Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

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

This page describes Rishabha’s sermon which is the fourteenth part of chapter III of the English translation of the Adisvara-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Adisvara (or Rishabha) in jainism is the first Tirthankara (Jina) and one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 14: Ṛṣabha’s sermon

By the power of the Lord of the Tīrtha, crores of crores of creatures were contained in this space of a yojana without crowding. The Lord delivered a sermon in speech extending for a yojana, touching every dialect,[1] possessing the thirty-five supernatural powers.[2]

“This saṃsāra is like burning charcoal, filled with a hundred flames of anxiety, disease, old age, and death for all creatures. Therefore, negligence is not in the least suitable for a wise man. Who, even though a child, is careless in crossing a wilderness at night? For those wandering here in the ocean of saṃsāra filled with a whirlpool of numerous birth-nuclei, a human birth is hard to attain, like a choice jewel. A human birth of creatures bears fruit quickly by the attainment of mokṣa,[3] like a tree by its desire to be touched by a woman at budding time. Pleasant only in the beginning, very cruel in course of time, in the end the objects of the senses deceive everybody, like the words of a rogue. Unions of all things in the womb of saṃsāra suffer separation finally, just as high places fall in the end. Life, money, and youth of creatures in this saṃsāra disappear very quickly, as if in rivalry with each other. In the four conditions of existence (gati) in saṃsāra, there is not a particle of pleasure, like sweet water in a desert. For instance, whence is there any happiness to hell-inhabitants who are tormented alternately by the fault of the place and by the demons? Whence is there any happiness to animals tormented in numerous ways by cold winds, heat, water, slaughter, captivity, hunger, etc.? Whence is there any happiness to humans nursed by discomforts caused by dwelling in the womb, birth, disease, old age, poverty, and death? There is not the least happiness even to gods because of the unhappiness produced by jealousy of each other, anger, quarreling, and falling from heaven. Nevertheless, again and again men creep toward saṃsāra from ignorance, like water trickling to a low place.

Therefore, you who are capable of emancipation, possessing understanding, do not nourish saṃsāra with this birth of yours, like a serpent with milk. After considering the many kinds of pain that arise from living in saṃsāra, struggle with your whole soul for mokṣa, you who have discernment. In mokṣa, contrary to saṃsāra, creatures certainly do not suffer pain arising from being in embryo, similar to the pain of hell. Pain arising from birth, resembling the pain of hell—inhabitants being dragged out of a jar, also is not produced in mokṣa. Mental anxieties and diseases like arrows, scattered inside and out, the cause of pain, do not exist there. In it there is never old age, the advance messenger of Kṛtānta, the thief of the wealth of splendor, the mother of dependence. There is no death, again the cause of wandering in birth, as there is of hell-inhabitants, animals, men, and gods. Moreover, in mokṣa there is great joy, happiness wonderful and imperishable, an eternal form and light, brilliant with the luster of omniscience.

Right Knowledge

Mokṣa is attained by those who practice unceasingly the brilliant triad of knowledge, faith, and conduct. Among these, exact knowledge which comes from a summary or detailed study of the principles, jīva, etc., is called ‘right-knowledge’ (samyag-jñāna). That is considered five-fold: mati, śruta, avadhi, manaḥparyāya, and kevala with their subordinate divisions. Matijñāna is said to be divided into avagraha, etc., and these again into bahu, etc.,[4] and originates by means of the senses, and by means of the mind. Śrutajñāna, several fold, must be known as characterized by the word syād,[5] made many fold by the Pūrvas, Aṅgas, Upāṅgas and Prakīrṇakas.[6] Avadhi is innate to gods and hell-inhabitants. Of others it is six-fold,[7] characterized by destruction and suppression. Manaḥparyaya is twofold: ṛju and vipula. The distinction between them may be understood to lie in purity and not being lost.[8] Kevalajñāna has as its sphere all substances and their modifications, perceives every thing, is infinite, one (i.e., undivided), and beyond the pale of the sense-organs.


Attachment to the principles told by the scriptures is called ‘right-belief’ (saṃyakśraddhāna=darśana), and is produced by intuition or instruction of a guru.[9] It is said that in creatures belonging to the whirlpool of existence without beginning or end, the duration of the karmas called knowledge-obscuring, belief-obscuring, feeling, and obstructive is thirty crores of crores of sāgaropamas; twenty of family and body-making, and seventy of deluding.[10] From the law of the rolling of a stone in a mountain-stream, all karmas gradually perish of their own accord from the realization of their fruit. After rooting up the duration of karmas for twenty-nine, nineteen, and sixty-nine crores of crores of sāgaras (respectively), creatures arrive at the stage of the granthi (knot) by means of the yathāpravṛttikaraṇa (see Notes on Karaṇa), when there is something less[11] than a crore of crores of sāgaras remaining.

The thought-activity (parīṇāma) of love and hate, hard to destroy, is called granthi, always very hard to cut, very firm as if of wood. Some, impelled by love, etc., are turned back again, like large ships near the shore struck by the wind. Right there others sit, from a different kind of thought-activity, like the waters of streams whose course is impeded by dry land. On the other hand, other creatures who are capable of emancipation, who are destined for mokṣa, having manifested a superior inner power, by means of the apūrvakaraṇa cross quickly the granthi, hard to cross, like travelers who have made a long journey crossing mountainous country.

The right-belief lasting for an antarmuhūrta which creatures in the four conditions of existence attain, having destroyed wrong-belief by anivṛttikaraṇa, the division being made,[12] that is called innate right-belief. But the right-belief of creatures here capable of emancipation which is dependent on the teaching of gurus, that is said to originate in external instruction. It is five-fold: aupaśamika (which arises from suppression of karma) 4 sāsvādana (which has just a flavor of right-belief); kṣayopaśamika (which arises from combined suppression and destruction of karma); vedya (feeling), and kṣāyika (which arises from destruction of karma). Of these, the aupaśamika arises at the first acquisition of right-belief by a creature whose knot of karma has been cut, and lasts for an antarmuhūrta. There is also a second aupaśamika,[13] produced by suppression of delusion, from the mounting of the upaśamaśreṇi by one whose delusion is suppressed. The right-belief-thought-activity, lasting six āvalis as maximum and one samaya as minimum, of the psychical condition of right-belief abandoned and wrong-belief present of a creature who has the worst degree of passions uprisen, is called sāsvādana.[14] The third, arising from combined destruction and suppression of wrong-belief, belongs to one who has thought-activity from the rising of right-belief-matter.[15] The right-belief of one who has ascended the kṣapakaśreṇi,[16] destruction of the worst type of passions having taken place, complete perishing of wrong-belief and mixed belief having taken place, who is approaching kṣāyika-right-belief, who is enjoying the last particle of (kṣayopaśamika)-right-belief, is called vedaka (vedya).[17] The fifth kind of right-belief, named kṣāyika,[18] belongs to a creature with pure psychical condition, who has destroyed the seven (prakṛtis).[19]

Right-belief is three-fold from the stand-point of qualities (guṇas), namely rocaka, dīpaka, and kāraka. In the case of a firm uprising of confidence in the principles described in the scriptures, without reason and illustration, that is rocaka. It is called dīpaka, when it is a light for right-belief for others; kāraka, when it is the cause of restraint, penance, etc. Moreover, right-belief is marked by five characteristics: equanimity, desire for emancipation, disgust with existence, compassion, belief in principles of truth. Equanimity (śama) is the non-rising of the worst degree of passions, either by nature or from the sight of the results of passions. It is called desire for emancipation (saṃvega) when there is disgust with the objects of the senses on the part of one meditating on the results of karma and the worthlessness of saṃsāra. This thought of the one desiring emancipation, “Dwelling in saṃsāra is like a prison; relatives are like bonds,” is called disgust with existence (nirveda). Tenderness of heart of the one seeing the misery of all creatures, those with one sense, etc., mired in the ocean of existence, pain at their pain, and activity as much as possible for the sake of aiding them, that is called compassion (anukampā). Confidence in the principles of the Arhats, even when hearing other principles, free from desire, is called belief in principles of truth (āstikya). When a creature acquires right-belief so described, at once the wrong sense-knowledge which formerly existed becomes sense-knowledge; the wrong knowledge of the scriptures becomes knowledge of the scriptures; wrong clairvoyant knowledge becomes clairvoyant knowledge.[20]


The abandonment of all censurable activities will lead to right-conduct (cāritra), known by its five divisions, the vow of non-injury, etc. Non-injury, truthfulness, honesty, chastity, and poverty, with five supporting clauses each, lead to mokṣa. The non-injury by negligence of living things movable and immovable, is considered the vow of non-injury (ahiṃsa). Speech, pleasant, wholesome, truthful, is called the vow of truthfulness (sūnṛta). That which is unpleasant and unbeneficial is not truthful, even though truthful. Not taking what is not given, that is called the vow of honesty (asteya). Wealth is the external breath of men. It is destroyed by one who takes it. The abandonment of divine and earthly loves by action, consent to action, or causing others to act, with reference to thought, speech, and body, is called the eighteen-fold chastity.[21] Poverty (aparigraha) is the abandonment of infatuation with all objects, since bewilderment of the mind would result from infatuation even with unreal things.

The twelve vows of the layman

The restraint of the senses with the whole soul is called cāritra.[22] It may be partial in laymen devoted to the yatidharmas. The roots of right-belief are the five lesser vows (aṇuvratas), the three meritorious vows (guṇavratas), and the four disciplinary vows (śikṣāvratas) of laymen. A wise person, who has seen lameness, leprosy, crookedness, etc.—the fruit of injury, free from sin, should resolutely avoid injury to all movable souls. When he has seen defectiveness in speech-organs, indistinct speaking, dumbness, month-disease—the fruit of falsehood, he should avoid falsehood, false statements about girls, etc. He should avoid lies about girls, cattle, ground, taking of deposits, and false witnessing—the five gross falsehoods. When he has known the fruit of stealing to be misfortune, servitude, slavery, loss of a limb, and poverty, he should avoid gross theft. When he has seen impotence and destruction of virility to be the fruit of unchastity, a wise man should be satisfied with his own wife and avoid the wives of others. When he has considered big enterprises—the fruit of delusion, causing dissatisfaction, inspiring lack of confidence, the cause of pain, he should limit his property.

When a limit is set in the ten directions[23] that can not be crossed, that is called digvirati, the first guṇavrata. The measure of objects of momentary and repeated use is the second guṇavrata, in which the number of objects of momentary and repeated use[24] is made according to ability. The abandonment of purposeless injury consisting in bad meditation—painful and evil, the teaching of evil conduct, the giving of assistance to injury, and careless conduct, in contrast to intentional injury to the body, etc., is the third guṇavrata.

Tranquillity for three-quarters of an hour of one who has abandoned painful and evil meditation, and has abandoned censurable activity is known as the sāmāyikavrata. The further limitation of the distance allowed in the digvrata, day and night, is called the deśāvakāśikavrata. The poṣadhavrata is the observance of the caturtha-fast, etc., on the four moon-days in the month,[25] abstention from wicked acts, chastity, and abandonment of business, bathing, etc. Giving fourfold food, utensils, clothes, and shelter to guests is called the atithisaṃvibhāga.

These three jewels must be unremittingly observed in full by monks, and also by laymen, in order to acquire mokṣa.”


Footnotes and references:


That is, every one—men and animals—could understand as if this speech were in his own language.


These are enumerated in Abhi. 1.65-71, and Sam. 35, p. 63.


This seems to be the meaning of paraloka here.


There are 4 sub-divisions of mati, ‘sense-knowledge.’ Avagraha is perception of something by the senses; ihā (or ūhā) is the desire to know more about it; avāya, finding out the fact in the case; dharana, remembered knowledge leading to recognition. The ‘bahu, etc.’ refers to 12 sub-divisions of each of these 4 classes: much, manifold, quick, not indicated, untaught, firm, and the opposites of these. See T. 1. 9 ff. O. of J. pp. 61 f.


See n. 4.


The Pūrvas have been lost and also the twelfth Aṅga to which they probably belonged. Eleven Aṅgas are extent, 12 Upāṅgas, 10 Prakīrṇakas. In addition to these, 6 Chedasūtras, 2 Sūtras and 4 Mūlasātras constitute the present accepted canon of the Svetāmbaras.


Avadhi is clairvoyant knowledge of physical objects. Its 6 sub-divisions are; 1) anānugāmika, it is extinguished if they change place; 2) ānugāmika, it is not extinguished; 3) hīyamānaka, in some its sphere of influence is greatly diminished or it disappears completely; 4) vardhamānaka, its sphere of influence increases greatly; 5) anavasthita, in some cases it is fluctuating or intermittent; 6) avasthita, constant and unfluctuating. T. 1. 23, com.


Manaḥparyaya is the power to read other persons’ thoughts. Vipula perceives the finest details of mental processes, and its possessor never loses it. The spelling °paryaya or °paryāya is used indiscriminately.


For saṃyaktva see T. 1. 1. ff. O. of J. p. 55.


These are maximum figures. Āyus is not given here, but it is 33 sāgaropamas. The minimum of feeling is 12 muhūrtas (one=48 min.); of family and body-making 8 muhūrtas; and of the others an antarmuhūrta. T. 8. 15-21.


Less than a palyopama less. K.G. II, p. 57a.


While engaged in anivṛttikaraṇa one makes a division of wrong-belief karma into that of short and long duration. K.G. II. P. 57b.


These 2 kinds of aupaśamika are very confusing. They are not connected. The first is the same mentioned a few lines earlier as being ‘innate.’ This occurs only once. The second aupaśamika may be lost and regained as many as 4 times. It may exist from the fourth to the eleventh guṇasthāna.


This exists only in second guṇasthāna.


This exists in guṇasthānas 4-11, and has a minimum duration of an antarmuhūrta, and a maximum of 66 + sāgaropamas.


This must refer to the ladder for destruction of darśana-mohanīyakarma, not caritramohanīya.


Some authors omit vedaka. It is the summit of kṣayopaśamika and the foundation of kṣayika. It lasts only 1 samaya, and a jīva possesses it only once. Its name is derived from the fact that in it one experiences the matter of right-belief. It belongs to guṇasthānas 4-7.


This is imperishable in reality, as even siddhas possess it, but so far as one birth is concerned its minimum duration is an antarmuhūrta and its maximum 33 + sāgaropamas. It may be acquired in any guṇasthāna from fourth to twelfth and lasts through the fourteenth. It can be attained only in a human birth, but may be retained in other births, as it is never lost. Furthermore, it can be attained only in Jinakāla, i.e., when it is possible for a Tīrthaṅkara to appear. For Bharatakṣetra this is in the third and fourth divisions of avasarpiṇī.


The 7 prakṛtis are the 3 darśanamohanīyakarmas and the worst degree of the 4 passions. See App. II.


Of the 5 kinds of knowledge described above, the first 3 may be wrong-knowledge.


There is a slight variation, which is also considered correct. Cf. H. of J.p.236. “One should have no dealings with gods, human beings, or animals of the opposite sex, should not encourage them, or cause others to do so, by speech, thought, or deed.”


The second and third chapters of Yog. deal with this in great detail.


Up and down, in addition to the usual eight.


The things of momentary use are such as food, drink, ointment, bath, and incense—things that can be used only once. Things of repeated use are such, as clothing, ornaments, beds, seats, vehicles, etc. Yog. 3. 5.


There are 4 sub-divisions of mati, ‘sense-knowledge.’ Avagraha is perception of something by the senses; ihā (or ūhā) is the desire to know more about it; avāya, finding out the fact in the case; dharana, remembered knowledge leading to recognition. The ‘bahu, etc.’ refers to 12 sub-divisions of each of these 4 classes: much, manifold, quick, not indicated, untaught, firm, and the opposites of these. See T. 1. 9 ff. O. of J. pp. 61 f.

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