Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This is the English translation of the Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (literally “The lives of the sixty-three illustrious People”), a Sanskrit epic poem written by Hemachandra in the twelfth century. The work relates the history and legends of important figures in the Jain faith. These 63 persons include: the twenty four tirthankaras , the t...

Notes on Dhyāna (meditation)

Sitadhyāna. The more usual term is śukladhyāna, the fourth meditation. There is an allusion, of course, to Candraprabha’s color, which is white.

Dhyāna is of four kinds; two evil and two good:

  1. ārta (painful),
  2. raudra (evil),
  3. dharma (pious),
  4. śukla (pure).

Each has four subdivisions as follows:

1. Ārta:

a) Thinking about unpleasant things and the desire to become free from them.
b) Thinking about disease, etc., and the desire to be free of them.
c) Thinking about the gaining of pleasant things and pleasant feelings.
d) Performing penance with the desire to be re-born as an Indra or cakravartin (called nidāna).

This dhyāna leads to animal-birth. It is characteristic of those in the first six guṇasthānas.

2. Raudra:

a) connected with hiṃsa,
b) with falsehood,
c) with theft,
d) with the acquisition of wealth.

This leads to a birth in hell. It is characteristic of those in the first five guṇasthānas.

For these two dhyānas, see Yog. 3. 73 ff., pp. 171 ff.; and T. 9. 29-36.

3. Dharma:

a) Ājñacintana, the teaching of the Jinas. It is twofold:

1) āgama, the literal teaching of the padārthas,
2) hetuvāda, the support of āgama by some other authority.

This definition is not very clear, but was explained as follows: all statements in āgama are not supported by any other authority; some must be taken on faith. When a statement is supported by something else, such as a reference to a book on medicine, or some illustration that might come under personal observation, then that is hetuvāda.

b) Apāyacintana, meditation on the difficulties arising from love, hate, and delusion.

c) Vipākacintana, meditation on the results of karma.

d) Saṃsthānacintana, meditation on the form of the universe, which has no beginning and no end, characterized by origination, continuance, and perishing.

Dharmadhyāna leads to heaven and to mokṣa. It is characteristic of those in guṇasthānas seven to twelve inclusive. See Yog. Chap, 10; Tri. 2. 3. 437 ff.; and T. 9. 37-38.

4. Śukla:

a) Nānātvaśrutavicāra (or pṛthaktvavitarkavicāra), meditation on substance (dravya) in its various aspects. Vitarka is śrutajñāna. Vicāra is the passing from one object, word, or activity, to another. At this stage, they may have all three activities—mind speech, body, or only one. (According to T., they have three.) This has a very slight beginning in the seventh guṇasthāna, but substantially begins in the eighth, and continues through the eleventh.

b) Aikyaśrutāvicāra (or ekatvavitarkāvicāra) has the sphere of only one modification (paryāya, i.e., origination, continuance, and perishing). Śrutajñāna is also employed here. There is only one activity, and there is no vicāra. It is developed in the twelfth guṇasthāna.

c) Sūkṣmakriyāpratipāti. Mind and voice activity have already been completely suppressed and coarse bodily activity also. Fine bodily activity, mere breathing, remains. This belongs to the thirteenth guṇasthāna.

d) Utsannakriyam apratipāti. All activity is completely suppressed. This belongs only to the kevalin in the fourteenth guṇasthāna who is in śaileśī. Śaileśī refers to the outward condition—complete absence of any movement. The fourteenth guṇasthāna, the fourth śukladhyāna and śaileśī are all practically synonymous. They last only long enough for the utterance of five short vowels (a, i, u, ṛ, ḷ).

Yog. Chap. ii. T, 9. 39-46.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: