The philosophy of Jainism is the subject of a large body of literature, but a great deal of it consists of standard summary reviews that are not sufficiently accurate to bring out the uniqueness of Jain thought. The core thesis of Jain philosophy is that of anekantavada, often rendered as "many-sidedness" for example. Such a rendering by itself fails to get to the unique contribution of the Jain positions, which is just that every serious account of the world contains elements of truth, but that any single linguistic expression must fail to comprehend all those partially true perspectives or viewpoints, not because those viewpoints are false, but because the complete truth is not consistently expressible in any natural language, since any such expression must necessarily involve contradictions. The Jain position leads to evident problems in assessing any of the philosophical thesis broached by a Jain-are we to take them as truth-claims, or as merely some among an indefinite incompatible ways of looking at the world? If the latter, how can the Jain saint have or gain knowledge-can he grasp collectively all the indefinite number of true theories? And if the former, what happens to the truths presumed to be contained in each of the incompatible alternative viewpoints? The works summarized in this Volume explore these questions and their possible answers.
Karl H. Potter
Karl H. Potter is Professor of philosophy and South Asian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and is the General Edition of the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Series containing 28 Volume.
Piotr Balcerowicz nationally
Piotr Balcerowicz of no nationally of no nationally (which he emphasizes) Professor of philosophy and Indian studies currently based in Warsaw Poland specializes in the Indian Philosophical tradition with emphasis on epistemological thought and Jainism. He teacher Indian philosophy and Indian religion as well as intercultural relations conflict resolution and contemporary history of India South Asia Central Asia and the Middle East. He has published extensively on Indian Philosophy and religion especially Jainism but also on the Middle East and Central Asia and Afghanistan Since 2002 he has been involved in various development Cooperation projects in Afghanistan Pakistan Burkina Faso and Burma /Myanmar.
I wish to begin by offering my profound thanks to Dalsukh Malvania, who over thirty years ago agreed to take on the onerous task of editing this first Volume of the Encyclopedia to be concerned with Jain philosophy. Unfortunately he was unable to complete the task, and Jay Soni has agreed to assist by writing the Introduction and providing expert advice. Shortcomings of this Volume should not, however, be ascribed to either Malvania or Soni; they are entirely my own.
Since it has recently been questioned, perhaps a word of explanation about the intended scope of coverage in Volumes of the Encyclopedia, which may go some way towards answering questions that may arise about the works chosen for summation in the present Volume. According to a policy that was announced in the very first edition of Volume One, the Bibliography is "intended to provide an account of works of Indian philosophical literature which are (1) of philosophical interest throughout; (2) theoretical rather than purely practical in their intended function, and (3) polemical or at least expository in a context where defence of one view among alternatives is appropriate." Readers of previous Volumes will appreciate that out of respect for those whose personal preference is for a given philosophical system I have refrained from using these strictures to preclude the appearance of favorite works which may not hew precisely to these three requirements. Some beloved works, for example, consist essentially of advice to the aspirant for liberation. To use the three requirements listed above to exclude such favored texts would have unduly offended those readers and made the Volume somewhat less useful to them. It seems thus wisest to exercise the policy stated above in a relaxed manner, enabling inclusion of borderline cases favored by the system's followers.
One or two words recapitulating my policies on a couple of matters. Standardization of translations of technical terms, which we have followed in this and previous Volumes, may cause the style of exposition to appear cramped and otherwise difficult to read; even possibly misleading renditions may occur in a few cases. The problem comes about as a result of the tension between two aims I have tried to follow, one to provide an accurate (although not always standard) rendition of the term where it occurs, and the other to use the same translation of the Sanskrit term throughout if this is at all possible. I apologize for any problems that may have been caused by my intentions in this matter.
In order to make the summaries less prolix I have followed a fairly strict policy in the present Volume (I have been working toward it in previous Volumes). The chosen English rendition of a technical Sanskrit term is given (in Sanskrit, not in Prakrit) at the first occurrence of that term. The Sanskrit term, and its chosen translation (or, in a limited number of cases, alternative translations) appear in the Glossary-Index, which should be used to remind the reader of the Sanskrit term, or range of terms, that is being rendered through the English word provided.
My thanks, once again, to Christine Keyt for her generous help in all sorts of matters having to do with this computer age, and for her assistance in making it possible to keep the Bibliography up to date and available through the Internet (at http://faculty.washington.edu/kpotter). Readers wishing to keep up with the literature on their favourite philosopher, school or topic are invited to avail themselves of this information.
What is Jainism? Jainism is a word derived from "Jaina" or "Jain", which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word jina, literally meaning "conqueror". In the Jaina tradition a jina is a unique human being who, through severe ascetic discipline, has conquered, overcome or broken the bonds of the passions which bind one to worldly life and values, and who teaches the basic doctrine of nonviolence. A jaina or Jain is one who follows this and other teachings of a jina, and for the ascetics, being a Jain means one who strives to lead a lifestyle on the model of a jina. Since the life and teachings of a jina serve as a bridge or ford (tirtha) to cross over beyond the stream of worldly existences, a jina is also called a maker of such a ford, a tirthankara. The Prakrit term niggantha (nirgrantha in Sanskrit), literally "free from bonds," was originally used to designate such a person and the ascetics of the tradition.
Jainism as it has survived to this day is traced back to the life and teachings of the jina Mahavira (literally, the "Great Hero"), whose given name was Vardhamana. However, in the Jain tradition Mahavira is not the only jina and his position and significance has to be seen in the light of the Jain conception of time. Time is seen as a wheel which beginninglessly and endlessly rotates of its own accord. The wheel of time has twelve spokes which represent the different eras of time on a cosmological scale, each era being made up of thousands of years. The twelve eras are divided into two equal half-periods of the downward motion (apcsarpini) and the upward motion (utsarpini) of the wheel of time, with six eras in each. According to the tradition twenty-four jinas are born as human beings in each half period of cosmological time, in the third and fourth eras of each. In the present downward motion of the time-wheel Vrsabha was the first and Mahavira, who was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha, the last jina. Scholars ascribe undoubted historicity to Mahavira and his predecessor Parsva, the twenty-third jina, who lived about 250 years earlier. It is in this sense that Mahavira is not the founder of Jainism, but rather a reformer who based his life and teachings on those of his predecessor (e.g., adding one more "great vow" to Parsva's four for the ascetics). Unlike the Buddhist view that the Buddha set in motion the law of beings and things with his first sermon as recorded in the famous Dharmacakrapravartanasutra, the Jains believe that the law of beings and things is eternal and has always been so, with Mahavira resuscitating the basic doctrines of the tradition.
A moot question is: In what sense can persons like Mahavira (or the Buddha or the Upanisadic thinkers) be regarded as philosophers? Nothing of what Mahavira taught (as with the Buddha too) is available in his original words, his life and teachings being redacted finally by others into a canon several centuries after his death. Even Mahavira's dates are a matter of debate, although there is clear evidence that Mahavira was the Buddha's contemporary, sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C.E. Mahavira can be regarded as a philosopher in the sense that his life, teachings, ideas and concepts moulded the philosophical activity of the thinkers in the tradition since then. Mahavira serves as a model not only for achieving the goal of enlightenment which he himself realized, the goal of nirvana or moksa which is common to Buddhism and Hinduism as well, but also as a model for insightful thinking about human nature, life and the world.
Everything that comes under the rubric of Jainism encompasses a vast area, because through the influence of. Mahavira and his teachings the Jains have made major contributions in all fields of learning ranging from philosophy to literature, from rules governing religious thought and practice to temple architecture. Jainism is an indigenous, inalienable and well represented part of Indian thought, of Indian art and literature, in short of Indian culture. This point is significant to note because, especially as far as the contribution of Jain philosophy is concerned, independent studies of specific themes are relatively few concerned to what has been done in Hinduism and Buddhism. Whereas it is impossible to deal with Jain philosophy in a vacuum and to fully comprehend its significance without recourse to corresponding developments in Buddhism and. Hinduism, the reverse is no less true. Several intricate philosophical problems remain obscure without an adequate understanding of Jain philosophy, e.g., the innumerable references to anekantavada, the famous doctrine of manifoldness, which is a small, albeit basic, part of Jain thought. One is led to ignore the fact that Jain philosophy has made other contributions apart from the syad- and naya-vada aspects of anekantavada, e.g., insightful deliberations concerning dravya, guna and paryaya (substance, quality and mode). This volume on Jainism will make it evident that throughout its history Jain thinkers have kept pace with equal developments in Buddhism and Hinduism.
Ontology and Metaphysics
Implicitly or explicitly, Jain thinkers trace back the inspiration for the source of their philosophical ideas ultimately to the essence of Mahavira's teachings, and the earliest sources for Mahavira’s ideas are the canonical works of the tradition, from which the thinkers drew. This is not the place to discuss the complex issue of the Jain canon. Suffice it to say that both the major groups of Jains, the Digambaras and the Svetambaras have groups of texts which they regarded as sacred because they contain Mahavira's basic teachings. These canonical works make laborious reading especially because of their repetitive nature (obviously based on an oral tradition); whatever is philosophically relevant in them has to be extracted out of a huge volume of material on a: wide range of topics, such as the conduct of the monks and nuns and general rules for ascetics. In other words, Mahavira's teachings are scattered over the canon in an unsystematic manner.
Whereas a systematic study of the philosophical elements in the works of the Jain canon is undoubtedly a fruitful undertaking, such a study will be a restricted endeavor insofar as one will be hard-pressed to link it to later philosophical activity. A case in point is anekantavada. This famous doctrine of manifoldness, often erroneously taken as a synonym for Jain philosophy as a whole, is based on Mahavira's method of seeing the truths concerning all objects of inquiry from particular standpoints or perspectives. Later thinkers developed this basic idea into an elaborated systematic theory in such a way that the link to the canonical works either becomes lost or is blurred. The case is similar to taking the works of Badarayana for Vedanta or Jaimini for Mimamsa as a source, instead of directly dealing with the Vedic texts for the development of the philosophy in the respective traditions. The question then is: are there comparable works in the Jaina tradition?
The first attempt to present Jain philosophy in the form of the classical Sanskrit sutras of the other schools of Indian philosophy was done by Umasvati (also called Umasvami) in his so-called pro-canonical work Tattvarthastra (also called Tattvarthadhigamasutra). Indeed, there have been early successful attempts to deal with Jain philosophy in a similar manner in the Prakrit language as well, for example, by Kundakunda and Siddhasena Divakara. There is no conclusive dating of these pioneer thinkers in the Jain tradition, the last of whom belonged to the fifth or sixth century CE. Summaries of their works are dealt with below in this volume; hence it is not necessary here to deal with Jain ontology arid metaphysics in detail in this Introduction. Rather, an attempt is being made here, with reference to Umasvati and Kundakunda, to deal with a basic problem related to these aspects of philosophy, namely, with the terms tattva and padartha which are used for both the basic ontological and the metaphysical categories. The first question is whether there are seven (Umasvati) or nine (Kundakunda) such categories.
Covering Jaina Philosophy from where Volume Ten left off toward the end of the tenth Century this Volume covers 355 woks of 99 Jain philosophers who lived between 1000 and 1300 A.D he of a number of a number of famous Jaina authors are covered in the list along with summaries of many of their works.
Piotr Balcerowicz on the Jaina theory viewpoints or perspective (Naya) which introduces this Volume shows how that theory. Set forth in the famous account of seven fold predication (Saptapadarthi) avoids skepticism contradiction or violation of the law of excluded middle while presenting a plausible if complex way of gauging reality.
The most significant and intriguing Jaina contribution to the Indian philosophical heritage is beyond doubt the theory of the multiple aspects of reality (Anekantavada) which is developed into a method of four standpoints (Niksepa, nyasa), of sevenfold modal description (saptabhangi syadvada), and the doctrine of viewpoints (naya), i.e., the sevenfold method of conditionally valid predications. At the same time no other Jaina concept has fanned so much controversy as the idea that one and the same sentence can be either true or false, which seems implied by the admission of the reality of these multiple aspects.
An ontological assumption underlying the theory of the multiple aspects of reality in general and the doctrine of viewpoints in particular consists in a belief which is supposed to defy all simplistic concepts of the real ranging from monism and eternalism (Advaita) to pluralism and momentariness tksanikavada), In other words, the world forms a multifaceted structure, every part of which enters into specific relations and interdependencies with other parts of the whole. Its make-up is complex enough to allow for a vast range of statements that can be asserted from various standpoints. The ontological framework is provided by the concept of substance (Dravya), which is characterized simultaneously by origination, continued existence and annihilation, insofar as it is endowed with qualities (gu1).a) and transient modes (Paryaya) as well as with directly experienced though verbally inexpressible momentary occurrences. Any truth-conducive analysis which is supposed to map the ontological structure onto an epistemological- conceptual framework should therefore take into account the individual ontological context and accompanying circumstances of any phenomenon or entity under examination.
This ontological assumption requires that truth should only be complete truth whereas incomplete truth would be but a misnomer for utter falsehood However limitations of practical dealings and verbal communication by necessity abstract any given thing or facet of reality from all its temporal spatial causal and other relations and emphasize but one aspect relevant to a given moment.
Due to the infinite manifoldness of interdependencies of aspects of the word, including various temporal and spatial perspectives as well as either as either universal or particular reference a vast ranges of Properties each of them being equally justified can be predicated of a given entity with equal right And that will lead eventually to seeming contradiction. The Jainas maintain that such contradictions that ensue from unconditional assertions standing in opposition to one another can be resolved when individual points of reference for each and every assertion are taken into consideration.
Given The Jains ontological assumption description of the epistemological level be complex each of such dichotomizing categories as big/ small Good /bad existent/ nonexistent true/ false etc. that are mutually related when dissociated from its opposite is false In other words each automatically entails its opposite but the model is not dialectical but rather assumes that there are multiple standpoints from which each category may be pertinent To correlate such individual partial standpoints is the task of the Jaina method of syadvada which systematizes possible arrangements of seemingly contradictory statements.
Interestingly enough, it is the model of perspectives (Naya) which the Jainas use to interpret and incorporate various philosophical theories or world views into a consistent holistic framework, instead of the doctrine of seven fold modal description (saptabhangi, syadvada). Numerous Jaina authors such as Akalanka, Siddhasena Divakara, Siddhasena Maharnati, and Mallisena correlated particular theories and views represented by particular thinkers and philosophical schools only under the Naya scheme.
On the other hand, the doctrine of seven-fold modal description (saptabhangi) is primarily discussed in three contexts: that of the triple nature of reality, which is believed to consist of origination, continuation and decay, that of the relation between the. universal and the particular, and that of the relationship between a substance and its properties/modes. Essentially, all the examples of the application of the doctrine of seven-fold modal description pertain to one and the same problem: how to relate the whole and its parts, the problem entailed by the question of the relation between permanence and change.
Due to multifaceted circumstances, any assertor sentence can only be relatively true Therefore all viewpoints with no exceptions are false views when strictly] related to their respective spheres (Paksa) however when understood] as mutually dependent, they become viewpoints conducive to truth Siddhasena, Divakara, Sanmatiprakarana 1.21 This relativity however, is not tantamount to professing skepticism and the Jainas are quite explicit about that.
The possibility of attaining truth is ensured jointly by the concept of comprehensive and consistence-based cognitive criteria (Pramana) and partial, aspect-qualified viewpoints as instrument of detailed examination. However, the existence of truth as such and the possibility that it can become the content (Visaya) of cognition is eventually warranted, according to Jaina belief, by omniscience (kevalajaana). The latter assumption led to such paradoxical contention as that ultimately truth consists of all false statements taken together (let there be ) prosperity to Jina’s words that are made of an amassment of false view that are conducive to immortality that are venerable and lead to the salvific happiness (Sanmatiprakarana ).
This relativity of every predication and the impossibility of uttering an unconditionally valid statement about reality could theoretically lead to two more beside skepticism different approaches On the one hand it could be (taken as )a reason good enough to dispense with the soundness of discursive thinking altogether and in this way it would embrace the negative approach of Nagarjuna and be reflected in the structure of the tetra lemma ( catuskoti) The dependent character of every notion and conceptual representation the ineffable and complex structuring of reality (Prapanca) as it is reflected in the rational and dichotomizing mind inescapably involves real contradictions Virodha and antinomies (Prasanga) On the other hand the result could as well be an all inclusive positive approach Two contradictory conclusions derived one and the same thesis do not have to falsify the initial thesis eg things arise from a cause and things do not arise from a cause do not have to unconditionally negate discourse about causality there is motion and there is no motion there is time there is part and a whole etc. such seemingly contradictory conclusion should make us only perceptive of the fact that they may and indeed do pertain to different contexts. This would be the Jaina approach.
Despite this the Jaina theory of anekantavada has frequently and undeservedly been blamed with disregarding the law of excluded middle or the law of non contradiction in a stronger or weaker sense. However one and the same sentence (P) when negated conditionally (i.e) with the particle Syat from a certain point of view) Yields not a contradictory statement (p) in the sense that when combined with the initial statement P is an application of the law of excluded middle (PV-P) but refers to a different context viz its points of reference of the two conjuncts is different.
Jaina realism has it that even images in a dream are not purely figments of our conceptualization but have some kind of objective basis and rational justification by the same token our statements pertaining to reality are claimed by the Jainas to possess some truth however the infinity of ontological correlations can in no way be reflected in our language due it inherent limitations (Avadharana) That is way a range of utterances articulated about one and the same object seemingly sanding in contradiction to each other may be consistent taking its varios contexts and ramifications into consideration.
The way we deal with cognized objects is reflected in the Jaina Scheme of Nayas and this takes Place on the conceptual (Svadhigama Jnanatmaka verbal (Paradhigama ) Vacanatmaka jnanatmaka (Paradhigaama Vacanatmaka ) and practical (Vyavahara) Level since all these three are interconnected. A set of conditionally valid viewpoints was not only considered an ancillary theoretical device subordinate to the theory multiplicity of reality and was supposed to corroborate the latter but from the very beginning of Jaina epistemology it coexisted with cognitive criteria (Pramana ) as an alternative epistemic instrument All states of al Substances that are comprehended by means of all cognitive criteria are (equally) capable of being predicated of by means of all (conditionally valid) viewpoints in a detailed manner (Uttaradhyanasutra 28-24)
Here we clearly find a conviction that given utterance functions within its given individual context and it is only within the confines delineated by this context that the sentence retains its veracity. The viewpoints (Naya) organize the world of our practical dealings and within their sphere of practical application they help us determine the truth value of a proposition by way of its contextualization within a given universe of conceivable points of reference. They are not supposed to contribute anything new to our Knowledge as Akalanka declares (at Tattvarthikavarttika on 1.6) Application of viewpoints with regard to things cognized by means of cognitive criteria is the basis of every day practice Accordingly the Nayas only selectively (Vikaladesa) arrange comprehensive Data material already acquired acquired.
Thus Pramanas serve as criteria of validity and reliability of our cognitions and are expected to ensure the acquisition of truth whereas the viewpoints are an attempt to contextualize any given utterance and determine in which sense it asserts truth.
The assumption of the manifold character of reality in which thing relate to each other by an infinite number of relations can be viewed from infinite an angles as well as reflected in our language infinity of interrelations corresponds to a theoretically infinite number of predications each retaining its validity only conditionally viz restricted to its particular perspective.
Volume Seventeen concludes the series of the Encyclopedia dealing with jain philosophy (Volumes 10, 14 and 17) bringing its development to the present day. In his Introduction, Piotr Balcerowicz provides a formalized classification of the basics of the Jain theory of seven-fold modal description (saptabhangi or syadvada), which, as he explains. "gives a complete account of all perspectives relevant in the verbal description of a thing."
A contribution of Jainism to Indian philosophy which seems most stimulating, inspiring, debated and controversial, one which provoked the most opposition from other systems of India, is beyond doubt the doctrine of multiplexity of reality (anekantavada). Indisputably it is also the most interesting Jaina contribution to Indian philosophy. The doctrine involved both a very particular realist' ontology as well as a corresponding epistemology that was structured in such a way as to most aptly handle certain ontological presuppositions.
The Jaina ontology entailed by the doctrine of multiplexity of reality (anekantavada) viewed the world structure as consisting of four interrelated aspects: substance (dravya), quality (guna), mode (paryaya) and ineffable, transient occurrence (vivarta, vartana, often overlooked in both Jaina expositions of the theory and in analyses carried out by modem researchers). However, the point to emphasise is that things, especially when conceived as substances, were believed to preserve their identity and in this aspect they were immutable and permanent. At the same time, however, when conceived as modes, they appeared to change and transform continuously. This seemed to have led to contradictions in ontology. Besides, in order to explain the process of change, Jaina ontology also distinguished three modes of existence that actually co-existed: origination (utpada, udaya), continued existence (sthiti, dhrauvya) and cessation, or disintegration (bhanga, vyaya, apavarga). These four closely corresponded to the Buddhist Sarvastivada's and Abhidhama's four (or three) conditioned factors, known as 'markers' (samskrtalaksana) - origination (utpada), continuity (sthiti), deterioration (jara, vyaya) and extinction (bhanga, nirodha) - or second-order elementary constituents of reality (dharma) that were believed to attach themselves to every other first-order elementary constituent of reality 'marked' (laksya) by them and thereby determined in its momentary existence (ksanika).
The emphasis (which gradually became more pronounced after the second and third centuries CE) of Jaina ontology on both permanence and imperishability of substances, worked out against the Buddhist theories of momentariness (Ksanikavada) and insubstantiality (nairatmya, nihsvabhavata), as well as constant mutability and change of substances in form and occurrence, developed in contrast to the theory of the immutable substance of the Vaisesika, seemed to lead to a contradiction: how to reconcile the idea of a permanent substance with its incessant mutability? Both the dual nature of things and a solution of the paradox was expressed by Umasvamin (c. 350-400) in Tattvarthasutra 5.29-31:
 The existent is furnished with origination, annihilation and permanence.  It is indestructible in its essentiality, i.e. permanent.  [The existent is both], because [it is] established as having emphasized [property] and not-emphasized [property].
The conviction that world substances, and their qualities, modes and transient occurrences cannot even be conceived to exist entirely independently as if separated from other elements, and that they all simultaneously originate, are endowed with continued existence and disintegrate in every moment again and again while at the same time preserving their integrity and self-identity, led further to a belief that the world is a complex network within which all the existents are related with all the remaining ones and that their essential character and nature is not only determined by what is in .things themselves but also by all the relations in which they enter vis-a-vis all other existents.
Originally ontological or metaphysical considerations eventually led to the exuberant development of a corresponding epistemology, which ultimately involved what came to be known as the theory of multiplexity of reality (anekantavada), that comprised three analytical methods: the method (historically the oldest) of the four standpoints (niksepavada, nyasavada), the (usually) sevenfold method of conditionally valid predications, known as the doctrine of viewpoints (naya- vada) , and the method of the seven-fold modal description (saptabhagi, syadvada).
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend