Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Important terms in Jaina philosophy

Karman: Bits of material, generated by the person’s actions, that bind themselves to the life-monad or soul through many births. This has the effect of thwarting the full realization and freedom of the soul.

Kalpa: A world cycle. A period of time comprising 4,320,000 yrs. Pali-kappa is an endlessly long period of time. The metaphor is that of a piece of silk rubbed one on a solid piece of rock one cubic mile in size every 1000 yrs. When this wears the rock away, a kalpa has passed.

Jiva: “One who lives in the body,” a mortal being. The embodied self, which identifies with the mind as ego. It creates the notions of duality and causality and thereby becomes bound to the cycle of birth and death. It has been defined as a life-monad.

Ajiva: non-soul, inanimate substance. Ajiva is divided in two categories: non-sentient (i.e. a feeling being) material and non-sentient and non-material.

Moksha: liberation.

Kevala: state of omniscience. Kevala is necessarily accompanied by freedom from karmic obstruction by direct experience of the soul’s pure form, unblemished by its attachment of matter.

Ratnatraya: The basis of Jaina ethics. It comprises the right knowledge, right faith and right conduct. They must be cultivated at once. Right faith leads to calmness and tranquility, but right faith leads to perfection only when followed by right conduct. Knowledge without faith and conduct is futile. Right conduct is spontaneous, not a forced mechanical quality. Attainment of right conduct is a gradual process. The process to achieve this is ahimsa.

Ahimsa: Skt (non-harming) Jaina doctrine of non-violence. Since thought gives rise to action, non-violence of thought is more important than non-violence of action. It is also one of the five virtues in Raja-Yoga.

Pugdala: equivalent to matter.