strengthening of equanimity results in the expression and development of the vision quality (Darśanaguṇa) and the vision obscuring (Darśanāvaraṇīya) karma is partly destroyed and partly subsided. Due to development of the vision quality one realises the fundamentals and discretion is awakened. This results in destruction of knowledge obscuring (Jñānāvaraṇīya) karma and in the gaining of the right knowledge. It is a rule that knowledge is gained along with the vision only. Therefore, as much will the vision be revealed, the knowledge will also be revealed to that extent only. Without the increase in the expression of vision quality it is not possible to have increase in the expression of the knowledge quality.
The auspicious volition results in the development of vision quality, which in turn results in the development of the power of self-experiencing. This results in the obliteration of inertness and clarity of sensitivity towards feelings increases. The auspicious volition alsoresults in increased equanimity and the effect of painful feelings producing (Aśātā-vedaṇīya) karma is reduced as a result.
We have said earlier that the auspicious volition results in the expression of vision quality and that results in the increased power of self-experiencing. Due to the development of the power of expression and feeling it becomes finer and finer and results in the development of feelings through the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing and the bodily infrastructure is created. Meaning that the body making (Nāma) karma only creates the physical part of the sensory organs, they get their power of experiencing by the development of vision quality.
Due to the purification of passions, the importance and value of the ‘other’ decreases and those of the ‘self’ increases, which results in the experiencing of high status. It becomes known that evaluating the self on the basis of the other, actually evaluates the other and the value of the self diminishes or it becomes valueless. This results in a feeling of inferiority. By not evaluating the self on the basis of the other means, that the pride is defeated and it results in self-satisfaction, which is indicative of higher status (Ucca-gotra) and a reduction (destructo-subsidence of low status giving (Nīca-gotra) karma.
It is well known that purification of volition results in the rise in the intensity of the auspicious lifespan determining karma. Auspicious volition in the form of volitional purity results in the expression of self-experiencing in the form of vision quality. The increased sensitivity results in the destruction of the feeling of cruelty and the awakening of the feeling of mercy and kindness. The practical form of kindness is generosity and service. Generosity expresses itself in the form of charity. Therefore, auspicious volition expresses itself in the form of generosity or charity, which indicates the reduction (destructo-subsidence) of charity obstructing (Dānāntarāya) karma.
The reduction in passions in the auspicious volition results in the reduction of desires, the feelings of myness, pride, doership, and enjoyership. The reduction in desires reduces the feeling of want, which indicates the reduction (destructo-subsidence) of gain obstructing (Lābhāntarāya) karma. The reduction of the feeling of myness reduces the feeling of the ‘other’ and increases the feeling of the ‘self’, which results in self-satisfaction and decrease in the desire to enjoy mundane pleasures. This results in the reduction in the feeling of want of mundane pleasures, which indicates a reduction (destructo-subsidence) of the mundane enjoyment obstructing (Bhogāntarāya) karma. The reduction in pride results in reduction in attachment for the ‘other’. The reduction in attachment results in the appearance of love. The pleasure borne out of attachment is temporary and transient while that borne out of love is permanent and intransient. It can be enjoyed again and again, which is an indication of the reduction (destructo-subsidence) of repeated enjoyment obstructing (Upabhogāntarāya) karma. The reduction in the feeling of enjoyership reduces the feeling of doership and increases the ability for renunciation, which is an indication of the reduction (destructo-subsidence) of endeavour obstructing (Vīryāntarāya) karma.
Like this, the auspicious volition results in the reduction (destructo-subsidence – kṣayopaśama) and destruction (kṣaya) of deluding (Mohanīya) karma, vision obscuring (Darśanāvaraṇīya) karma, knowledge obscuring (Jñānāvaraṇīya) karma, painful feeling producing (Aśātā-vedaṇīya) karma, low status giving (Nīca-gotra) karma, charity obstructing (Dānāntarāya) karma, gain obstructing (Lābhā-ntarāya) karma, mundane enjoyment obstructing (Bhogā-ntarāya) karma, repeated enjoyment obstructing (Upabhogā-ntarāya) karma, and endeavour obstructing (Vīryāntarāya) karma. Along with the reduction (destructo-subsidence – kṣayopaśama) and destruction (kṣaya) of these inauspicious types of karmas, the intensities of auspicious types of non-destructive types of karmas also ascend. However, there is no bondage what-so-ever. It is so because the cause for karmic bondage is attachment and aversion, which are inauspicious. They have no place amongst the auspicious volitions.
Not only this, the auspicious volition also results in conversion of inauspicious subtypes into the auspicious subtypes. Thus, the sinful intents or activities get liberalised and are converted into auspicious intents and activities. Again, the auspicious volition results in the reduction of durations and intensities of the inauspicious karmic subtypes and increase in those of the auspicious karmic subtypes, which indicates spiritual ascendance. The auspicious volition gives rise to generally beneficial activities and it generates goodwill and joy, for the one with auspicious volition, in the hearts of those who benefit by it. Like this, auspicious volition results in the exchange of finer feelings like affection, love, and joy, which come handy in the reduction of attachment and destruction of karmic bondages. All those who benefit by the auspicious volition and activities are filled with love for the one from whom they benefit and they, too, feel happy in serving and helping him. They feel rewarded in lending a helping hand in fulfilling his projects and works. They remain ever ready to serve and assist him in his work. This is a by-product of his auspicious volition. This indicates a high degree of physical development. The person with auspicious volition does not have any expectations from anybody and his needs are met automatically without his asking for help. Thus, he is ever rich and without any wants.
What is meant here is that the auspicious feelings that arise due to reduction in passions, auspicious activities and destructo-subsidential feelings result in destruction of the destructive karmas in the form of their destruction cum subsidence. They also result in ascendance in the intensities of the auspicious types of non-destructive karmas. When the passions are destroyed, the rise of pure volition coupled with auspicious activities become instrumental in destruction of the non-destructive karmas. It is only then that the infinite set of infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite charity, infinite gain, infinite enjoyment, infinite joy, infinite spiritual prowess and karmic destruction based righteousness and conduct arise in the spirit. Thus, the auspicious activities are also instrumental in the full realisation of a living being’s physical and spiritual potential. Once, he achieves this ultimate accomplishment, nothing remains to be gained by him, he becomes all accomplished.
Positive non-violence is a sacred pursuit. Therefore, in it, the importance is that of renouncing own mundane pleasures and passion-generated enjoyments. Hence, positive non-violence includes only those activities that melt and reduce the feelings of attachment, aversion, possessiveness, and pride. Besides such noble activities, there may be other activities that may appear to be noble but if they result in increase in the feelings of attachment, aversion, passions, etc., they cannot be included amongst activities of positive non-violence. The spiritual aspirant must always remember this and pursue positive non-violence accordingly.