Jain ahimsa

the way of ahimsa; Digambara and Svetambara
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Jain ahimsa

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:31 pm

From a post over at DWT:
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 43#p531597
Jains have a developed sravakacara literature, which contains rules for lay life, regarding ahimsa they say:

Himsa may be arambhaja - occupational, or anarambhaja - unrelated to one’s occupation, which is also known as samkalpaja - intentional. The former is allowed, the later isn't. Hunting, offering animals in sacrifice to please the gods, killing for food, for sport etc. are some of the instances of non-occupational, intentional himsa. Occupation himsa is of three types: (1) udyami, (2) grharambhi and (3) virodhi.
(1) Udyami himsa: Harm committed in a normal course of doing business. Occupations which are permissible to a Jain are: asi (sword), masi (ink), krsi (agriculture), vanijya (trade), silpa (crafts), and vidya (knowledge).
(2) Grharambhi himsa: Harm involved in the course of one’s carrying out the domestic duties. Preparation of food, use of water in bathing and washing clothes, keeping of cattle, cleaning the house, maintenance of gardens, cutting fruits and flowers, digging of wells, construction of buildings etc.
(3) Virodhi-himsa: Harm involved in defense and in the protection of persons or property.

They also give five 'transgressions' (aticaras), ways in which harm can be done: (1) restraining (bandha), (2) beating (vadha), (3) cutting or mutilating (chavi-cchedda), (4) overloading (ati-bhararopana), (5) depriving of food and drink (bhakta-pana-vyavaccheda).

Himsa it is said can committed in speech, in body, or in mind, the offender may himself be guilty of the act (krta), may cause it to be done (karita), or may approve of its being done (anumata), there are also three possible stages in the commission of the offence: preparation (samrambha), initiation (samarambha), and doing (arambha).

And additional rules related to avoiding inflicting harm are to avoid water which wasn't strained, meat, and honey, alcohol, and eating at night (at dark).

Pretty detailed stuff. And also, all lay people are expected to do various ascetical and charitable stuff to counter-act the bad karma which is necessarily involved in living a lay life, and are then expected to transition towards being a monk as they grow older, passing though 11 stages, and the 11th stage becoming a full renunciate, an interesting system.

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Re: Jain ahimsa

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:32 pm

It sounds very much like the buddhist concept that it is the intention that matters. I had thought the Jains considered any himsa to be wrong, even if unintentional.

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Re: Jain ahimsa

Post by DNS » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:25 pm

From that thread at DWT:
When some of the authors call nonoccupational himsa intentional himsa it's misleading, or at least the translation is, because it implies that the occupational himsa is unintentional, as if by mistake or ignorance. Asi himsa and virodhi himsa and some types of grharambhi himsa (like harming instects, and plants) are obviously directly intentional, and Jainism would also say that eg krsi himsa or himsa via building a building are also intentional, in the sense you are intentionally doing an action which you know (or should know because it's pretty obvious) will do harm to some beings. Buddhism would say there is no bad kamma in the process of agriculture because the person isn't tilling the soil in order to kill worms and moles and other beings there, but to grow crops, and the killing of small animals there is just a side effect. Jainism says that even if it a side effect, it's still bad karma, because the action is done intentionally (and it's easily knowable that some harm will be done). Also, i remember that the monastic rules in Buddhism have an example of a monk sitting on some clothes not knowing there is an child in the clothes, and the child dies, and that the monk isn't guilty of killing, because there was no intention to kill; or also an example of throwing a stone somewhere not knowing there are people there, hitting someone with a stone, and that person dying. Jainism disagrees, and would say that in both cases the monk is guilty of killing a person, and incurs bad karma for a killing; in the first case he could have avoided himsa by being careful, and in the second case he could have avoided himsa either by carefulness or by not doing the action at all (minimizing activities being a valued thing in Jainism).

When talking about "unintentional" himsa, we could say that Jainism actually differentiates between four things:
1. side effect harm avoidable through moderate asceticism, which is expected from lay people to avoid, that's why eg they are barred from eating at night, so as to avoid accidentally harming beings, that's also why they are barred from drinking water which isn't strained, or getting drunk, also that's why they have vows of limiting consumption, movement, and frivolous activities;
2. side effect harm avoidable through full asceticism, ie by becoming a monk, which is allowed to lay people (with the idea, as i said, that they will 'make up' for that bad karma through good works, asceticism, and finally becoming a monk), but which monks avoid - by avoiding most activities, they don't build buildings, don't till the soil, etc;
3. side effect harm avoidable through carefulness (samiti), which is what monks are expected to do always, and lay people in a limited degree; eg if one accidentally harms a being by stepping or siting on it, and it was avoidable if the person have been careful, the full harm is counted as the person fault. And
4. purely unintentional harm, which couldn't have been avoided through any asceticism or even carefulness (like eg crushing a bug while sleeping, or harming some being through mistake or accident even though one was practicing samiti).
Only the fourth kind is thought to *actually* not incur bad karma, the former ones are all thought to be ultimately wrong, though the 2nd and partly 3rd are allowed to lay people, with the idea i mentioned.
https://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f ... 09#p531696

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Re: Jain ahimsa

Post by DNS » Sun Oct 27, 2019 3:26 pm

my response:

Interesting, thanks, so most actions still have negative karmic effects for Jains, unless it is purely ascetic and couldn't have been avoided even with being careful, so definitely more extreme than buddhism.

In regard to #2 quoted here, a Jain monk who lives in a hut that was built by lay people, knows that worms and other animals, especially insects were probably killed during that construction; so does he incur negative karma due to that?

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