3 Ratnatray (Jewels)

Right Perception (samyak charitra) is also translated into English as right vision, and right view. It is actually all these and even more. Perception is not a mere physical act. There is a mental process behind it and it is very much influenced by the attitude and the background of the preceptor. Right Perception comes with  the ability to discriminate correctly between right and wrong, good and bad, right belief and wrong belief, right knowledge and wrong knowledge, and between truth and untruth. Right Perception comes from right thoughts, right insight, right knowledge, right understanding, right faith, right relationships and right attitude. In a traditional sense, right perception comes from having right beliefs and right thinking about the thirthankaras and their teachings, and by knowing the difference between the Jiva, the embodied soul and Ajiva, the inert matter. In a negative sense, right perception also means not having the wrong perception, which is acquired by not believing in false prophets, not following wrong scriptures, not believing in the wrong knowledge and not indulging in wrong practices. 

Right perception leads to contentment (prasanna),  detachment (nirveda), spiritual yearning for liberating, (samvega), kindness (anukampa) and faith in the path (astikaya). It also results in freedom from eight kinds of pride, namely pride in family, physical strength, beauty, knowledge, wealth, authority, relationships and spiritual progress. Cultivation of right perception requires a great deal of inner discipline and assiduous practice which demands the following requirements. 

1. Faith without doubts,

2. Complete renunciation of desire for worldly comforts,

3. Respect for believers on the path,

4. Absence of likes and dislikes,

5. Disinterest in wrong paths,

6. Bringing non-believers to the path,

7. Cultivation of right faith, and

8. Spreading the knowledge Jainism

Right knowledge

Right knowledge (samyak jnan) comes with right perception, right understanding, right discrimination and by knowing the true doctrine. Knowledge that is gained through external agencies is liable to error whereas knowledge gained directly through the faculties of the soul cannot be wrong. The true test of right knowledge lies in its ability to help us in getting what is good for us and in avoiding what is sinful. Right knowledge is useful and reliable because it is a true representation of what is. 

Jainism acknowledges eight types of knowledge. Of them five constitute right knowledge. They are mati (mental knowledge), sruti (acquired knowledge), avadhi (distant knowledge), manahparyaya (paranormal knowledge) and kevala (absolute knowledge). The remaining three types of knowledge constitute false knowledge (mithya jnan). They are invalid knowledge, erroneous knowledge and wrong knowledge. 

Mati jnana (mental knowledge) is ordinary perception obtained through the normal faculties of the mind such as perception, cognition, analysis and memory. It is further divided into smriti (remeberance), pratyabhijna or samjna (recognition), curita or tarka (inductive logic) and abhinibodha or anumana (deductive logic). According to another classification, it is divided into upalabdhi (end result), bhavana (feelings and emotion) and upayoga (usefulness). Matijnana comes to us mainly through the sense organs (indriyas). So sensory knowledge always precedes mental knowledge

Sruti jnana is verbal and non verbal knowledge acquired through signs, symbols and words. Study and hearing are the usual methods of obtaining srutijnana. While matijnana is acquired through primary contact srutijnana is acquired through secondary contact or another source. Srutijnana is of four types depending upon how it is acquired: labdhi (contact), bhavana (attention), upayoga (utility) and naya (perspective). The difference between sruti and mati is very subtle because in case of srutijnana also perception, cognition and understanding play an important role. Matijnana is the raw material from which comes srutijnana as a finished product. The former is based on personal experiences and perceptions while the latter is based on other people's knowledge and experiences that has been borrowed through communication.

Avadhi jnana is clairvoyance or knowledge of distant and remote things acquired through higher faculties, without the use of the senses or study. It comes either from birth (bhava) because of previous karma or from virtues (gunas) acquired by doing good karma and destroying bad karma.

Manahparyaya jnana is the knowledge acquired psychically through other people's minds using the paranormal faculty of mind reading or telepathy. People endowed with this faculty have the ability to actually see the thought forms and mental impressions of other people and know instantly what they are thinking. Manahparyaya jnana is acquired because of previous good karma or virtue acquired in the present life by removing impure karma. Manahparyaya is a kind of avadhijnana but it is limited to the extent of other people's minds and what is going on in them. In comparison, avadhijnana extends to every thing and everywhere. Secondly both human beings and others can acquire avadhijnana, but manahparyaya is possible only in case of humans.

Kevala jnana is the "Only" knowledge or the absolute knowledge. It is also described as the perfect knowledge and the ultimate knowledge. Kevalajnana is not subject to standpoints or perspectives because it contains all view points and perspectives simultaneously. It is omniscient, omnipresent, indescribable, unlimited, eternal and transcendental to which the limitations of space and time do not apply. It is acquired only when a person has achieved nirvana.

Knowledge obtained by these five means is divided into both direct knowledge (pratyaksha) and indirect knowledge (paroksha). Direct knowledge is that knowledge which is acquired directly without the intervention of an external agency. Of the five types of knowledge, the first two are considered indirect and hence reliable while the last three are direct and more reliable. Indirect knowledge is susceptible to error, invalid conclusions, and falsehood, where as  direct knowledge is perfect.

From right perception comes right knowledge. From right knowledge comes right conduct and the power of discrimination. As karma is gradually removed from the embodied self, it begins to acquire different types of right knowledge. First comes perceptual knowledge. From it arises the desire to study and acquire the sruti knowledge. From the study of the doctrine and its practice comes clairvoyance or knowledge of distant objects and telepathy. These extraordinary powers enable the jiva to come into contact with higher beings from whom it gains more knowledge leading to its further purification.  As  the Jiva becomes adept in different types of knowledge. it gradually moves on the path of liberation and achieves kevala jnana or the highest knowledge. Ultimately, in the transcendental state, the Jiva gains perfect knowledge and becomes complete. 

Right conduct

The three jewels are interconnected and work in tandem. One cannot have right conduct without right knowledge and one cannot have right knowledge without right perception. Right conduct comes from the awareness of what is right and what is wrong and by doing what is right. It is practicing right knowledge as revealed by the thirthankaras and the jinas. At the core of their teachings is the practice of non-violence as a solution to the problem of karma. However ahimsa has to be practiced in conjunction with other  teachings. A follower of Jainism should not have any doubt about the teachings of the Jinas. From faith comes the conviction and the resolve to remain committed to the path. Faith in the doctrine is therefore the first commitment expected of each follower. The conviction is further cemented by the 12 vows or vratas, which each initiate into Jainism has to undertake to begin his or her journey on the path. Of the 12 vows five are main vows or maha vratas and the rest are supplementary vows or anuvratas. Jain scriptures provide ancillary information on how to practice each of the main vows.  The five main vows are:

  • Ahimsa- non-injury or non-violence, to be practiced by not piercing, not binding, not overloading, not causing pain and not starving beings. Ahimsa should be practiced positively by practicing non-violence and negatively by refraining from violence
  • Satya - truthfulness, to be practiced by  not spreading false doctrine, not back-biting, not doing forgery, not betraying secrets and not breaking promises. Satya should be practiced positively by practicing truthfulness and negatively by not speaking lies
  • Asteya - not to steal, to be practiced by not encouraging others to steal, not receiving stolen property, not acquiring things against law, not adulterating and not using false weights or measurements, use or what is obtained legitimately and not to take what is not given. Asteya should be practiced positively by using what one has and negatively by not taking what has not been given.
  • Brahmacharya - chastity or celibacy, to be practiced by not indulging in extramarital relationships, not indulging in unnatural sex, not indulging in lewd behavior, not showing excessive passion for one's spouse and not associating with sexually immortal people. Brahmacharya should be practiced positively by observing celibacy and negatively by refraining from sensual pleasure.
  • Aparigriha - renunciation or detachment, to be practiced by limiting one's possessions through three progressive levels of reduction: at a level higher than what one has, at a level equal to what one actually has and at a level less than what one has. Aparigriha should be practiced positively by giving away and negatively by not seeking worldly things.

The five vows are called mahavratas or great vows when they are practiced rigidly. In case of ordinary people who may not be able to practice them strictly, they are called anuvratas or minor vows. Those who have taken to asceticism are expected to  observe them all the time mentally, verbally and physically. For example, the vow of ahimsa should be practiced by not injuring others mentally, verbally and physically. The laity are also advised to refrain from associating themselves with people who are not sincere on the path and who violate the vows habitually.  Ascetics are advised to keep a vigil over themselves all the time while practicing the vows with firm resolve, cultivating 10 more virtues, namely kshama (forgiveness), mardava (humility), arjava (honesty), satya (truth), soucha (purity), samyam (self-restraint), tapas (penance), tyaga (sacrifice), akinchanya (non-attachment) and brahmacharya (celibacy).

In addition to the five vows, lay followers have to observe seven additional vows. Of them three are concerning gunas or qualities (guna vratas) and four are concerning education or religious knowledge (siksha vratas). The guna vratas are:

  1. Dik vrata which consists of putting self imposed limitations upon oneself to reduce the chances transgressions. They act like standards of control.
  2. Bhoga upabhoga parimana vrata, which consists of putting self-imposed limitations upon oneself with regard to the consumable and non-consumable items and possessions used.
  3. Anartha danda vrata, which consists of self-imposed restrictions on avoiding unnecessary evil.

The Siksha vratas are meant for expanding one's awareness and knowledge. They are:

  1. Samyik vrata, which consists of engaging in periods of meditation, study of scriptures for not less than a specified amount of time.
  2. Desavakasika vrata, which consists of observing self-imposed limitations with regard to place of stay or travel or the time of travel.
  3. Pausadha vrata, which consists of living periodically like an ascetic, practicing silence, fasting, not drinking water etc. for a specific period of time such as a day.
  4. Atithi samvibhaga vrata, which consists of treating the ascetics with honor and respect due to a guest or helping the monastic community with such provisions as food, drink, cloth, medicines, accommodation etc.

Vows For the Advanced Laity

In addition to the 12 vows, eleven more vows are prescribed for the lay followers who want to enter into the next stage of spiritual practice. They are:

  1. To worship the thirthankaras, respect for guru and believe in their teachings.
  2. To face death peacefully through gradual self-starvation
  3. To live the life of an ascetic six months in a year
  4. To meditate three times a day
  5. To avoid uncooked vegetables
  6. Not to eat food after the sunset and before sunrise and not to drink water before daylight.
  7. To stay away from one's spouse
  8. To refrain from engaging in worldly pursuits
  9. To eat only the left overs
  10. To lead the life of an ascetic away from home, wearing ascetic clothes and following the rules of an ascetic.
  11. To remain a novice for the rest of life

Duties For Saints and Laity

In addition to the vows, certain common duties are prescribed for both the ascetics and the laity. The former are expected to observe these rigidly while certain allowances are made for the latter since they are not fully committed to the path. These are discussed as right penance (tapas) and right contemplation. Right penance is both external and internal. The external penances are fasting (anshan), moderation in eating (unodari), living like a beggar (bhikshachari), indifference to physical pain (kayaklesh) and withdrawal from the worldly pursuits (sallinatha). The internal penances are repentance (prayaschitta), humility (vinaya), service (vaiyavritya), study (svadhyaya), meditation (dhyana) and renunciation (viyuut-sarga). Right contemplation consists of practicing 12 kinds of reflections, on the following.

  1. Reflection on transience, 
  2. Reflection on helplessness, 
  3. Reflection on samsara or causative world, 
  4. Reflection on aloneness, 
  5. Reflection on duality, 
  6. Reflection on impurity of human existence, 
  7. Reflection on samvara or arrest of karma, 
  8. Reflection on nirjara or exhaustion of karma, 
  9. Reflection on the nature of the universe, 
  10. Reflection on the difficulties on the path and 
  11. Reflection on the important aspects of essential doctrine.


3 रत्नत्रय

चारित्र जीवन की सबसे बड़ी निधि है।आचार को धर्म कहा गया है।धर्म का क्रियात्मक रूप आचार है।पर आचार को एक निश्चित विचार से अभिप्रेरित होना चाइए।विचार रहित आचार और आचार रहित विचार हमें वांछित परिणाम नहीं दे सकता ।आचार और विचार की इसी अन्योंयाश्रिता के कारण ही जैन धर्म में सम्यकदर्शन,सम्यकज्ञान और सम्यकचारित्र की एकरूपता को रत्नत्रय धर्म कहा है। सम्यग्दर्शन धर्म का मूल स्तम्भ है।सम्यग्दर्शन के अभाव में न तो ज्ञान सम्यक होता है और न चारित्र ही।इसलिए सम्यग्दर्शन को मोक्ष महल की प्रथम सीढ़ी कहा गया है।यह हमारी विचार शुद्धि का आधार है।आचार की विशुद्धि के लिए विचार की शुद्धि अनिवार्य है।सम्यग्दर्शन और सम्यग्चारित्र में अंक और शुन्य का सम्बन्ध है।चाहे जितने भी शुन्य हो अंक के अभाव में उनका कोई महत्त्व नहीं होता ।यदि शुन्य के साथ १ अंक भी हो तो अंक और शुन्य दोनों का महत्त्व बाद जाता है।सम्यग्दर्शन अंक है और सम्यग्चारित्र शुन्य।सम्यग्दर्शन से ही सम्यग्चारित्र का तेज प्रकट होता है।सम्यग्दर्शन रहित चारित्र उस अंधे की तरह है जो निरंतर चलना तो जानता है पर लक्ष्य का पता नहीं है।लक्ष्य विहीन यात्रा ,यात्रा नहीं भटकन है।इसलिए सूत्रकार ने चारित्र- निरूपक चरणानुयोग का प्रारंभ सम्यग्दर्शन से किया है।
सम्यक्त्व का स्वरुप : विभिन्न द्रष्टियों में सम्यग्दर्शन के विभिन्न लक्षण बताये गए है।
१.परमार्थभूत देव ,शास्त्र और गुरु पआर तीन मूढ़ता और आठ मदों से रहित तथा आठ अंग से युक्त होकर श्रद्धा करना।
(सर्वज्ञता ,वीतरागता और हितोपदेशिता सच्चे देव का लक्षण है।पुर्वोपर विरोध से रहित आत्म हितकारी,जिनोपदिष्ट शास्त्र सच्चा शास्त्र है।विषय कषाय और आरम्भ परिग्रह से रहित ज्ञान,ध्यान और ताप में लीन दिग. मुनि सच्चे गुरु है। )
२.तत्त्वों पर श्रद्धा करना।
३. स्व पर श्रद्धान करना।
४. आत्मा का श्रद्धान करना।
इस लक्षणों में तत्वार्थ श्रद्धान रूप लक्षण सभी में द्रष्टि गोचर होता है,क्युकी जीव की शुद्ध अवस्था ही देव है।सच्चे गुरु साक्षात् संवर -निर्जरा की प्रर्तिमुर्ती है।शास्त्र रत्नत्रय रूप सच्चे धर्म का अधिष्ठान है।सच्चा धर्म जीव ,अजीव,आश्रव और बंध इन तत्त्वों से हटकर संवर और निर्जरा तत्त्वों की और झुकने का नाम है।इसका नाम मोक्ष है।अत: सच्चे देव ,शास्त्र व् गुरु की श्रद्धा व् सात तत्वों की श्रद्धा एक ही बात है।
सम्यग्ज्ञान :- सम्यग्दर्शन के बाद सम्यग्ज्ञान का मोक्षमार्ग में दूसरा स्थान है।वस्तुओं का यथा रीती जैसा का तैसा जानना सम्यग्ज्ञान है।द्रंढ आत्मविश्वास के अनन्तर ज्ञान में सम्यक्पना आता है।यों तो संसार के पदार्थों का ज्ञान हिनाधिक रूप में प्रत्येक व्यक्ति को होता है,पर उस ज्ञान का आत्म विकास के लिए उपयोग करना बहुत ही कम लोग जानते है।सम्यग्दर्शन के साथ उत्पन्न हुआ ज्ञान आत्म विकास का कारण होता है।स्व और पर का भेद विज्ञानं सम्यग्ज्ञान है।
सम्यक्चारित्र :-साधना का तीसरा चरण है चारित्र ।चारित्र के २ रूप माने गए है ।निश्चय चारित्र और व्यवहार चारित्र ।निश्चय चारित्र निव्रत्तिमुलक है और व्यवहार चारित्र प्रवृत्ति परक ।चारित्र का बाह्य आचारात्मक पक्ष व्यवहार है और उसका आंतरिक पक्ष निश्चय चारित्र है।निश्चय चारित्र का अर्थ है समस्त राग द्वेषादी वैभाविक भावों स एराहित होकर साम्य भाव से अवस्थिति ।यह आत्म रमण की स्थिति है।निश्चय चारित्र की भावना ही जीव के आद्यात्मिक विकास का आधार है।इसे ही समता,वीतरागता या मध्यस्थता भी कहते है। व्यवहार चारित्र का सम्बन्ध आचार नियमों के परिपालन से है।मन वचन और काय की अशुभ प्रवृत्तियों को त्याग कर व्रत ,समिति आदि शुभ प्रवृत्तियों में लीन होना व्यवहार चारित्र है।इसे देशव्रत और सर्व व्रत इन २ वर्गों में विभाजित किया है।देशव्रत चारित्र का सम्बन्ध गृहस्थों से और सर्व व्रत का सम्बन्ध मुनियों से है।गृह्स्थाचार के अंतर्गत अष्ट मूल गुण ,बारह व्रत और ग्यारह प्रतिमाओं का पालन किया जाता है तथा मुनि आचार के अंतर्गत महाव्रत ,समिति ,गुप्ति,धर्म ,अनुप्रेक्षा आदि के साथ २८ मूल गुणों का पालन किया जाता है।
Jinaagam Saar