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Jaina Sutras, Part II (SBE45), tr. by Hermann Jacobi, [1895], at



What is the Path that has been preached by the wise Brâhman2 (i.e. Mahâvîra), having correctly entered upon which path a man crosses the flood (of Samsâra) which is difficult to pass? (1)

O monk and great sage, tell us this best path which leads to liberation from all misery, as you know it! (2)

Tell us how we should describe that path, if somebody, a god or a man, should ask us about it! (3)

If somebody, a god or a man, ask you about it, tell them the truth about the path. Listen to me! (4)

The very difficult (path) explained by the Kâsyapa, following which some men from this earth

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have formerly passed over. (the Samsâra) like traders over the ocean 1, pass over it (even now), and will pass over it in future; (this path which) I have learned, I shall explain in due order; men, listen to me! (5, 6)

Earth-lives are individual beings, so are water-lives, fire-lives, and wind-lives; grass, trees, corn; (7)

And the remaining, (viz.) the movable beings; thus are enumerated the six classes of living beings; these are all the living beings, there are no more besides. (8)

A wise man should study them with all means of philosophical research. All beings hate pains; therefore one should not kill them. (9)

This is the quintessence of wisdom: not to kill anything. Know this to be the legitimate conclusion from the principle of the reciprocity with regard to non-killing 2. (10)

He should cease to injure living beings whether they move or not, on high, below, and on earth. For this has been called the Nirvâna, which consists in peace 3. (11)

Master (of his senses) and avoiding wrong, he should do no harm to anybody, neither by thoughts, nor words, nor acts. (12)

A wise man who restrains his senses and possesses great knowledge, should accept such things as are freely given him, being always circumspect with regard to the accepting of alms, and abstaining from what he is forbidden to accept. (13)

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A true monk should not accept such food and drink as has been especially prepared for him along with slaughter of living beings. (14)

He should not partake of a meal which contains but a particle of forbidden food 1: this is the Law of him who is rich in control. Whatever (food a monk) suspects (to be impure), he may not eat. (15)

A man who guards his soul and subdues his senses, should never assent to anybody killing beings.--In towns and villages cases (will occur, which place) the faithful (in a dilemma) 2. (16)

Hearing the talk of people, one should not say, 'this is a good action,' nor 'this is a bad action.' For there is an objection (to either answer). (17)

He should not say that it is meritorious, because he ought to save those beings, whether they move or not, which are killed there for the sake of making a gift. (18)

Nor should he say that it is not meritorious, because he would then prevent those for whose sake the food and drink in question is prepared, to get their due. (19)

Those who praise the gift, are accessory 3 to the killing of beings; those who forbid it, deprive (others) of the means of subsistence. (20)

Those, however, who give neither answer, viz.

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that it is meritorious, or is not so, do not expose themselves to guilt, and will reach Beatitude 1. (21)

Knowing that Beatitude is the best thing as the moon is among the stars, a sage always restrained and subduing his senses brings about Beatitude. (22)

A pious man 2 shows an island to the beings which are carried away (by the flood of the Samsâra) and suffer for their deeds. This place of safety has been proclaimed (by the Tîrthakaras). (23)

He who guards his soul, subdues his senses, puts a stop to the current (of the Samsâra), and is free from Âsravas 3, is (entitled to) expound the pure, complete, unparalleled Law. (24)

Those who do not know this (Law), are not awakened, though they fancy themselves awakened; believing themselves awakened, they are beyond the boundary of right faith 4. (25)

Eating seeds and drinking cold water 5 and what

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has been especially prepared for them, they enter upon meditation 1, but are ignorant of the truth, and do not possess carefulness. (26)

As dhaṅkas, herons, ospreys, cormorants, and pheasants meditate upon capturing fish, (which is) a sinful and very low meditation, so some heretical, unworthy Sramanas contemplate the pursuit of pleasures; (they are) sinful and very low like herons. (27, 28)

Here some weak-minded persons, abusing the pure path, enter upon a wrong path. They thereby will go to misery and destruction. (29)

As a blind-born man getting into a leaky boat wants to reach the shore, but is drowned during the passage 2; so some unworthy, heretical Sramanas, having got into the full current (of the Samsâra), will incur great danger. (30, 31)

But knowing this Law which has been proclaimed by the Kâsyapa, (a monk) crosses the dreadful current (of the Samsâra), and wanders about intent on the benefit of his soul. (32)

Indifferent to worldly objects, a man should wander about treating all creatures in the world so as he himself would be treated. (33)

A wise man knowing (and renouncing) excessive pride and deceit, (in short) giving up all (causes of worldly existence), brings about his Liberation 3. (34)

He acquires good qualities, and leaves off bad qualities; a monk, who vigorously practises austerities, avoids anger and pride. (35)

The Buddhas 4 that were, and the Buddhas that

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will be, they (as it were) have Peace as their foundation, even as all things have the earth for their foundation. (36)

And if any accidents whatever befall him who has gained that (foundation), he will not be overpowered by them as a mountain by the storm 1. (37)

A restrained, very learned, and wise (monk) should accept such alms as are freely given him, being free from passions and waiting for his end. This is the doctrine of the Kêvalin. (38)

Thus I say.


310:2 See note on IX, 1.

311:1 The same simile occurs also in I, 3, 4, 18, above p. 271.

311:2 The same verse occurred above, I, 1, 4, 10, p. 247.

311:3 We have had the same verse above, I, 3, 4, 20, p. 271.

312:1 This is the meaning of the phrase pûtikarma na sêvêta.

312:2 When well-meaning people sink a well, offer a sacrifice, or feed persons, &c.

312:3 Literally, wish.

313:1 Sîlâṅka quotes the following Sanskrit verse to show the application of the maxim to the digging of a well: satyam vaprêshu sîtam sasikaradhavalam vâri pîtvâ prakâmam vyukkhinnâsêshatrishnâh pramuditamanasah prânisârthâ bhavanti | sôsham nîtê galaughê dinakarakiranair yânty anantâ vinâsam tênôdâsînabhâvam vragati muniganah kûpavaprâdikârvê || 'Forsooth, when living beings drink to their hearts' content the cool water of ditches, which is white like the moon, their thirst is completely allayed and their heart is gladdened; but when all the water is dried up by the rays of the sun, numberless creatures must die; therefore the sages decline every interest in the construction of wells and ditches.'

313:2 The commentators connect sâhu as adjective with dîvam, and supply Tîrthakara, &c. as subject.

313:3 See above, p. 55, note 1.

313:4 Samâdhi.

313:5 Vîôdaga = bîgôdaka.

314:1 Comp. I, 3, 3, 12.

314:2 Verses 30, 31 a = I, 1, 2, 31, 32 a.

314:3 The first line of this verse occurred in I, 9, 36.

314:4 Here Buddha is a synonym for Tîrthakara.

315:1 Sîlâṅka says that by exercise the power of resistance will be increased, and in confirmation of this he relates the well-known story of the herdsman who daily carried a calf from its birth till it was two years old.

Next: Book 1, Lecture 12: The Creed