What Is The Tattvartha Sutra

The Tattvartha Sutra is among the most ancient texts of Jainism and one of the foundational texts of the entire Jainist faith. It goes by another, somewhat telling name of the Moksha-shastra, which roughly translates to “scripture describing the path of liberation”.

An early authority on the faith and practices of Jainism, the text considers of exactly 350 sutras (an extended string of related aphorisms or sometimes even a single aphorism) across 10 chapters that was intended by the author, the acharya (a revered leader among Jainist ascetics) Umaswati, a pivotal figure in Jainism. Exactly when the book was written is a matter of conjecture, with speculation ranging from the 2nd century CE to the 5th century CE.

The text is written in Sanskrit and begins with a graceful invocation of higher powers. The theological underpinnings of the text begin with the seven categories of truth inside Jainist faith. A number of these seven categories of truth involve the idea of “karmic particles” which is something of an extremely crude translation of a Jainist idea focusing of a supernatural sort of physical substance that permeates the universe and is drawn to human souls when a human soul sins.

The soul in Jainism is seen as pure (indeed, the first of the seven categories of truth is the simple statement that souls exist), while karma is seen as an impurity in the soul and “karmic particles” are seen as uncountable motes of soul taint that drag the soul back in to the material world after death against its will.

In the seventh chapter of the book, Acharya Umaswati presents the Jaina. vows that encapsulate the core of the Jainist ethical system. While like all core concepts of any religion’s ethical systems the exact particulars of these ethics are complex and heavily debated, they do form an ideal that faithful followers of Jainism are expected to adhere to. Avoiding violence, theft, carnality, possessiveness and deception are all core concepts inside Jainist ethics, though different viewpoints of the specifics have been argued for centuries.

The final chapters discuss the nature of karma and rebirth and how one affects the other, as well as how a person’s actions in life change their karma and thus the nature of their rebirths. The tenth and last chapter describes the state of liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth, with the end goal of faith and adherence to Jainism leading towards souls reaching the end of the universe.

The following video will be sure to give you some more information on Jainism!

What is the Acaranga Sutra?

The Jain religion began over 2500 years ago in India. It was a way of living that would allow an individual to break free of karma and enter complete liberation. When followed, the Jain religion would cause a person to avoid having to reincarnate. The individual would enter kevala which is a similar state to nirvana in Buddism. Getting to this pure state requires sticking to a strict path of non-violence.

Its origins are somewhat hard to determine. There are four main teachers of this religions. The most recent one lived during the time of Buddha. He is known as Jina but he went by the name Vardhamana Mahavira or simply, Mahavira.

The Acharanga or acaranga Sutra was written around the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. It is the oldest agam and contains two Srutaskandhas or books. The second book is a treatise and was added to the first book to describe the ways of conduct in the ascetic life. The second book is made up of four sections or Kulas.

The acharanga covers ways to ask for food, a couch, a bowl, clothes and it also explains the penance of the Great Hero Mahavira. The codes of conduct include different postures, humility, traveling, quality of food eaten and spiritual studies. Other conduct that is explained includes principles of speech as well as the restraint of speech, mental thought, and physical actions. The books emphasize purity in all of these things.

These books are considered the earliest known writings on the rules and conduct for mendicant monks and nuns who observe the Shvetambara tradition. The first text was originally only given verbally for many centuries. It is believed that Mahavira gave this text orally to his disciples and the tradition took off from there. These teachings were systemized into 12 angas and then at the Council of Valabhi, the first few lessons of how to maintain vows as a mendicant were established.

There are many lessons on life and how it might end as well as how women should be treated within these books. For example, as to suicide, monks are told that they might become influenced by the cold. If this causes them to break their vows, they are essentially better off committing suicide. The contents of both books are, to this day, open to a lot of interpretation and contrasts between those who follow Jain and other religions are made freq.

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What is Svetambaras?

Svetambaras is associated with Jainism, and is one of the two main sects.

The other sect goes by the name “Digembara, who” and there are certain differences between both sects. Here is a deeper look into what the differences are and what defines Svetambaras.


Let’s begin with the history while understanding Svetambaras.

The tradition was founded by Acharya Sthulabhadra and saw various branches of the Vrahada Order. From the classical orders, the names Kharatara, Tristutik, and the Tapa stand out.

It was Vijayananda Suri of the Tapa order, which initiated a movement against wandering monks. This damaged the sect until Acharya Rajendrasuri put together the Tristutik order.

Sventambara monks have followed various traditions since the development with the use of white cloths over their face.

It’s important to note the Svetambaras also split into different “panths.” This began with the Lonka sect in the year of 1474 CE. This led to the Sthānakavāsī in 1653 CE. It wasn’t until a hundred years later, monks from the Svetambaras put together a panth called Terapanth.

At this point in time, the Svetambaras is split between Sthānakavāsī, Murtipujaka, and terapanth.


Svetambaras is a sect which sets its practice with wearing all-white clothing and avoiding nudity as seen with digembara.

Notable Points of Svetambaras

Let’s take a peek into some of the key differentiations between the Svetambaras and Digembaras. These differentiations are a clear distinction between the two sects in Jainism.

The Svetambaras do not accept the notion of omniscient beings as described by Digembaras. This is seen with their refusal to accept a saint who became kevali (omniscient). This means the saint didn’t require food to sustain himself and that is disagreed upon by the Svetambaras.

Another difference is seen in the liberation of woman. Digembaras believe a woman can only achieve moksha (liberation) when she is born again into a man. Until then, she is not able to meet this status. The Svetambaras do not hold this view and do believe women can achieve this status.

There is also a lot of emphasis on canonical literature in this sect meaning the Svetambaras hold their opinion on the twelve angas and sutras as being important.

The same applies to their understanding of Tirthankara Mallinatha, who they believe was a female. While the Digembaras hold the opposite view believing Tirthankara Mallinatha was a man. This leads to deviating understandings of the history of Jainism.

Who Are The Digambaras?

Digambara is a part of Jainism which is part of Hinduism. It is a word that means sky and directions. It actually refers to garments that those that practice this form of Hinduism will wear, representing the four different elements. What is odd about this word is that it is representative of Hindus that do not wear any clothing at all. They carry a broom, one that has peacock feathers, and that is specifically for the purpose of cleaning. They do have a container that contained water, and a book that has Scripture, but clothing is not an option. They were once called naked philosophers, and archaeology has shown that there was this great movement toward nudity centuries ago.

What Is A Digambaras?

Digambaras are those that follow Digambara. These are individuals that not only avoid clothing, but they avoid bathing as well. They practice nonviolence, and they only drink water from a gourd, eating food only once a day. The reason they do not bathe is that they actually believe that doing so would destroy organisms that are currently living in the water. Therefore, they have a high value for life of any kind, even that which is unseen, contributing to the activities that they do every day.

When Did This Start?

This apparently started back in the fourth century BCE. It was the result of the division which occurred at the Ganges. To separate sects decided to go their separate ways, with the Digambaras deciding to choose to no longer wear clothing. This observance of nudity became part of their culture and an integral part of their belief system. They also believe that a perfect saint within their religion does not actually need food to stay alive. They also believe that they should never be married and that women cannot progress unless they come back as a man. When you see depictions of them, not only are they naked, but they are always presented with downcast eyes. Much of what they believed was completely lost by the second century CE, and what we have today are the remnants of that belief system.

Today, those that follow Digambara Jains from India to California worship idols that are completely naked. They are considered to be omniscient beings that have achieved liberated souls, in those that are naked are representative of being stripped of every material bond, part of the path to reaching freedom and enlightenment.

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The Guide To Understanding The Namokar Mantra

The Namokar Mantra is one of the significant mantras in Jainism. This prayer is the first one that is recited by the Jains during meditation. This is done while the mantra is recited. There is no specific person or god recognized during the meditation.

While meditating, the devotee pays respect by bowing to the Supreme Five (the Panch Parameshti). They include:

The liberated souls (Siddha)
Those who destroyed the inimical karmas (Arihant)
The sages and monks around the world (Sadhu)
The Preceptors or spiritual leaders (Acharyas)
The Preceptor of ascetics less advanced (Upadhayaya)


These are the souls that are liberated. The souls are no longer with us in this realm because their complete cycle of birth and death has ended. This means they have reached the highest possible level, or state, of salvation. As a result, they do not have any karmas left, and they no longer connect new karmas. This true freedom is a state called Moksha.


This is a word that is made up of two smaller words. The first word, Ari, means enemies and hanta means enemy destroyer. However, these are not enemies in the physical world. Instead, these enemies are passions or inner desires like:


These are the inner enemies that are inside of all of us. Once a soul (person) is victorious over these inner desires, the soul is called Arihanta. Then, the Arihanta is able to destroy the four ghati karmas.

These karmas are Jnanavarniya, or knowledge blocking and Darshanavarniya, or perception blocking. The other two are Mohniya, or passion causing and Antaraya, or obstacle causing.


When householders become more detached from the worldly parts of their lives and gain a desire for spiritual growth, they give up the worldly lives, they become sadhvis (nuns) and sadhus (monks). It is at this time, the sadhu or sadhvi voluntarily decides to obey several major vows for the rest of their life.


These are the spiritual leaders and they spread the message of Jina. They must complete in-depth studies to achieve a high level of spiritual excellence. Acharyas also have the ability to lead sadhus and sadhvis.


This is the title given to sadhus who have gotten knowledge about the philosophical systems. They teach important Jain scriptures to nuns and monks.

These are the principles of the Namokar Mantra. The significance of this mantra is the level of spiritual excellence the devotee will acquire throughout time .

What is Parasparopagraho Jivanam?

Parasparopagraho Jivanam comes from ancient Sanskrit. The words when translated into English roughly means that ‘everything in life is connected and dependent on each other’. This philosophical religious style of thinking believes that everything is important, everything has a soul, even a microbe or a worm or a beetle, all the way up to human beings. Followers of Jainism believe that science should be achieved through the observation of the things that exist without disturbing them.

Modern science studies things by doing just the opposite which is disturbing them for the purpose of observing. Some people say that Jainism represents the earliest belief that there were unseen microorganisms that existed and has therefore been attached to the earliest beginnings of modern science. Of course, the big thing that stands between this philosophical religion and science is the belief that observation should be done without disturbing the nature of things.

Modern science believes that disturbing things and seeing what happens is the best way of progressing scientific knowledge. Most modern science prefers to see itself as disconnected from philosophy or religious thinking. Those who follow the ideas of Jainism typically stress the ideas and philosophy of nonviolence and protecting nature and the natural harmony that it has created.

Declaration Of Nature

According to one of the leaders of this philosophy, if someone fails to recognize the interconnectedness of vegetation, air, water, and fire, they fail to understand the fundamental truths about themselves and their surroundings. This philosophy believes that everything that exists is dependent on one another and for that reason when the nature around us is not cared for then we put ourselves in jeopardy.

Jainism Motto

The actual phrase Parasparopagraho Jivanam is considered the motto of this philosophy. The center of this philosophy is about the harmony of nature and the pursuit of non-violent acts and that motto is considered its epiphany. It is said that this motto has been adopted and accepted by all sects and versions of this philosophical pursuit.

Anyone claiming an understanding of this phrase will believe in the preservation of nature and the ways of those things and circumstances found in nature. To disturb the harmony of one thing is to disturb the harmony of all things. Caring for and protecting all things in nature is thought to be the path to caring for oneself.

This philosophical religion from India simply teaches to love nature. Understand that all things including people are interconnected with all other things. It teaches that everything from a microscopic organism to human beings are important.

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Jainism: The 5 Main Vows & What They Mean

Jainism is a non-theistic religion, meaning there isn’t any focus on a god or deity entity that gives laws from heaven. Jainism comes from India where it was founded sometime around the 6th century BC as a sort of “counter-reaction” to the orthodox teachings of brahmanism at the time. Jainism teaches that salvation occurs through a multi-life process of striving for perfection with a strong emphasis on giving no harm to living creatures.

The tenants of the Jain faith come from five main vows, often called the five abstinences or the five ascetics. If you want to understand the Jain faith then you need to understand these.

#1: The Vow of Ahimsa (Non-Violence)
The most important of the vows, and the cornerstone of Jainism, is the vow of non-violence. This refers to the cornerstone belief that no living being has a right to injure, harm, or kill any other living being. This includes everything living: insects, plants, & animals. They understand that it’s impossible to survive without killing or injuring some life, so the goal is minimum killing.

Violence means every type: mental, emotional, and psychological count and need to be avoided as much as physical violence. Even thinking or imagining harm towards someone is considered forbidden violence.

#2: The Vow of Satya (Truthfulness)
The vow of truthfulness doesn’t just mean never lying and avoiding deception, but it goes one step further to demanding of followers to have the courage to tell the truth and kindly correct falsehoods in the open, even if that can mean harm to oneself.

#3: The Vow of Asteya (Not Stealing)
The vow of not stealing goes hand in hand with the vow of truth. This not only means the basic of not taking property that isn’t yours or credit for something you didn’t do, but also having a realistic understanding of what you need versus what would be comfortable. When taking alms or donations, not stealing means taking only the minimum of what you need – not more to be comfortable.

#4: The Vow of Aparigraha (Non-Acquisition)
This vow starts with the idea that the more attachment to material forms of wealth you have, the more you will fall into sin. While material wealth and possessions are the main focus, on the high level with monks this even goes to pushing away from the pleasures of sensation, feelings, or even relationships.

#5: The Vow of Brahmacarya (Chaste Living)
In this case chaste living means the total and complete abstinence from sensual pleasure, including thoughts, as well as abstaining from the various pleasures of the senses which can mean music from the ears, spices for the taste, the beauty of a member of the opposite sex on the eyes, etc.

These are the main 5 vows of Jainism.

What Is Asceticism?

Have you ever heard of the term asceticism? This is a way of life, one that revolves around a very significant focus on self-discipline. It requires the practitioner to avoid any and all forms of indulgence, and though they claim not to be religious, it is often done for personal reasons. The most famous representation of an ascetic was the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, a man who founded the religion that we call Buddhism today. Instead of becoming a lawyer, he practiced asceticism before he received enlightenment in order to understand the nature of the world and universe. Let’s go over what asceticism is, what you can accomplish, and the different ways of going about this path toward achieving some form of spiritual enlightenment.

What Does An Ascetic Believe

Those that practice asceticism believe that by depriving yourself of the pleasures of the world, you can find deeper truths. There are a couple forms of asceticism which include natural asceticism which is a very simplistic way of life and unnatural asceticism which involves inflicting pain upon the body. In either case, the main focus of the ascetic is to move toward what they believe to be a spiritual transformation. This ideology has been found in many religions including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and even Taoism.

What Is The End Goal Of Asceticism?

The primary goal of asceticism is to become a better person, one that is not affected by the outside or external environment. We are all focused upon our lives, and what we can detect with our five senses, and the goal of the aesthetic is to not be controlled by the thoughts and impulses that your environment can provide. The primary goal is to ignore worldly pleasures, and embrace the spiritual world, from which these people believe they have originated from.

If you have ever wondered what asceticism is about, it really comes down to realizing your true nature. Through isolation, and denial of the world and all that it has to offer, you are able to connect with the universe. Another way of looking at the final result of asceticism is to awaken to your true nature. Either way, it is the goal of the practitioner to become a better person, and the only way that they believe that this can happen is to either experience suffering to a great degree or simply avoid interacting with worldly pleasures that are in your local environment.

Do you still find yourself asking what asceticism is? This video should have you covered!

What is the Concept of Aparigraha?

Aparigraha is a concept relating to the absence of possessiveness. This is one of the main virtues of Jainism. Aparigraha is the opposite of parigrah. Parigrah relates to keeping things or possessions because they are necessary.

One way to think of aparigraha is being aware of change in life. It is inevitable and it happens constantly. You may wish your children could remain babies, but you know that they must change and grow into adults. You yourself must grow older with every passing day. This is aparigraha -the living understanding that there is no way to hold on to anything including moments of time. There is no way to truly possess anything.

If you try to hold on to the past, for example, you can make yourself depressed or anguished. It is only by awakening to the lessons that come with letting go and not holding on that we find true peace.

As a word, it is closest to the Sanskrit word vairagya. This is the word for detachment. This is a path that India’s holy men take when they leave all worldly possessions behind and go on to live lives of austerity.

It is fine to possess material objects for the purpose of using them in life. For instance, owning a cup or a spoon has a use for one to feed oneself. However, it is the possession or hoarding of objects or things for the purpose of having more that becomes the antithesis of aparigraha. Respecting oneself and others as well as being aware of earthly needs is important but so is distinguishing those needs from wants.

There are physical needs but when the senses begin approaching desires for the sake of satisfying those desires there is a problem. This behavior leads to taking more than what is needed or to being dishonest or stealing from others.

The word can be broken down to mean grab or take. This is the essence of Graha. The pari refers to taking on all sides. The “a” negates these two words making the meaning of the whole word that of non-accumulation or detachment.

Many people who practice yoga will also practice Aparigraha as it is one of the Yamas. There are poses that help one to physically practice the art of non-attachment. The balance is found between taking and receiving as well as keeping and letting go.

The Guide To Understanding Anekantavada

The principle of Syadvada, or Anekantavada, is one of the most valuable contributions in Jainism to global thought. Also referred to as the Philosophy of Non-absolutism or the theory of Relatively, this doctrine proves to show us how to realize the many aspects of the truth.

Every Substance Has Many Distinct Aspects

Bhagavan Mahavira stated that every substance on Earth has an infinite number of qualities or attributes, and these qualities can be seen from many different angles. Similar to the many sides of a prism, or the two unique sides of a coin, a similar situation can be viewed differently depending on the viewpoint.

For example, a woman can be a mother of a daughter and a daughter of a mom. She can also be someone’s niece, sister, aunt, grandmother, sister-in-law, etc.

Another example is location. You may live in a state that is considered southern by those who live in the north, or the state could be considered west for those who live east.

As a result, every substance or situation should be viewed from different sides so the underlying truth can be realized in all of its aspects. This doctrine aims to help people understand things from a viewpoint of others. When a person ignores other angles of a situation or substance, he or she will never fully realize the truth in its many aspects.

How To Reach The Kingdom Of Truth

Anekantavada teaches that through diverse ways, the truth can be found. The doctrine also teaches that humans should never impose their thoughts, opinions or views on someone else. Instead, we should try to reconcile with these thoughts and views. Therefore, if this principle is practiced in earnest, we will be able to remove our selfish, biased and short-sighted viewpoint.

We should remove disharmony and discord from our lives and replace them with harmony and concord by tolerant not only in our lives, but also how we treat those around us.

Can Be Applied To All Parts Of Life

Through this principle, we can be shown how to respect differing opinions of everyone in the world. As free thinkers, we can appreciate this principle for being the cornerstone of many democracies around the globe without using drugs. Unity can be established during diversity. This Jainism principle also promises there will the reconciliation of conflicting thoughts, systems, religions and ideologies.

Therefore, it is considered a powerful instrument for peace around the world.

Anekantavada has considered every possible situation in life. It has analyzed these situations and has guided people towards the correct path.

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