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 Positive Non-Violence

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Forbidding Positive Non-violence

Due To Meritorious Karmic

Bondage Is Wrong

 

 

The Erroneous belief -

One of the present day traditions of the Jainas maintain that all activity results in karmic bondages. Therefore, in order to prevent karmic bondage it is essential to give up all activity and become inactive. The karmic bondages are of two types – 1. Sinful karmic bondages and 2. Meritorious karmic bondages. For liberation, the sinful karmic bondages are as abandonable as the meritorious karmic bondages. Those who make this belief as the basis of their religious practices say that the sinful acts like violence, telling lies, stealing, sexual indiscipline, etc., are abandonable in other religious traditions also. The Jaina religious tradition stands out in comparison only because in Jaina tradition along with these sinful activities the meritorious activities are also abandonable and it is a matter of pride for the Jaina tradition. Therefore as the inauspicious activities of violence, untruth, stealing, sexual indiscipline, etc.,, which are the causes of sinful karmic bondages, are abandonable, so are the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, etc.,, which are the causes of meritorious karmic bondages, also abandonable.

Rectification –

The abovementioned belief is absolutely baseless, contrary to the canonical dictates and erroneous. This is being discussed in this chapter.In Jaina philosophical thought and tradition, gaining total freedom from karmic bondages has been termed as attaining liberation. According to Jaina philosophy attaining liberation is the ultimate aim for any living being. Karmic bondages are of two types – the destructive types of karmic bondages and the non-destructive types. The destructive karma types are those that destroy the basic virtues of a living being to any extent. These are also referred to as sinful karmic bondages. The non-destructive karmic bondages are those that do not destroy the basic qualities of a living being to any extent. All the subtypes of the meritorious karma types are non-destructive and as they do not destroy or compromise basic or natural qualities of the soul, there is no provision or vows for renouncing them anywhere in the scriptures. In the Jaina system of spiritual practices even while accepting monastic ordination the vows are taken for refraining from violence, telling lies, non-stealing, sexual abstinence and non-possessiveness. No vows are taken for abandoning the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, etc.,. Nowhere does the provision for taking or giving such vows exist anywhere in the Jaina scriptures. Not only this, everywhere there are instructions for destroying and separating sinful bondages but nowhere for the meritorious ones. As has been said –

Khaventi aṇṇāṇamohadaṁsiṇo, taverayā sañjama-ajjave guṇe|

Dhuvanti pāvāiṁ purekaḍāiṁ, ṇavāiṁ pāvāiṁ ṇa se karenti\

- Daśavaikālika, 6.68.

That is – Those spiritual aspirants who see and are constantly in the non-deluded volition and that practice penance, restraint and simplicity destroy and separate the earlier bonded karmic bondages and do not incur fresh ones.

 

Tuṭṭanti pāva kammāṇi, navaṁ kammamakuvvao\

- Sūtrakātāṅga, 1.1.55.

That is – The earlier bonded karmic bondages of that aspirant, who does not incur new karmic bondages, get destroyed.

 

Evaṁ tu sañjayassāvi, pāvakammaṇirāsave|

Bhavakoḍi sañciyaṁ kammaṁ, tavasā ṇijjarijjai\

- Uttarādhyayana, 30.6.

That is – Like this, once the fresh sinful karmic influx stops, through penance the restrained aspirant can destroy and shed the karmic bondages accumulated over billions of previous lives.

Savvabhūyappabhūyassa, samaṁ bhūyāiṁ pāsao| Pihiyāsavassa dantassa, pāvaṁ kammaṁ na bandhai\

- Daśavaikālika, 4.9.

That is – The sense conquered soul that sees, visualises, understands and accepts all living beings as equal to his own self stops the karmic influx and does not incur any karmic bondage.

 

Eso pañca ṇamokkāro,

savvapāvappaṇāsaṇo|

Maṅgalāṇaṁ ca savvesiṁ,

paḍhamaṁ havai maṅgalaṁ\

That is – This five-fold obeisance destroys all sins and out of all auspiciousnesses it is the chief auspiciousness.

 

In all these canonical quotations there is the teaching to destroy the sinful karmic bondages, to stop sinful karmic influx and not to incur any sinful karmic influx and bondage. There is no teaching to the effect that the auspicious and meritorious karmic bondages should be destroyed or their influx stopped or that they should not be incurred. From this, only the abandoning of sins and not that of merit is proved.

In Jaina philosophy what defiles and tarnishes the soul has been said to be sin and what purifies it and helps in manifesting its natural qualities has been said to be merit. Thus, sin and merit have been considered as the opposites of each other. According to Jaina precept any increase in sin reduces the intensity of merit and any decrease in sin increases the intensity of merit. While ascending the ladder of spiritual development as the sins are left behind the intensity of merit keeps increasing. The practice of restraint and consequent purity of volition give expression to qualities of compassion and result inmeritorious karmic influx. Cruelty, non-compassion, etc., result in sinful karmic influx -

Puṇṇāsavabhūdā aṇukampā suddhao va uvajoo|

Vivarīo pāvassa hu āsavaheuṁ viyāṇāhi\

- Kasāyapāhuḍa, Jayadhavalā commentary, Bk. 1, p. 96.

Aṇukampā suddhuvaogo viva puṇṇassa āsavadāraṁ|

Taṁ vivarīdaṁ āsavadāraṁ pāvassa kammassa\

- Bhagavatī Ārādhanā, 1828.

That is, – The auspicious activities and pure volitions result in meritorious karmic influx. As opposed to this, impure volitions and lack of compassion, cruelty, etc., result in sinful karmic influx.

 

In Jaina philosophy, penance has been said to be the means of karmic destruction and separation and out of twelve types of penances meditation and detachment from the body have been accepted as the best forms of penance. In meditation, the first two subtypes of pure-white meditation have been said to be the means of attaining liberation and final deliverance. These also result in meritorious karmic influx and bondage –

Honti suhāsava-saṁvarā viṇijjarā’marasuhāiṁ viulāiṁ|

Jhāṇavarassa phalāiṁ suhāṇubandhīṇi dhammassa\

- Dhyānaśataka, verse 93; Dhavalā commentary, Bk. 13, verse 56.

Teya viseseṇa subhāsavādaso’ṇuttarāmarasuhaṁ ca|

Doṇhaṁ sukkāṇa phalaṁ parinivvāṇaṁ parillāṇaṁ\

- Dhyānaśataka, verse 94.

Āsavadārā saṁsāraheyavo jaṁ ṇa dhamma-sukkesu|

Saṁsāra-kāraṇāiṁ tao

dhuvaṁ dhammasukkāiṁ\

- Dhyānaśataka, verse 95.

 

The great sage Śrī Jinabhadragaṇi, the author of Dhyānaśataka, says that noble pious type of meditation (dharma dhyāna) results in auspicious or meritorious karmic influx, stoppage of sinful karmic influx, the destruction of earlier bonded (sinful) karmic bondages and in gaining of abundant divine pleasures. It also results in secondary meritorious karmic bondages that are – bonding of meritorious karmic bondages from the fruition of earlier bonded karmic bondages. (Verse 93)

The result of pious meditation is in influx of auspicious karma-matter, stoppage of sinful karma matter, destruction and separation of earlier bonded sinful karmic bondages, bondage of auspicious karmic intensities and gaining of divine pleasures. The first two subtypes of pure-white meditation also result in the increase in these results. The last two subtypes of pure-white meditation that come just before liberation result if final deliverance. (Verse 94)

The means of karmic influx that result in worldly transmigration are not there in the pious and pure types of meditation. Therefore, it is certain that these two types of meditations are not the causes of increase in worldly transmigration; they are the means of liberation. (Verse 95)

In the 93rd verse, pious contemplation has been hailed as the means of meritorious karmic influx and bondage and in verse 94, the first two subtypes of pure-white meditation have been said to be the means of special increase in the influx and bonding of meritorious karma-matter while in verse 95, it has been said that the means of karmic influx that result in increased worldly transmigration are not there in these two (pious and pure) types of meditation. From this it is proved and it becomes absolutely clear that the influx and bondage of meritorious karma-matter is not the cause of worldly transmigration. Śrī Jinabhadragaṇi has emphatically said this by adding the epithet that it is the cardinal rule so that none should assume that these (meritorious karmic influx and bondage) are the causes of worldly transmigration. Thus, to consider them as the causes of worldly transmigration and, therefore, abandonable is totally against the Jaina fundamental and elemental knowledge and principles of karma theory.

It has been said earlier that as the sin gets reduced due to the practice of restraint, penance and renunciation, the influx and intensityof meritorious karma-matter increases proportionally. The best practice of restraint, penance and renunciation is when the aspirant is on the destructional ladder of right conduct and it culminates in the gaining of ‘as enunciated conduct (yathākhyāt cāritra)’. While practicing the as enunciated conduct when delusion is fully destroyed the omniscience manifests itself. At that time, due to the culmination of the first two subtypes of pure-white meditation, the intensity of meritorious karma is also at its peak, as has been said in verse 94, of Dhyānaśataka.

In the climactic stage of meritorious karmic mode there is the practice of ‘as enunciated conduct’. It does not happen that someone may gain omniscience without reaching the peak or the climax of meritorious karmic mode. It is the cardinal rule that when one is in the practice of ‘as enunciated’ conduct, he is also at the peak of his auspicious karmic disposition. As long as the ‘as enunciated’ conduct is present this climactic stage of auspicious karmic disposition cannot diminish. It is when the time of liberation and final deliverance comes that the ‘as enunciated’ conduct and the climactic disposition of auspicious karma both separate from the soul at the same time. As the as enunciated conduct cannot be said to be abandonable just because it separates from the soul at the time of liberation, so the meritorious karmas also cannot be said to be deplorable and abandonable just because they get separated from the soul at the time of liberation. As the presence of ‘as enunciated’ conduct and meritorious karma is concurrent so is their separation-disappearance as well. As they are concurrent, they go together and when one separates the other also separates. A deficiency in the climactic meritorious karmic disposition is indicative of absence of ‘as enunciated conduct’. What is meant here is that to highlight the speciality of Jaina philosophy by saying that Jainism differs from other faiths in that it also proscribes puṇya (merit) is to show ignorance of its precepts and philosophy. This belief is totally irrelevant and against Jaina elemental knowledge and its doctrine of karma. To base one’s arguments against merciful, kind, compassionate and altruistic activities, and those of service to the troubled and miserable creatures on the basis of this belief is against Jaina scriptures, Jaina dharma and even against humanism.

The scriptures that lay down the principles of the doctrine of karma like Gommaṭasāra, Dhavalā and Mahā-dhavalā commentaries on the ¬aṭkhaṇḍāgama and the Jayadhavalā commentary on Kaṣāyapāhuḍa from the Digambara tradition and Kammapayaḍi, Pañcasaṅgraha, Karmagrantha, etc., from the Śvetāmbara tradition unanimously say that incurring merit or an increase in its intensity is possible only through a decrease in, or weakening of the passions. It is not possible in any other way. The gaining of merits through the auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, friendship, etc., is also because these activities reduce passions. In the ‘as enunciated’ conduct the passions are nonexistent and, therefore, no change in them by way of weakening is possible. Therefore, no further merit can be earned. The peak of merit that had been reached by the time one reaches the stage of ‘as enunciated’ conduct remains at the peak as long as one remains at this stage. The destruction of meritorious karmic bondage takes place due to an increase in passions and in no other way. There are no other practices that can destroy the meritorious karma or reduce its intensity. Therefore, to consider meritorious karma as deplorable and abandonable is to encourage an increase in passions, to invite them to come to us and to approve of them, which is totally against the path of detachment.

We have said earlier that meritorious karma cannot be earned through a rise in passions but only through their decrease or weakening. According to this principle of the doctrine of karma with the manifestation of the ‘as enunciated’ conduct the intensity of meritorious karma reaches its peak. As long as this conduct lasts it is not possible that the intensity of meritorious karma may decrease even a least little bit. Once manifested the ‘as enunciated’ conduct cannot leave the omniscient aspirant except just before attaining the final accomplishment of nirvāṇa or final deliverance. On attaining nirvāṇa when the ‘as enunciated’ conduct is left behind the peak level of meritorious karmicmode also leaves the soul. Thus, from the Jaina point of view it is not correct in any way to consider meritorious karma as deplorable or abandonable. Therefore, to consider the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, friendship, etc., which are the means of earning merit, as deplorable and abandonable is to consider dharma and virtues as deplorable and abandonable. This is gross irreligiousness. It is to consider dharma as adharma, which is false belief.

Again, it is noteworthy that the best stage of influx and intensity of the meritorious karma is reached while one is engaged in the pious and pure-white meditation. (Dhyānaśataka, verses 93-94) This influx of meritorious karma is not a cause of worldly transmigration. (Dhyānaśataka, verse 95) The noble combination of body mind and speech (meritorious karmic influx) destroys the infinite modes of destructive karmas (Uttarādhyayana sūtra, 29.7). The meritorious karmic bonds are earned through meritorious karmic influx and compassion and pure volition are the means of meritorious karmic influx (Bhagavtī Ārādhanā, verse 1828; Mūlācāra, verse 235; Jayadhavalā commentary Bk. 1, p. 96, verse 52). These are the means of liberation as well. Therefore, to prohibit meritorious karmic influx and bondage is to prohibit compassion and pure volition. To prohibit pure volition is to inhibit the path of liberation. Therefore, to consider the meritorious karmic influx and bondage as deplorable and abandonable and to consider its destruction as spiritual practice is to oppose the path of liberation.

Compassion is a characteristic of right vision and pure volition is right conduct. Right vision and right conduct are the means of attaining liberation. Therefore, to deny compassion and pure volition is to oppose the path of liberation. The outward result of compassion is in the form of auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service, affection, friendship, etc., and the internal result is in the form of detachment and liberation and also the external result of all these auspicious activities is the earning of meritorious karma. The outstanding form of compassion and pure conscience is the excellent conduct known as ‘as enunciated’ conduct (Yathākhyāt Cāritra). The spiritual result of practicing this excellent conduct is in the form of liberation and the external physical result is in the form of earning of meritorious karma. From this it also becomes evident that there is a close relationship between the physical development and the spiritual development. The rule is that as the spiritual development takes place, the physical development follows automatically. Physical development does not necessarily mean increase in means of mundane enjoyment but it is in the form of getting good body, good senses, etc., and to get the peace and happiness that can be gained by means of auspicious activities to be done through them. This kind of excellent state of meritorious karmic intensity is seen in the case of detached omniscient Lords.

If the activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service to the needy, benevolence, affection, etc., are considered deplorable and abandonable because they result in meritorious karmic influx and bondage, we will also have to consider the activities of restraint, renunciation, penance, pious and pure contemplations (Dharma-dhyāna and Śukla-dhyāna), destruction of passions and practicing of ‘as enunciated’ (perfect) monastic conduct (Yathākhyāt cāritra) as deplorable and abandonable as they result in much more meritorious karmic influx and bondage as compared to the activities comprising positive non-violence as listed earlier. Even such a thought cannot be entertained as it is against the canonical teachings and the very religious precepts. As the latter activities are acceptable as means to the pursuit of spiritual emancipation so must be the former activities on the strength of the same argument. Activities of both these kinds are acceptable or beneficial and not deplorable or abandonable.

The spiritual purity is the means of gaining meritorious karmic influx as well as liberation. Restraint, renunciation, penance, etc., inhibit sinful tendencies and purify the soul. Therefore, they are the means of meritorious karmic influx and bondage as well as those of liberation. Similarly, the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service to the needy, benevolence, affection, etc., inhibit the inauspicious activities and tendencies. For example – Kindness curbs the deplorable activities of cruelty, service curbs those of selfishness, kindness curbs those of mercilessness, simplicity curbs those of deceit, mildness curbs those of proud arrogance, and generosity or magnanimity curbs the deplorable activities of greed and miserliness. Such curbing results in karmic stoppage and the soul becomes pure. Therefore, all these auspicious activities and virtues being the agencies of purifying the soul, they are the causes of incurring meritorious karmic influx and bondage as well as liberation. Said briefly, what we mean is that inhibiting or curbing sin is karmic stoppage, karmic stoppage is the cause of liberation. Therefore, meritorious karmic influx goes along with karmic stoppage and is not, in the least, a hindrance in the attainment of liberation. What is meant here is that to consider meritorious karmic influx and bondage and the auspicious activities that cause them as hindrances in the path of liberation is to inhibit liberation, to oppose the religion based on mercy, to oppose the spiritual virtues and to destroy humanity.

In this context the author does not at all mean to praise or to eulogise the meritorious karma. He only means to rectify the error that exists in the form of considering the meritorious karma and compassion in the form of the auspicious activities of mercy, kindness, charity, service to the needy, benevolence, affection, etc., as deplorable and abandonable, on the basis of the Jaina theory of karma and the canonical dictates. The meritorious karmas are non-destructive and are, therefore, absolutely unable to destroy any of the natural attributes of the living beings; at the same time they are also unable to manifest any of these virtues. Therefore, the meritorious karmas do not help or harm the natural attributes of the soul. This help or harm comes its way through the proper use or misuse of the means like body, senses, mind, speech, etc., that are gained as a result of meritorious karmas. To employ these means, gained as a result of meritorious karmas, in the service of the needy and in spiritual practices is their proper use whereas to employ them in tormenting others is their misuse.

The spiritual purity gained through weakening of passions is merit while the spiritual downfall through increase in passions is sin.

 

Punātvāmānaṁ pūyate’neneti vā puṇyaṁ|

- Tattvārthavārtika, 6.3.4.

That is – what purifies the soul is puṇya (merit).

 

Pātayati śātayati ātmānamiti pāpaṁ\

- Uttarādhyayana cūrṇi.

It is the rule of the theory of karma that when the passions are on the wane they cause meritorious karmic influx and bondage and reduce the sinful karmic influx and bondage. This rule applies equally to both kinds of spiritual practices – the active mode through auspicious activities like mercy, kindness, compassion, charity, service to the needy, benevolence, affection, etc., and the passive mode through the practice of restraint, renunciation, penance, etc.,. Both these active and passive kinds of practices result in weakening of the passions. The extent of external involvement in either of these two kinds of practices does not result in proportionate meritorious karmic influx and bondage; what causes them is the internal volition and to what extent the passions and attachment-aversion are on the rise or on the wane. The reason is – the weakening of passions result in the increase of meritorious karmic influx and bondage and in the reduction of sinful karmic influx and bondage. The result of increase in passions is quite the opposite. The sinful karmic influx and bondages are totally deplorable and abandonable as they destroy the natural qualities and purity of the soul, but meritorious karmic influx and bondages do not harm the basic spiritual virtues or diminish the spiritual purity in any way. Therefore, they are not at all deplorable and abandonable.

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