Friday, November 24, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism


Ten Virtues of Monks

Along with the five great vows, monks strive after the ten-fold virtues of a self controlled ascetic. The lay person follows these virtues partially.

  1. Kshamaa - Forbearance, Forgiveness
  2. Maardava - Modesty, Humility
  3. Aarjava - Straightforwardness, Candor
  4. Saucha - Contentment
  5. Satya - Truthfullness
  6. Samyam - Self-restraint, Control of Senses
  7. Tapa - Austerity, Penance
  8. Tyaga - Renunciation
  9. Akinchanya - Non-attachment
  10. Brahmacharya - Celibacy, Chastity
Monks are required to bear equanimity towards all living beings, friends and foes alike.

In addition to the ten fold virtues Monks live on alms, do not eat food at night, do not use any kind of conveyance, and do not possess any property.

Jain Dashlakshni parva which begins from Bhaadaravo Sud 5, and ends, Bhaadravo Sud 14, Ananta-chaturdashi, is the celebration of ten virtues, Each day is dedicated to one virtue.

Bhaadaravo Vad 1, is called Kshamaavaanee day. This is the day of forgiving and asking forgiveness.

Twelve Bhavnas (Reflections or Thoughts)

Jain religion puts a significant emphasis on the thought process ofa human being. A person's behavior and his actions are the reflection of his internal thoughts, day in and day out. It is not the action but intention behind the action results in the accumulation of Karma.

One should be very careful about his thoughts, how he thinks, and the subject matter of his thought.

To make room for pure thoughts, and to drive out the evil ones, Jainism recommends to meditate the following twelve thoughts or Bhavnas.

The twelve Bhavnas described here are the subject matters of one's meditation, and how to occupy one's mind with useful, religious, beneficial, peaceful, harmless, spiritually advancing, Karma preventing thoughts. They cover a wide field of teachings of Jainism. They are designed to serve as aids to spiritual progress, produce detachment, and lead the aspirants from the realm of desire to the path of renunciation. They are reflections upon the fundamental facts of life, intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion.

The reflections are also called Anuprekshas, longings, thoughts, aspirations, or Bhavnas.

  1. Anitya Bhavna - Impermanence of the world
  2. Asarana Bhavna - No one provides protection
  3. Samsara Bhavna - No permanent relationship in universe
  4. Ekatva Bhavna - Solitude of the soul
  5. Anyatva Bhavna - Separateness
  6. Asuci Bhavna - Impureness of the body
  7. Asrava Bhavna - Influx of karma
  8. Samvara Bhavna - Stoppage of influx of karma
  9. Nirjara Bhavna - Shedding of karma
  10. Loka Bhavna - Transitory of universe
  11. Bodhi-durlabha Bhavna - Unattainability of right faith, knowledge, and conduct
  12. Dharma Bhavna - Unattainability of true preceptor, scriptures, and religion
1. Anitya Bhavna - Impermanence of the world Under this reflection, one thinks that in this world every thing such as life, youth, wealth, property, etc. are transient or subject to alteration. Nothing in the universe is permanent, even though the whole universe is constant. Spiritual values are therefore worth striving for as soul's ultimate freedom and stability. This will help to break all earthly attachments.

2. Asarana Bhavna - No one provides protection Under this reflection, one thinks that he is helpless against death, old age, and disease. The only way he can conquer death and disease is by destroying all his karma. The soul is his own savior, and to achieve total freedom and enlightenment, one takes refuge to the true path and to the five best personalities. They are Arihanta, Siddha, Acharya, Upadhyay and Sadhus. The refuge to others are due to delusion, and must be avoided.

3. Samsara Bhavna - No permanent relationship in universe Under this reflection, one thinks that the soul transmigrates from one life to the other in any of the four forms, human, animal, hellish, and heavenly.

The continual cycle of birth, life, and death is full of pain and miseries, and has not yet ended. There are no permanent worldly relations like father, mother, friend, foe, etc. It is we who establish these relations and live accordingly.

This kind of thought will help minimize or stop any attachments to anybody, other living beings, or objects. The soul must achieve ultimate freedom from it, which is liberation or Moksha.

4. Ekatva Bhavna - Solitude of the soul Under this reflection, one thinks that the soul is solitaire, and lonely in existence. The soul assumes birth alone, and departs alone from the life form. The soul is responsible for its own actions and karmas. The soul will enjoy the fruits, and suffer bad consequences of its own action alone. Such thoughts will stimulate his efforts to get rid of karmas by his own initiative and will lead religious life.

5. Anyatva Bhavna - Separateness Under this reflection, one thinks that soul is separate from any other objects or living beings of the world. Even his body is not his. At the time of death, soul leaves the body behind. The body is matter, while the soul is all consciousness.

The soul therefore should not develop attachment for worldly objects, and other living beings. He should not allow himself to be controlled by desires, greed, and urges of the body.

6. Asuci Bhavna - Impureness of the body Under this reflection, one thinks about the constituent element of one's body. It is made of impure things like blood, bones, flesh, etc. It also generates impure things like perspiration, urine, stool, etc.

The soul, which resides within the body, is unattached to the body. It is alone and pure. The body ultimately becomes nonexistent, but the soul is eternal.

Therefore emotional attachments to the body is useless.

7. Asrava Bhavna - Influx of karma Under this reflection, one thinks about karma streaming into the soul. Every time he enjoys or suffers through the senses (touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing) he makes his karma increase.

This thought will make him more careful, and will try to stop the influx of karmas.

8. Samvara Bhavna - Stoppage of influx of karma Under this reflection, one thinks about stopping evil thoughts, and becomes absorbed in achieving spiritual knowledge, meditation, etc. This prevents the influx of karma.

9. Nirjara Bhavna - Shedding of karma Under this reflection, one thinks about the evil consequences of karma, and striving to destroy the previously acquired karma by austerity and meditation.

10. Loka Bhavna - Transitory of universe Under this reflection, one thinks about the real nature of this universe. Judging from the standpoint of substance, it is eternal but from the standpoint of modification it is transitory.

Thus all objects of the world come into existence and perish. This thought makes him understand the true nature of reality, which is necessary for right knowledge.

11. Bodhi-durlabha Bhavna - Unattainability of right faith, knowledge, and conduct Under this reflection, one thinks that it is very difficult for the transmigrating soul to acquire right faith, right knowledge, and right conduct in this world. Therefore, when one's has the opportunity to be a religious person, take the advantage of it to develop right religious talent. This thought will strengthen one's effort to attain them, and live accordingly.

12. Dharma Bhavna - Unattainability of true preceptor, scriptures, and religion Under this reflection, one thinks that the true preceptor, scriptures, and religion are excellent shelters in this world full of agony. All other things lead to misery and suffering.

Four Bhavnas or Virtues

Besides the twelve Bhavnas described above Jainism has laid great importance on the following four Bhavnas or virtues. They are mentioned here for clarification.

  • Amity, love, and friendship - Maitri
  • Appreciation, respect and joy - Pramoda
  • Compassion - Karuna
  • Equanimity and tolerance - Madhyastha
Twelve Vows Of Layperson

The five great vows (Maha-vratas) can be adopted by monks who are very keen about the uplift of their souls and ready to sacrifice all worldly enjoyments and family ties.

For those who want to remain in family life and for whom complete avoidance of five principle sins are difficult, Jain ethics specifies the following twelve vows to be carried out by the householder.

Of this twelve vows, the first five are main vows of limited nature (Anuvratas). They are somewhat easier in comparison with great vows (Maha-vratas). The great vows are for the monks.

The next three vows are known as merit vows (Guna-vratas), so called because they enhance and purify the effect of the five main vows and raise their value manifold. It also governs the external conduct of an individual.

The last four are called disciplinary vows (Shikhsa-vratas). They are intended to encourage the person in the performance of their religious duties. They reflect the purity of one's heart. They govern one's internal life and are expressed in a life that is marked by charity. They are preparatory to the discipline of an ascetic's life.

Three merit vows (Gunavrats) and four disciplinary vows (Shikhsa-vratas) together are known as Seven vows of virtuous conduct (Shilas).

A person may adopt these vows, according to his individual capacity and circumstances with the intent to adopt ultimately as a great vows.

The layperson should be very careful while observing and following these limited vows. These vows being limited or restricted vows may still leave great scope for the commitment of sins and possession of property.

The twelve vows are described as follows:

Five Main Vows of Limited Nature (Anuvratas):

  1. Non-violence Anuvrat - Ahimsa Anuvrat (Sthula Pranatipat Viraman)
  2. Truthfulness Anuvrat - Satya Anuvrat (Sthula Mrisavada Viraman)
  3. Non-stealing Anuvrat - Achaurya Anuvrat (Sthula Adattadana Viraman)
  4. Chastity Anuvrat - Bhramacharya Anuvrat (Sthula Maithuna Viraman)
  5. Non-attachment Anuvrat- Aparigraha Anuvrat (Sthula Parigraha Viraman)
Three Merit Vows (Guna-vrats):
  1. Dik Vrata - Limited area of activity vow
  2. Bhoga-Upbhoga Vrata - Limited use of consumable and non-consumable items vow
  3. Anartha-danda Vrata - Avoidance of purposeless sins vow
Four Disciplinary Vows (Siksha-vratas):
  1. Samayik Vrata - Meditation vow of limited duration
  2. Desavakasika Vrata - Activity vow of limiting space
  3. Pausadha Vrata - Ascetic's life Vow of limited duration
  4. Atithi Samvibhaga Vrata - Limited charity vow
1. Non-violence Anuvrat (Ahimsa Anuvrat): In this vow, a person must not intentionally hurt any living being (plants,animals,humans etc.) or their feeling either by thought, word or deed, himself, or through others, or by approving such an act committed by somebody else.

Intention in this case applies selfish motive, sheer pleasure and even avoidable negligence.

He may use force, if necessary, in the defense of his country, society, family, life, property, religious institute.

His agricultural, industrial, occupational living activities do also involve injury to life, but it should be as minimum as possible, through carefulness and due precaution.

Four stages of violence are described:
  • Premeditated Violence to attack someone knowingly
  • Defensive Violence to commit intentional violence in defense of one's own life
  • Vocational Violence to incur violence in the execution of one's means of livelihood
  • Common Violence to commit violence in the performance of daily activities
Premeditated violence is prohibited for all. A householder is permitted to incur violence defensively and vocationally provided he maintains complete detachment. Common violence is accepted for survival, but even here, one should be careful in preparing food, cleaning house, etc. This explains the Jain's practices of filtering drinking water, vegetarianism, not eating meals at night, and abstinence from alcohol.

Nonviolence is the foundation of Jain ethics.

Lord Mahavir says: `one should not injure, subjugate, enslave, torture or kill any living being including animals, insects, plants, and vegetables.'
This is the essence of religion. It embraces the welfare of all animals. It is the basis of all stages of knowledge and the source of all rules of conduct. The scriptures analyze the spiritual and practical aspects of nonviolence and discuss the subject negatively and positively.

2. Truthfulness Anuvrat (Satya Anuvrat): The second of the five limited vows is Truth. It is more than abstaining from falsehood. It is seeing the world in its real form and adapting to that reality. The vow of truth puts a person in touch with his inner strength and inner capacities.

In this vow, a person avoids lies, such as giving false evidence, denying the property of others entrusted to him, avoid cheating others etc. The vow is to be followed in thought, action, and speech, and by doing it himself or by getting it done through others.

He should not speak the truth, if it harms others or hurts their feelings. He should, under these circumstances, keep silence.

3. Non-stealing (Achaurya / Asteya) Anuvrat: In this vow, a person must not steal, rob, or misappropriate others goods and property. He also must not cheat and use illegal means in acquiring worldly things, nor through others or by approving such an act committed by others.

4. Chastity (Bhramacharya) Anuvrat: The basic intent of this vow is to conquer passion and to prevent the waste of energy. Positively stated, the vow is meant to impart the sense of serenity to the soul.

In this vow, the house holder must not have a sensual relationship with anybody but one's own lawfully wedded spouse. Even with one's own spouse, excessive indulgence of all kinds of sensual pleasure need be avoided.

5. Non-possession / Non-attachment (Aparigraha) Anuvrat: Non-possession is the fifth limited vow. As long as a person does not know the richness of joy and peace that comes from within, he tries to fill his empty and insecure existence with the clutter of material acquisitions.

Lord Mahavir said, security born of material things is a delusion. To remove this delusion, one takes the vow of non-possession and realizes the perfection of the soul.
One must impose a limit on one's needs, acquisitions, and possessions such as land, real estate, goods, other valuables, animals, money, etc. The surplus should be used for the common good. One must also limit the every day usage of number of food items, or articles and their quantity.

This Jain principle of limited possession for householders helps in equitable distribution of wealth, comforts, etc., in the society. Thus Jainism helps in establishing socialism, economic stability, and welfare in the world.

Non-possession, like non-violence, affirms the oneness of all life and is beneficial to an individual in his spiritual growth and to the society for the redistribution of wealth.

6. Dik Vrata - Limited Area of Activity Vow This vow limits one's worldly activities to certain area in all the ten directions; north, south, east, west, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west, above and below. He gives up committing sins in any place outside the limited areas. This vow provides a space limit to the commitments of sins not restricted by the limited vows of non-violence. Thus outside the limited area, the limited vows assumes the status of full vow (Maha-vratas).

7. Bhoga-Upbhoga Vrata - Limited use of Consumable/Non-consumable items vow Generally one commits the sin by one's use or enjoyment of consumable (Bhoga) and non-consumable (Upbhoga) things.

Consumable (Bhoga) means enjoyment of an object which can only be used once, such as food, drink, fruits and flowers.

Non-consumable (Upabhoga) means enjoyment of an object which can be used several times, such as furniture, cloths, ornaments, buildings etc.

One should, therefore, limit the use of these two items in accordance with his own need and capacity by taking this vows.

This vow provides the time limit to the commitments of sins notrestricted by Aparigraha Anuvrata.

8. Anartha-danda Vrata - Avoidance of Purposeless Sins Vow One must not commit unnecessary or purposeless sin or moral offense as defined below. Thinking, talking, or preaching evil or ill of others.

Doing inconsiderate or useless acts such as walking on the grass unnecessarily.

Manufacturing or supplying arms for attack.

Reading or listening, improper literature, or carelessness in ordinary behavior.

Thus this vow is of great practical importance. It makes life more vigilant and sin-proof.

9. Samayik Vrata - Limited Meditation Vow Meditation of the soul and its relationship with nature is known as Samayik.

By giving up affection and aversion (Rag and Dvesha), observing equanimity in all objects, thinking evil of no one, and being at peace with the world, one should practice this vow of meditation (Samayik).

This vow consists in sitting down at one place for at least 48 minutes concentrating one's mind on religious activities like reading religious books, praying, or meditating. This vow may be repeated many times in a day. It is to be observed by mind, body, and speech.

The meditation of 48 minutes makes a person realize the importance of a life long vow to avoid all sinful activities and is a stepping stone to a life of full renunciation.

10. Desavakasika Vrata - Limited Duration of Activity Vow This vow sets the new limit within the limitations already set by Dik Vrata and Bhoga-Upbhoga Vrata. The general life long limitation of doing business in certain areas and the use of articles are further restricted for a particular days time of the week.

This means that one shall not, during a certain period of time, do any activity, business, or travel beyond a certain city, street, house or have anything to do with the enjoyment of objects beyond that limit.

11. Pausadha Vrata - Limited Ascetic's Life Vow This vow requires to live the life of a monk for a day. During this time one should retire to a secluded place, renounce all sinful activities, abstain in seeking pleasure from all objects of the senses, observe due restraint of body, speech and mind. A person follows five great vows (Maha-vratas) completely during this time. He passes his time in spiritual contemplation, perform meditation (Samayik), engage in self study, and worship Gods (Arihants and Siddhas).

This vow promotes and nourishes one's religious life and provides training for ascetic life.

12. Atithi Samvibhaga Vrata - Limited Charity Vow One should give food, clothes, medicine, and other articles of its own possession to monks, nuns, and a pious person. The food offered should be pure and with reverence.

One should not prepare any foods specially for monks because monks are not allowed to have such foods. Donating of one's own food and articles to monks and others, provides an inner satisfaction and raises one's consciousness to higher level. It also saves him from acquiring of more sins if he would have used the same for his nourishment, comfort and pleasure.

Peaceful Death

:In the final days of life, a householder observes peaceful death. The house-holder can attain a peaceful death (Sallekhana) if he truly follows the above twelve vows. The peaceful death is characterized by non-attachment to the worldly objects and by a suppression of the passions at the time of death. The last thought should be of a calm renunciation of the body, and this thought should ever be present long before death supervenes.

Conclusion: By performing these twelve vows, a lay follower may live a righteous life and advance towards a fuller and more perfect life, and conquer desire.

While earning wealth, supporting family, and taking up arms to protect himself, his family, his country, etc. against intruder, he is taught self restraint, love and enmity. On one hand, he is debarred from doing any harm to himself, to his family, to his country, or to humanity by his reckless conduct. On the other hand, by giving up attachments he gradually prepares himself for the life of ascetics.

If one goes deeper into the rules laid down, he will find that practice of limiting the number of things to be kept or enjoyed by himself eliminates the danger of concentration of wealth at one point, which will help to minimize poverty and crime in the society. Thus limiting the desires of individuals, results in a ideal society.

Fourteen Auspicious Dreams of Mother Trishala

Queen Trishala, mother of Lord Mahavir at midnight saw fourteen beautiful and auspicious dreams after conception.They were:

  1. Elephant
  2. Bull
  3. Lion
  4. Goddess Laxmi
  5. Garland of Flowers
  6. Full Moon
  7. Sun
  8. Large Flag
  9. Silver Urn
  10. Lotus-Lake
  11. Milky-Sea
  12. Celestial Air-plane
  13. Heap of Gems
  14. Smokeless Fire

1. Elephant

The first dream Queen Trishala saw was of an elephant. She saw a big, tall, and impetuous elephant. It had two pairs of tusks. The color of the elephant was white and its whiteness was superior to the color of marble. It was an auspicious elephant, and was endowed with all the desirable marks of excellence.

This dream indicates that her son will guide the spiritual chariot, and save human beings from misery, greed, and attraction of life.

2. Bull

The second dream Queen Trishala saw was of a bull. The color of the bull was also white, but it was brighter than white lotuses. It glowed with beauty and radiated a light all around. It was noble, grand, and had a majestic hump. It had fine, bright, and soft hair on his body. Its horns were superb and sharply-pointed.

This dream indicates that her son will be a spiritual teacher of great ascetics, kings, and other great personalities.

3. Lion

The third dream Queen Trishala saw was of a magnificent lion. Its claws were beautiful and well-poised. The lion had a large well-rounded head and extremely sharp teeth. Its lips were perfect, its color was red, and its eyes were sharp and glowing. Its tail was impressively long and well-shaped. Queen Trishala saw this lion descending towards her and entering her mouth.

This dream indicates that her son will be as powerful and strong as a lion. He will be fearless, almighty, and capable of ruling over the world.

4. Goddess Laxmi

The fourth dream Queen Trishala saw was of the Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity and power. She was seated at the top of mountain Himalaya. Her feet had a sheen of golden turtle. She had a delicate and soft fingers. Her black hair was tiny, soft, and delicate. She wore rows of pearls interlaced with emeralds and a garland of gold. A pair of earring hung over her shoulders with dazzling beauty. She held a pair of bright lotuses.

This dream indicates that her son will attain great wealth, power, prosperity.

5. Garland of Flowers The fifth dream Queen Trishala saw was of a celestial garland of flowers descending from the sky. It smelled of mixed fragrances of different flowers. The whole universe was filled with fragrance. The flowers were white and woven into the garland. They bloomed during all different seasons. A swarm of bees flocked to it and they made a humming sound around the region.

This dream indicates that the fragrance of her son's preaching will spread over the entire universe.

6. Full Moon

The sixth dream queen Trishala saw was of a full moon. It presented an auspicious sight. The moon was at its full glory. It awoke the lilies to bloom fully. It was bright like a well polished mirror. The moon radiated whiteness like a swan. It inspired the oceans to surge skyward. The beautiful moon looked like a radiant beauty-mark in the sky.

This dream indicates that her son will have a great physical structure, and be pleasing to all living beings of the universe.

7. Sun

The seventh dream Queen Trishala saw was of a huge disc of sun. The sun was shining, and destroying darkness. It was red like the flame of the forest. Lotuses bloomed at its touch. The sun is the lamp of the sky and the lord of planets. The sun rose and an put to end the evil activities of the creatures who thrive at night.

This dream indicates that the teaching of her son will destroy anger, greed, ego, lust, pride, etc. from the life of the people.

8. Large Flag

The eighth dream Queen Trishala saw was of a very large flag flying on a golden stick. The flag fluttered softly and auspiciously in the gentle breeze. It attracted the eyes of all. Peacock feathers decorated its crown. A radiant white lion was on it.

This dream indicates that her son will be great, noble, and a well respected leader of the family.

9. Silver Urn

The ninth dream Queen Trishala saw was of a silver urn (kalash) full of crystal-clear water. It was a magnificent, beautiful, and bright pot. It shone like gold and was a joy to behold. It was garlanded with strings of lotuses and other flowers. The pot was holy and untouched by anything sinful.

This dream indicates that her son will be perfect in all virtues.

10. Lotus-Lake

The tenth dream Queen Trishala saw was of a lotus lake (padma-sagar). Thousands of lotuses were floating on the lake which opened at the touch of the sun's rays. The lotuses imparted a sweet fragrance. There were swarms of fish in the lake. Its water glowed like flames of fire. The lily-leaves were floating on the water.

This dream indicates that her son will help to liberate the human beings who are tangled in the cycle of birth, death, and misery.

11. Milky-sea

The eleventh dream Queen Trishala saw was of a milky sea. Its water swelled out in all directions, rising to great heights with turbulent motions. Winds blew and created waves. A great commotion was created in the sea by huge sea animals. Great rivers fell into the sea, producing huge whirlpools.

This dream indicates that her son will navigate through life on an ocean of birth, death, and misery leading to Moksha or liberation.

12. Celestial air-plane

The twelfth dream Queen Trishala saw was of a celestial airplane. The airplane had eight thousands magnificent gold pillars studded with gems. The plane was framed with sheets of gold and garlands of pearls. It was decorated with rows of murals depicting bulls, horses, will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.

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