Tattvartha Sutra (with commentary)

by Vijay K. Jain | 2018 | 130,587 words | ISBN-10: 8193272625 | ISBN-13: 9788193272626

This page describes right faith, right knowledge and right conduct which is verse 1.1 of the English translation of the Tattvartha Sutra which represents the essentials of Jainism and Jain dharma and deals with the basics on Karma, Cosmology, Ethics, Celestial beings and Liberation. The Tattvarthasutra is authorative among both Digambara and Shvetambara. This is verse 1 of the chapter Right Faith and Knowledge and includes an extensive commentary.

Verse 1.1 - Right faith, right knowledge and right conduct

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation of Tattvartha sūtra 1.1:

सम्यग्दर्शनज्ञानचारित्राणि मोक्षमार्गः ॥ १.१ ॥

samyagdarśanajñānacāritrāṇi mokṣamārgaḥ || 1.1 ||

Right faith (samyagdarśana), right knowledge (samyagjñāna), and right conduct (samyakcārita), together, constitute the path to liberation–mokṣamārga. (1)

Hindi Anvayarth:

अन्वयार्थ: [सम्यग्दर्शनज्ञानचारित्राणि] सम्यग्दर्शन, सम्यग्ज्ञान और सम्यक्चारित्र, तीनों मिलकर [मोक्षमार्गः] मोक्ष का मार्ग है, अर्थात् मोक्ष की प्राप्ति का उपाय है।

Anvayartha: [samyagdarshanajnanacaritrani] samyagdarshana, samyagjnana aura samyakcaritra, tinom milakara [mokshamargah] moksha ka marga hai, arthat moksha ki prapti ka upaya hai |

Explanation in English from Ācārya Pūjyapāda’s Sarvārthasiddhi:

The word ‘samyak’ means ‘right’ or ‘laudable’. It should be prefixed to each of these three words: faith (darśana), knowledge (jñāna), and conduct (cāritra). These then become right faith or belief (samyagdarśana), right knowledge (samyagjñāna), and right conduct (samyakcārita). With the addition of the adjective ‘samyak’, faith becomes ‘right’ or ‘laudable’; faith that is knowledge-based is right faith (samyagdarśana). Knowledge of substances, the soul (jīva) and the others, as these are, is right knowledge (samyagjñāna). The use of the adjective ‘samyak’ with knowledge wards off faults in knowledge due to delusion (vimoha or anadhyavasāya), doubt (saṃśaya) and error (viparyaya). The knowledgeable man who is keen to demolish the causes of worldly existence, i.e., transmigration, sheds activity that engenders karmic influx; this shedding of activity is right conduct (samyakcārita). The adjective ‘samyak’ with conduct rules out the conduct not based on right knowledge.

Etymologically, the word ‘darśana’–faith–is ‘that which sees’, ‘that by which is seen’, or just ‘seeing’. The word ‘jñāna’–knowledge–is ‘that which knows’, or ‘that by which is known’, or just ‘knowing’. The word ‘cāritra’–conduct–is ‘the doer of activity’, or ‘that by which activity is performed’, or just ‘activity’. One may argue that the above definitions treat the agent (kartā) and the instrument (karaṇa) as one; this is not true. It is a valid argument when, from a certain point of view, distinction is made between the transformer (pariṇāmī) and the transformation (pariṇāma). From another point of view, however, there is no distinction between the transformer (pariṇāmī) and the transformation (pariṇāma). For example, the statement, ‘the fire burns the fuel by its quality of burning’, stands scrutiny only when a distinction is made between the fire and its quality of burning. From another point of view, there is no difference between the fire and its quality of burning. Thus, employing the many-sided point of view–anekāntavāda–it is proper to speak of the substance (dravya) and its quality (guṇa) as same, as well as different.

Again, one may argue that knowledge (jñāna) must precede faith (darśana) on two counts: a) faith (darśana) is attained after acquisition of knowledge (jñāna), and b) (in Sanskrit) jñāna has less number of letters than darśana. To say that faith (darśana) is attained after acquisition of knowledge (jñāna) is not correct as the two–faith (darśana) and knowledge (jñāna)–are attained by the soul simultaneously. When the clouds disappear the heat and the light of the sun are manifested simultaneously. Similarly, when right faith is attained by the soul owing to the subsidence (upaśama), destruction (kṣaya) or destruction-cum-subsidence (kṣayopaśama) of the faith-deluding (darśanamohanīya) karmas, right sensory-knowledge (matijñāna) and right scriptural-knowledge (śrutajñāna) are attained at the same time due to the removal of wrong sensory-and scriptural-knowledge. Further, as a rule, what is venerable is placed before that of fewer letters. How is right faith venerable? It is venerable as only when right faith is there, knowledge acquires the attribute ‘right’. Knowledge is mentioned before conduct, for conduct issues from knowledge.

Release from all karmas–sarvakarmavipramokṣa [sarvakarmavipramokṣaḥ]–is liberation (mokṣa) and the method by which it can be attained is the ‘path’ (mārga). The sūtra uses singular ‘mārgaḥ’ to indicate that all three jointly–right faith or belief (samyagdarśana), right knowledge (samyagjñāna), and right conduct (samyakcārita)–constitute the path to liberation. This refutes the view that each of these singly constitutes the path to liberation. Hence it must be understood that all three–right faith or belief (samyagdarśana), right knowledge (samyagjñāna), and right conduct (samyakcārita)–jointly constitute the direct path to liberation.

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