The Jaina References in the Buddhist Literature

Kamta Prasad Jain

The Indian Historical Quarterly

Vol.II, No.4, 1926.12

pp. 698-709

p. 698 The Buddhist literature contains many important and use ful references to Jainism, some of which are as follows: Let us examine first the Digha Nikaya (Dialogues of Buddha--S.B.B.). In its Kassapa Sihanada Sutta a set of ascetic practices is given and it is said about it that the practices given are "accounted in the opinion of some Samanas and Brahmannas, as Samanaship and Brahmanaship." Rhys Davids ascribes them to the Ajivika recluses. A similar list of ascetic practices is also given in the Majjhima Nikaya as 36 and Prof. H. Jacobi thinks them to be the usages of the Acelaka recluses whom he recognises as the followers of Makkhali Gosala and his two predecessors (Jaina Sutras, II, xxxi). But now it is a known fact that the followers of Makkhali Gosala were styled Ajivikas and those of Parana Kassapa Acelakas (ERE., vol.I). Most probably the word 'Acelaka' was used at that time in a general sense in the same way as the word 'Sramana', because we find the Jaina recluses mentioned as 'Acelakas' in the Buddhist literature (e.g. Patika Sutta, D.N., Acela Patikaputta was a Jaina). The Jaina recluses styled themselves with this epithet in the Jaina Sastras, as we shall see below. Consequently the above-mentioned ascetic practices could not be ascribed to the Acelakas, for they were not the followers of Makkhali Gosala or of any other teacher. We can however take them as those of the Jaina recluses, because the Jainas are known in their Sastras by the epithet 'Acelaka' and because the above practices coincide with those given for them in their Sastras. In this event these practices could hardly be assigned to the Ajivikas. Obviously in doing so, there remains another diffculty as well, namely that the Ajivikas of Buddha's time were not all strict vegetarians. (See Jataka, I, p.390 and Jaina Sutras, II, p.409); and the ascetic practices referred to above put forth p. 699 vegetarianism to be practised by its adherents. Hence it seems improbable that they can be ascribed to the Ajlvikas. Probably they have been intended for the Niggantha samanas (Jaina monks) of Buddha's time. A comparative treatment of them along with the rules of Jaina Munis as given in the Jaina Sastras will convince the reader that they are really meant for the Jaina Munis. Now the very first practice given in the above mention ed list of the Buddhist Sutta is: "He goes naked." Of course today there is a dissension in the Jaina church on this point. The Digambaras agree while the Svetambaras raise their voice agsinst it. But leaving the apparent dissension aside, we come straight to the respective Canons of both the sects. For the Digambaras it is no matter of disagree ment. Their earliest authority can be cited in its support. Kundakundacarya of the first century A.D. describes it as an essential duty of' the Jaina recluse (See Pravacanasara, Pt.III). Another reliable authority is that of the Mulacara of Acarya Battakera. He, too, describes this practice as one out of the 28 root-characteristics or essential duties (Mula Gunas) of a Jaina Muni and describes it in the following way: "Vatthajinavakkena ya ahava pattaina asamvaranam, Nibbhusanam niggantham accelakkam jagadi pujjam." 30. "A bodily state, void of all garments of hemp and hair, of grass, bark, and leaves and clear of every ornament and covering of decency, i.e. a stark naked state and the heart free from every knot of anger, deceit, etc. is said to be the worshippable Acelaka-ship or nakedness." In the Svetambara Canons, we find also the nakedness to be the feature of a Jaina recluse. In the eighth chapter of their Acaranga Sutra, it is styled the 'highest state' of a recluse (Jaina Sutras, I, p.56). A naked sadhu is called "Jinakalpi" in the 'Pravacana saroddhara Prakarana-ratnakara' (Bhimsingh Manekji's edi tion, p.134). But this division of Jaina Munis into Jinakalpi p. 700 and Sthavira-kalpi seems not to have been expressed clearly in their older and authentic books, Angas, etc. So it is open to doubt whether it was raised in a later and more self-conscious period. In their Acaranga Sutra there is given a course of practices for attaining the status of a Jaina. Muni, somewhat similar to that of Digam bara Sastras. The author of the Acaranga, Sutra first describes the highest order of nakedness; then passing on to various other rules, he comes again to the attire of a Jaina Muni. Here he describes a gradual mode of renunciation for a would-be Jaina Muni. Naturally it is not at all possible that a householder would adopt the naked state of a Jaina Muni all on a sudden. The summit could be reached by gradual steps only. Hence the Svetambara author, too, first allows a novice, "aspiring to freedom from bonds," to keep on three clothes only (see Jaina Sutra, pt. I, p.69). Then he exhorts him gradually to keep on two clothes and then one or none (Ibid., p.71). Now it is quite clear here that the Svetambara author tries to alter a gradual course to suit his conceptions; otherwise he would have prescribed nakedness as the last compulsory rule. In their "Uttaradhya yanasutra' a clear evidence of the kind is discernible, for we find in it its sixth and seventh chapters styled "khudda ganiyanthijjam" (ksullaka-nirgrapthiyam) and "Ailayam" respectively, though the interpretation of these is not the same there as accepted by the Digambaras. Still it is enough to infer that the writer of this Svetambara Sutra was quite aware of the older form and meaning of these two words, which are found in the Digambara Sastras in their original form and meaning as we shall see below. Hence it is safe to assume that the attire of the Jain Munis originally was a naked state of nature. The Buddhist [Divya vadana, p.165; Jataka Mala (S.B.B.), vol.I, p.145; Dham mapadatthakatha, (PTS.), Visakhavatthu, vol.I, pt.II, p.384; Dialogues of Buddha, iii, 14; Mahavagga, 8, 1; 5, 3; 1, 38, 16; Cullavagga, 8, 28, 3; Samyutta Nikaya 2, 3, 10, 7, p. 701 and Dhammapada, p.3] and Brahmanical(Rgveda, x, 136; Varahamihira-Samhita, 19-61, 45-58; Mahabharata 3, 26-27, Ramayana, Balakanda, Bhusana Tika, 14-22) evidences too support the view of the Digambara Jaina Sastras inasmuch as the apparent attire of a Jaina Muni is being upheld by them as nakedness. The Digambara Sastras describe the preparatory course of renunciation thus: A would-be Muni (Udasina Sravaka) in the preliminary stages of development keeps on at first three clothes; and as he makes progress on the path he diminishes his wants and keeps only two and then one garment only, i.e. loin-cloth. The latter are called the 'Sravakas of the highest stage' (Uttama Sravaka), and they are also known as Ksullaka and Ailaka. In the Bud dhist literature, we have the mention of these Sravakas in their similar synonyms as the Digambaras say, i.e. "Eka-vastra- dharin" and "white-clothed" ones (Ind. Ant., 43). A later Buddhist commentator, Buddhaghosa, styles them "Munda Savakas'' (Udasina sravaka), "Nigganthas" (Uttama sravaka) and "Better Nigganthas" (Naked Muni) (Dial. of Buddha, S.B.B., Intro. and Fausboll's Dhammapada, p.398). I should here point out that the word "Niggantha'' is not used always in the Buddhist literature in the sense of a Jaina Muni, At times me find it used even for a vowless Jaina householder (see my book "Buddha and Mahavira''). It seems that it was used at the time of Buddha in the same sense as the word "Jaina" is being used nowadays and the ''Arhat" was used for the Jainas during mediaval times. Along with the Buddhist literature, the mention of the Jaina Muni in the Brahmanical literature, too, is in the shape of 'vivasana,' 'dig-vasa,' etc. (see "Vira" vol.II) which also supports our view that the ancient attire of the Jaina Munis was nakedness, as is still adhered to by the Munis of the Digambara sect of the Jainas. Thus we find that in both the sects of the Jaina naked- ness, which was the ancient attire of Jaina Munis, is accepted as an object of worship for the laity and as an essential mark p. 702 of the Samanaship, though, of course, the Svetambara school has now altered it to fit its own conceptions; but in the earliest portion of their Acaranga Sutra it is highly spoken of in its old sense. In this way, we find that the first rule of the Buddhist book referred to coincides with that of the Jaina Munis. In the similar way, the rest of the practices can be traced in the daily routine of a Jaina Muni: Buddhist Jaina 2. He is of loose habits 2. This constitutes the (performing his bodily 24th (non-bathing), 26th functions and eating in a (non-brushing of and 27th standing posture,not teeth) (taking meal in a standing crouching down as well-bred posture) Mulagunas of a people do). Jaina muni. See Mulacara 31-33. 3. He licks his hands 3. It is known that a clean, etc.(after eating; Jaina Muni takes food in and not washing them as the hollows of his hands well-bred people do). and takes the food thus placed without taking it into morsels and turning it from jaw to jaw (see also Jaina Sutra, I, 57) The Buddhist author seems to point here to this practice. 4. (When on his rounds for 4. It is described in full alms if politely requested in the commentary on Esaga to step aside etc.), he Samiti in Mulacara viz. passes steadily on?... 'Bhiksavelayam jnatva prasante dhumausaladisabde gocaram pravisen munih tatra gacchann atidrutam, na mandam, na vilambitam gacchet, 121. 5. He refuses to accept 5. In Esana Samiti the recluse food brought (to him, is allowed to take only pure before he has started on food void of 46 dosas (defile- his daily round of alms). ments) and in procuring it he will not have concern of mind, speech and body. It must not be specially prepared for him. So he accepts not food brought to him (M. Gatha 13). p. 703 6. He refuses.,.food (if 6. In it, too, as the Karita told it has been specially and Anumodana dosas are prepared for him). apparent, it is Auddesika food. 7. He refuses to accept 7. The same is the case here. any invitation, etc. 8. He will not accept 8. It is Sthapita or Nyasta (food taken) from the dosa mouth of the pot or pan, etc. 9. (He will) not (accept) 9-10. These are Praduskara food placed within the dosa. threshold, etc. 10. He will not (accept food) placed within the sticks, etc. 11. (He will) not (accept 11. It is the Unmisra Asana food) placed within the dosa pestle, etc. 12. When two persons are 12. It is Anisvara eating together he will Vyaktavyakta Anisartha not accept.... ......if Dosa. offered to him by only one of the two. 13. He will not accept 13-14. These are described food from a woman suckling among the 35 Dayaka Asana baby etc. dosas. 14. He will not accept food from a woman talking with, etc. 15. He will not accept 15. It is Abhighata Udgama food dosa. drought. 16. He will not accept 16. It is Dasaka dosa (see food where a dog is also Jaina-Sutras). standing. 17. He will not accept 17. Prani jantu vadha food where flies are dosa. swarming by. 18. He will not accept 18. It requires no fish, nor meat, nor strong corroboration: "Khira dahi drink, nor intoxicants, sappi tela guda lava nanam etc. ca jam pariccayanam. Titta-kafu-kasayam vilamadhurarasanam ca jam cayanam 155. Chattari mahaviyadi ya honti navanida majja mamsa madhu. Kankhapasamgadappasam- jama kariyo edao. 156. p. 704 19. He is a "One-houser" 19. It is the Vratapari- etc. sankhyata Practice 20. He takes lood only 20. It is the Sakanksana- once a day or once every ksana Vrata. two days, etc Thus the very first reference in the Buddhist book to the Jainas is of great importance and it gives a more reliable and accurato evidence about the very vexed question of the Jaina Church i.e. the attire of ancient Jaina Munis. It makes it clear that it was "Digambara" or "Acclaka". The next reference noteworthy in the aferementioned Buddhist book is to the Catuyama Samvara of Jaina Munis. It is deseribed in the following way in the Saman naphala Sutta: A Nigantha, O king, is restrained with a fourfold self-restraint He lives restrained as regards all water; restrained as regards all evil; all evil has he washed away; and he lives suffused with the sense of evil held at bay. Such is the fourfold restraint. And since he is thus tied with this fourfold bond. therefore is he, the Nigantho (free from bonds). called Gatatto (whose heart has gone, that is to the summit, to the attainment of his aim). Yatatto (whose heart is kept down i. e. is under command. Commenting on this the learned translator remarks that the series of riddles in this diffcult passage is probably intended to be an ironical imitation of the Nigantha's way of talking." Gogerly has caught the general sense fairly enough, but his version is very free, and wrong as to two of the words. and it gives no idea of the oracular form in which the Original is Couched. Burnouf's rendering is quite wide of the mark. The first of the 'Four Restraints' is a well-known rule of the Jainas, not to drink cold water on the ground that there are souls' in it (see the discussion in the Milinda Panka, II, 85-91). Professor Jacobi (Jaini Sutras, II, xxiii) thinks "the 'four Restraints' are intended to represent the four vows kept by the fellowers of Parsva. But this surely cannot be so, for these vows were quite different." So let us see, what did the Buddhist authors mean by this p. 705 'Fourfold Restraint'. We know that the advantages of the life of a Jaina Muni are discussed herein. Hence it has con cern with the mode of their life. Knowing this we should explore, if any corresponding assertion is traceable in this connection in the Jaina sastras. Fortunately we easily find such a passage in the Ratnakarndaka of Sri Samantabhadra Svami of the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. He defines a Jaina recluse thus: "Visayasavasatito nirarambho 'parigrahah, Jnanadhyanataporatnas tapasvi sa prasasyate" 10. Herein, too, the fourfold characteristics of a Jaina recluse are given. He should be void of all passion and desires (visayesu sragvanitadisv asa askanksa tasya vasam adhinata; tadatito visayakanksarahitah), should keep himself aloof from all kinds of traffic ('nirarambhah' parityaktakrsyadivyaparah), should wipe off all 'parigrahas' ('aparigraho bahyabhyantara parigraharahitah) and remain absorbed in knowledge and meditation of Self. (jnanadhyanataporatnah' jnanadhyana tapamsy eva ratnani yasya etadgunavisisto yah sa tapasvi guruh 'prasasyate' slaghyate). Comparing this with the fourfold restraint described ill the Buddhist book, of course, we find no particular difference whatsoever. The Buddhist author at the outset says that 'he lives restrained as regards all water.' Now if you take its true sense, it means that a Jaina Muni keeps himself quite aloof from every kind of traffic. He could not himself take even the water for his use, which is a very essential thing for the upkeep of our daily life. This could he said in other words that a Jaina Muhi is quite 'Nirarambhi.' Here perhaps, it might be objected that the Buddhist author has not described this in clear words and as such it is doubtful to take his meaning in the above way. But I would explain this reason of writing in a riddle form, i.e., the Buddhist authtor meant to imitate the Tirthankara's way of talking (Divya Dhvani) in an ironical fashion; and hence he is scarcely quite clear. This points to the Jaina p. 706 belief that a Tirthankara's speech is understood by all, because one 'Magadha Deva' interprets it in such a way that every creature present at the auspicious occasion easily grasps its meaning. Besides it that the restraint of water is really intended to point the 'Nirarambha' condition of a Jaina Muni is apparent from the fact that taking water for use is a work of a householder, who does not observe the Ahimsa vow in full. Svami Battakera confirms this view, while describing the 'Pindasuddhi' or observances in connection with food. In the gatha "Adhakammuddesiya ajhovajheya etc.'' the Acarya first makes this clear that the Udagama dosas are concerned with "'Adhakarma" i.e. activities of a layman in arranging for pulling oneself on as a true householder. Hence this 'adhahakarma' has connection with the layman only. The Muni will have nothing to do with his doings, because it is said that in exerting after the worldly business or in procuring water, food, etc. the six kinds of living organs are destroyed. And a Jaina Muni is under vow that he will never cause hurt to any living being by mind, speech and body. So the Adhahakarma i.e. acquiring and arranging food, water etc. rests entirely on an Asamyami (vowless) host. The Samyami (Muni) would have no concern with it. Consequently by referring to the restraint of water, the Buddhist author did mean nothing but the 'Nirarambha'' condition of the Jaina Muni, as is denoted in the above Jaina sloka as a characteristic of a Jaina Muni. Next to it, tile Buddhist author says that 'He (Jaina Muni) lives restrained as regards all evil.' This restraint is quite in agreement with the first assertion of Sri Samanta bhadra, that the Jaina Muni is void of passions and desires, which are the sole causes of sin. Hence he lives restrained as regards all evil. Further on, the Buddhist author says that the Jaina Muni has washed away all evil. Being void of all sins, all evil he would naturally wash away. The third mark of distinction in the above Jaina sloka is of the same meaning; i.e. 'A parigraha.' Outer and inner, p. 707 both kinds of Parigraha, has he washed away. Outer 'Pari graha' is nothing but clothes, house, money, relations, etc.; and the worldly cravings, infatuations, passions, etc. are the inner 'Parigrahas'. These both a Jaina Muni keeps away from him. Lastly the Buddhist author says that 'He lives suffused with the sense of evil held at bay.' Similar is the last assertion of the Jaina Acarya with regard to the mode of life of a Jaina Muni. He says, the Jaina Muni remains absorbed in the knowledge and meditation of Self, which means, in other words, that he is self-suffused and no evil can touch him. In this way we find the explanation of the 'Catuyama Samvara' of a Jaina Muni; and the meaning of this difficult passage of the Buddhist book is quite clear from it. This surely does not refer to the four vows of Parsva. If there remains anything in this connection then it is but the words 'Gatatto, ' 'Yatatto' and 'Thitatto.' Of course the identical synonyms for them have not come to my notice so far in the Jaina Sastras, but the meaning of them could be traced in the Jaina Sastras.(1) The following assertions of the Istopadesa of Sri Pujya Pada also denote the same fact: Abhavac cittaviksepa ekante tattvasamsthitih. Abhysyed abhiyogena yogi tattvam nijatmanah 26. "He in whose mind no disturbances occur and who is established in the knowledge of the self such an ascetic should engage himself diligently in the contemplation of his soul, in a lonely place." Bruvann api hi na vrute gacchann api na gacchati, Sthirikrtatmatattvas tu pasyann api na pasyati. 41 Kim idam kidrsam kasya kasmat kvety avisesayan, Svadeham api navaiti yogi yogaparayanah. 42. "He who has firmly established himself in the knowledge of the self such a one does not speak while speaking, does not move while moving and does not see while seeing. The ascetic immersed in the --------------------- 1. See the Pravancanasara (5, 6, 42) of Sri Kundakunda Acacaa of the 1st century A.D. p. 708 process of self-realisation has no awareness of even his body, being undisturbed by questions such as what is the soul? What is its nature? Who is its master? From whom is it derived? Where does it reside? and the like.--(Discourse Divine). From these it is clear that the meaning of the words used by the Buddhist author are traceable in the Jaina Sastras. And it is most probable that the Jaina Munis were known by these special epithets at that time. The next reference in the 'Dialogues'; to which I would draw the attention of the reader is the ancient view of a soul in the form of 'Eternalists.' The Buddhist author there expresses the ancient view of the soul. He says that there are sophists who, having recollection of the previous births and dwelling places, etc. declare the eternity of the soul. These he divides into three according to the degree of recollection of previous births. The fourth group of upholders of this very view about the eternity of the soul are said to have reached to this belief by argumentations. All these four kinds of sophists are described to hold that the soul is eternal and the world is giving birth to nothing new, is steadfast as a mountain peak, as a pillar firmly fixed; and these living creatures though they transmigrate and pass away, fall from one state of existence and spring up in another, yet they are for ever and ever. Now though in connection with these beliefs the Buddhist author has not named the particular sect yet looking at the obvious similarities, I believe that they refer to the Samanas of Lord Parsva's Tirtha, In the Jaina Puranas we find this exact narration of knowing the past lives and upholding the eternity of the soul and the world. Really the Buddhist author condemns these theories but he has not been successful in his aim, because the above assertion clearly shows that though souls transmigrate yet they remain the same all round, i.e. it points to the Niscaya (Real) and Vyavahara (Material) points of view of Jainism which the Buddhist author has failed to discriminate. Fortunately it coincides with the Jaina narration further p. 709 on and the Jaina Sastras describe the Jaina Munis of Parsva's Tirtha of different capacities.(1) Amongst them Kevalajnani, Srutajnani, Avadhijnani and Vadi should be compared with those mentioned by the Buddhist author. These Munis really confirm their conceptions of the soul and the world in the same way as described in the above mentioned Buddhist passage. A similar list of the followers of Sri Parsva is, also, given in the Kalpasutra.(2) Thus it seems to hold with much accuracy that the Samanas referred to here who upheld their philosophical speculations in the above way, wore Jains Munis of Sri Parsva's Tirtha. It is also noteworthy that these references of the auitentic Buddhist book of old prove the credibility and authenticity of the Digambara Jaina Sastras further on than hitherto accepted. From these we, also, see that the Jaina conceptions were the same even near Lord Mahavira's predecessor Sri Parsva. ---------------------- 1. See Uttara Purana, 149ff. 2. Jaina Sutras, pt.I.