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From Jainism's Holy Akaranga Sutra, Book II - Uttarâdhyayana: Lectures 8 & 10    
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One of the oldest religions in the world is Jainism, or traditionally known as Jain Dharma. Originating from ancient India, this philosophy centers around concepts such as right perception, right knowledge and right conduct in the attainment of moksha, or realization of the soul’s true nature. The concept of ahimsa, or non-violence, is of equally great importance. Thus, with compassion for all life, practitioners of Jainism follow a pure vegetarian (vegan) diet. Jains follow the ancient wisdom of the 24 Tirthakaras, or prophets, whose teachings comprise the Agam sutras, the religion’s holy scriptures.

Lord Mahavira, who is considered to be the last Tirthakara, was born around 5-6th century BCE, as a prince of the ancient kingdom of Vaishali. He later forsook his royal status to pursue the spiritual path. After attaining keval jnan, or all-knowing intuitive vision, he spent the rest of his life giving discourses on spiritual truths, which form the present-day tenets of Jainism. We present to you today excerpts of Uttarâdhyayan: Lectures 8 & 10 from the second book of Jainism’s Akaranga Sutra.

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EIGHTH LECTURE: Kapila’s Verses By what acts can I escape a sorrowful lot in this unstable ineternal Samsâra (migration and transmigration), which is full of misery? Quitting your former connections place your affection on nothing; a monk who loves not even those who love him, will be freed from sin and hatred. Then the best of sages, who is exempt from delusion and possesses perfect knowledge and faith, speaks for the benefit and eternal welfare, and for the final liberation of all beings. All fetters of the soul, and all hatred, everything of this kind, should a monk cast aside; he should not be attached to any pleasures, examining them well and taking care of himself.

An ignorant sinner who never fixes his thoughts on the soul's benefit and eternal welfare, but sinks down through hatred and the temptation of lust, will be ensnared. It is difficult to cast aside the pleasures of life, weak men will not easily give them up; but there are pious ascetics (sâdhu) who get over the impassable Samsâra (migration and transmigration) as merchants cross the sea. Some there are who call themselves Sramanas (wandering monks), though they are ignorant of the prohibition of killing living beings; the sinners go to hell through their superstitious beliefs.

One should not permit (or consent to) the killing of living beings; then he will perhaps be delivered from all misery; thus have spoken the preceptors who have proclaimed the Law of ascetics. A careful man who does not injure living beings, is called 'circumspect' (samita). The sinful Karman will quit him as water quits raised ground. In thoughts, words, and acts he should do nothing injurious to beings who people the world, whether they move or not. He should know what alms may be accepted, and should strictly keep these rules; a monk should beg food only for the sustenance of life, and should not be dainty.

He should eat what tastes badly, cold food, old beans…. Those who interpret the marks of the body, and dreams, and who know the foreboding changes in the body (angavidya), are not to be called Sramanas (wandering monks); thus the preceptors have declared. Those who do not take their life under discipline, who cease from meditation and ascetic practices, and who are desirous of pleasures, amusements, and good fare, will be born again as Asuras (lowest rank of deities or demigods). And when they rise (in another birth) from the world of the Asuras (lowest rank of deities or demigods), they err about, for a long time, in the Samsâra (migration and transmigration); those whose souls are sullied by many sins, will hardly ever attain Bôdhi (awakening).

And if somebody should give the whole Earth to one man, he would not have enough; so difficult is it to satisfy anybody. The more you get, the more you want; your desires increase with your means. Though two mâshas (grams) would do to supply your want, still you would scarcely think ten millions sufficient. A houseless monk should not desire women, he should turn away from females; learning thoroughly the Law, a monk should strictly keep its rules. This Law has been taught by Kapila of pure knowledge; those who follow it, will be saved and will gain both worlds. Thus I say.

TENTH LECTURE: The Leaf of the Tree As the fallow leaf of the tree falls to the ground, when its days are gone, even so the life of men will come to its close; Gautama, be careful all the while! As a dewdrop dangling on the top of a blade of Kusa-grass lasts but a short time, even so the life of men; Gautama, be careful all the while! As life is so fleet and existence so precarious, wipe off the sins you ever committed, Gautama, be careful all the while! A rare chance, in the long course of time, is human birth for a living being; hard are the consequences of actions;

Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into an earth-body, it may remain in the same state as long as an Asamkhya (infinitudes); Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a water-body, it may remain in the same state as long as an Asamkhya (infinitudes); Gautama, be careful all the while! When a soul has once got into a fire-body, it may remain in the same state as long as an Asamkhya (infinitudes);

Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a wind-body, it may remain in the same state as long as an Asamkhya (infinitudes); Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a vegetable-body, it remains long in that state, for an endless time, after which its lot is not much bettered; Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a body of a Dvîndriya (i.e. a being possessing two organs of sense), it may remain in the same state as long as a period called samkhyêya (a period which can be measured by thousands of years);

Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a body of a Trîndriya (i.e. a being possessing three organs of sense), it may remain in the same state as long as a period called samkhyêya (a period which can be measured by thousands of years); Guatama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a body of a Katurindriya (i.e. a being possessing four organs of sense), it may remain in the same state as long as a period called samkhyêya (a period which can be measured by thousands of years); Guatama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into a body of a Pañkêndriya (i.e. a being possessing five organs of sense), it may remain in the same state as long as seven or eight births;

Gautama, be careful all the while! When the soul has once got into the body of a god or of a denizen of hell, it may remain in that state one whole life; Gautama, be careful all the while! Thus the soul which suffers for its carelessness, is driven about in the Samsâra (migration and transmigration) by its good and bad Karman; Gautama, be careful all the while! Though one be born as a man, it is a rare chance to become an Ârya (a person of noble birth); for many are the Dasyus (labor class) and Mlecchas (barbarians);

Gautama, be careful all the while! Though one be born as an Ârya (a person of noble birth), it is a rare chance to possess all five organs of sense; for we see many who lack one organ or other; Gautama, be careful all the while! Though he may possess all five organs of sense, still it is a rare chance to be instructed in the best Law; for people follow heretical teachers; Gautama, be careful all the while! Though he may have been instructed in the right Law, still it is a rare chance to believe in it; for many people are heretics;

Gautama, be careful all the while! Though one believe in the Law, he will rarely practice it; for people are engrossed by pleasures; Gautama, be careful all the while! When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, the power of your ears decreases; Gautama, be careful all the while! When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, the power of your eyes decreases;

Gautama, be careful all the while! When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, the power of your nose decreases. When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, the power of your tongue decreases. When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, the power of your touch decreases. When your body grows old, and your hair turns white, all your powers decrease. Despondency, the king's evil, cholera, mortal diseases of many kinds befall you; your body wastes and decays;

Gautama, be careful all the while! Cast aside from you all attachments, as the leaves of a lotus let drop off the autumnal water, exempt from every attachment, Gautama, be careful all the while! Give up your wealth and your wife; you have entered the state of the houseless; do not, as it were, return to your vomit; Gautama, be careful all the while! Leave your friends and relations, the large fortune you have amassed; do not desire them a second time;

Gautama, be careful all the while! There is now no Gina (Perfected Being), but there is a highly esteemed guide to show the way; now being on the right path, Gautama, be careful all the while! Now you have entered on the path from which the thorns have been cleared, the great path; walk in the right path; Gautama, be careful all the while! Do not get into an uneven road like a weak burden-bearer; for you will repent of it afterwards;

Gautama, be careful all the while! You have crossed the great ocean; why do you halt so near the shore? Make haste to get on the other side; Gautama, be careful all the while! Going through the same religious practices as perfected saints, you will reach the world of perfection, Gautama, where there is safety and perfect happiness;

Gautama, be careful all the while! The enlightened and liberated monk should control himself, whether he be in a village or a town, and he should preach to all the road of peace; Gautama, be careful all the while! Having heard the Buddha's well-delivered sermon, adorned by illustrations, Gautama cut off love and hatred and reached perfection. Thus I say.
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