Oct 7, 2009

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
"Vatthajinavakkena ya ahava pattaina asamvaranam,
Nibbhusanam niggantham accelakkam jagadi pujjam."

"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

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

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

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,

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 collected...in dosa.

16. He will not accept 16. It is Dasaka dosa (see
food where a dog is also Jaina-Sutras).

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.
vilamadhurarasanam ca jam
cayanam 155.
Chattari mahaviyadi ya
honti navanida majja mamsa
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

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

1. See Uttara Purana, 149ff.
2. Jaina Sutras, pt.I.

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