Acaranga Sutra/Lecture 1: Knowledge of the Weapon

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FIRST BOOK[1]
FIRST LECTURE[2]

First lesson[3][edit]

  1. O long-lived (Gambûsvâmin[4])! I (Sudharman) have heard the following discourse from the venerable (Mahâvîra):
  2. Here many do not remember whether they have descended in an eastern direction (when they were born in this world), or in a southern, or in a western, or in a northern direction, or in the direction from above, or in the direction from below, or in a direction intermediate (between the cardinal points), or in a direction intermediate between these (and the cardinal points).
  3. Similarly, some do not know whether their soul is born again and again or not; nor what they were formerly, nor what they will become after having died and left this world.
  4. Now this is what one should know, either by one's own knowledge or through the instruction of the highest (i.e. a Tîrthakara), or having heard it from others: that he descended in an eastern direction, or in any other direction (particularised above). Similarly, some know that their soul is born again and again, that it arrives in this or that direction, whatever direction that may be.
  5. He believes in soul,[5] believes in the world,[6] believes in reward,[7] believes in action (acknowledged to be our own doing in such judgments as these): 'I did it;' 'I shall cause another to do it;' 'I shall allow another to do it.'[8] In the world, these are all the causes of sin,[9] which must be comprehended and renounced.
  6. A man that does not comprehend and renounce the causes of sin, descends in a cardinal or intermediate direction, wanders to all cardinal or intermediate directions, is born again and again in manifold births, experiences all painful feelings.
  7. About this the Revered One has taught the truth (comprehension and renunciation). For the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, all these causes of sin are at work, which are to be comprehended and renounced in this world. He who, in the world, comprehends and renounces these causes of sin, is called a reward-knowing sage (muni).[10]

Second lesson[11][edit]

  1. The (living) world is afflicted, miserable, difficult to instruct, and without discrimination. In this world full of pain, suffering by their different acts, see the benighted ones cause great pain.
  2. See! there are beings individually embodied (in earth; not one all-soul). See! there are men who control themselves, (whilst others only) pretend to be houseless (i.e. monks, such as the Bauddhas, whose conduct differs not from that of householders), because one destroys this (earth-body) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of earth, through his doing acts relating to earth.
  3. About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards earth, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so. This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed when he has understood or heard, either from the Revered One or from the monks, the faith to be coveted.
  4. There are some who, of a truth, know this (i.e. injuring) to be the bondage, the delusion, the death, the hell. For this[12] a man is longing when he destroys this (earth-body) by bad, injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of earth, through his doing acts relating to earth. Thus I say.
  5. As somebody may cut or strike a blind man (who cannot see the wound), as somebody may cut or strike the foot, the ankle, the knee, the thigh, the hip, the navel, the belly, the flank, the back, the bosom, the heart, the breast, the neck, the arm, the finger, the nail, the eye, the brow, the forehead, the head, as some kill (openly), as some extirpate (secretly), (thus the earth-bodies are cut, struck, and killed though their feeling is not manifest).
  6. He who injures these (earth-bodies) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards earth, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. H e who knows these causes of sin relating to earth, is called a reward-knowing sage. Thus I say.

Third lesson[13][edit]

  1. (Thus I say): He who acts rightly, who does pious work, who practises no deceit, is called houseless.
  2. One should, conquering the world, persevere in that (vigour of) faith which one had on the entrance in the order; the heroes (of faith), humbly bent, (should retain their belief in) the illustrious road (to final liberation) and in the world (of water-bodies); having rightly comprehended them through the instruction (of Mahâvîra), (they should retain) that which causes no danger (i.e. self-control). Thus I say.
  3. A man should not (himself) deny the world of (water-bodies), nor should he deny the self. He who denies the world (of water-bodies), denies the self; and he who denies the self, denies the world of (water-bodies).
  4. See! there are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless; for one destroys this (water-body) by bad, injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of water, through his doing acts relating to water.
  5. About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards water, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so.
  6. This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed when he has understood and heard from the Revered One, or from the monks, the faith to be coveted. There are some who, of a truth, know this (i.e. injuring) to be the bondage, the delusion, the death, the hell. For this a man is longing when he destroys this (water-body) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of water, through his doing acts relating to water. Thus I say.
  7. There are beings living in water, many lives; of a truth, to the monks water has been declared to be living matter. See! considering the injuries (done to water-bodies), those acts (which are injuries, but must be done before the use of water, eg. straining) have been distinctly declared. Moreover he (who uses water which is not strained) takes away what has not been given (i.e. the bodies of water-lives). (A Bauddha will object): 'We have permission, we have permission to drink it, or (to take it) for toilet purposes.' Thus they destroy by various injuries (the water-bodies). But in this their doctrine is of no authority. He who injures these (water-bodies) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts.
  8. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards water, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to water, is called a reward-knowing sage. Thus I say.

Fourth lesson[edit]

(Thus I say): A man should not, of his own accord, deny the world (of fire-bodies), nor should he deny the self. He who denies the world (of fire-bodies), denies the self; and he who denies the self, denies the world (of fire-bodies). (23)

He who knows that (viz. fire) through which injury is done to the long-living bodies (i.e. plants), knows also that which does no injury (i.e. control); and he who knows that which does no injury, knows also that through which no injury is done to the long-living bodies. (24)

This has been seen by the heroes (of faith) who conquered ignorance; for they control themselves, always exert themselves, always mind their duty. He who is unmindful of duty, and desiring of the qualities (i.e. of the pleasure and profit which may be derived from the elements) is called the torment (of living beings). Knowing this, a wise man (resolves): 'Now (I shall do) no more what I used to do want only before.' (25)

See! there are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless; for one destroys this (fire-body) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of fire, through his doing acts relating to fire. About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards fire, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so. (26)

This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed when he has understood, or heard from the Revered One or from the monks, the faith to be coveted. There are some who, of a truth, know this (i.e. injuring) to be the bondage, the delusion, the death, the hell. For this a man is longing, when he destroys this (fire-body) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of fire, through his doing acts relating to fire. Thus I say. (27)

There are beings living in the earth, living in grass, living on leaves, living in wood, living in cowdung, living in dust-heaps, jumping beings which coming near (fire) fall into it. Some, certainly, touched by fire, shrivel up; those which shrivel up there, lose their sense there; those which lose their sense there, die there. (28)

He who injures these (fire-bodies) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards fire, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows the causes of sin relating to fire, is called a reward knowing sage. Thus I say. (29)

Fifth lesson[edit]

I shall not do (acts relating to plants) after having entered the order, having recognised (the truth about these acts), and having conceived that which is free from danger (i.e. control).' (30)

He who does no acts (relating to plants), has ceased from works; he who has ceased from them is called 'houseless.' (31) Quality is the whirlpool (avatta=samsara), and the whirlpool is quality. Looking up, down, aside, eastward, he sees colours, hearing he hears sounds; (32)

That is called the world; not guarded against it, not obeying the law (of the Tirthakaras), relishing the qualities, conducting him-self wrongly, he will wantonly live in a house (i.e.belong to the world). (33)

See! there are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless,for one destroys this(body of a plant) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of plants, through his doing acts relating to plants. (34)

About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards plants, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so. This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed when he has understood, or heard from the Revered One. or from the monks, the faith to be coveted. There are some who, of a truth, know this (i.e. injuring) to be the bondage, the delusion, the death, the hell. For this a man is longing when he destroys this (body of a plant) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of plants, through his doing acts relating to plants. Thus I say. (35)

As the nature of this (i.e. men) is to be born and to grow old, so is the nature of that (i.e. plants) to be born and to grow old; as this has reason, so that has reason'; as this falls sick when cut, so that falls sick when cut; as this needs food, so that needs food; as this will decay, so that will decay; as this is not eternal, so that is not eternal; as this takes increment, so that takes increment; as this is changing, so that is changing. (36)

He who injures these (plants) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards plants, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to plants, is called a reward-knowing sage. Thus I say (37)

Sixth lesson[edit]

Thus I say. There are beings called the animate, viz. those who are produced 1. from eggs (birds), 2. from a fetus (as elephants), 3. from a fetus with an enveloping membrane (as cows, buffaloes), 4. from fluids (as worms) 5, from sweat (as bugs, lice), 6. by coagulation (as locusts, ants), 7. from sprouts (as butterflies, wagtails), 8. by regeneration (men, gods, hell-beings). This is called the Samsara (38) for the slow, for the ignorant. Having well considered it, having well looked at it, I say thus: all beings, those with two, three, four senses, plants, those with five senses, and the rest of creation, (experience) individually pleasure or displeasure, pain, great terror, and unhappiness. Beings are filled with alarm from all directions and in all directions- See! there the benighted ones cause great pain. See! there are beings individually embodied. (39)

See! there are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless, for one destroy this (body of an animal) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of animals, through his doing acts relating to animals. (40)

About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards animals, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so. This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed, when he has understood, or heard from the Revered One or from the monks, the faith to be coveted. There are some who, of a truth, know this (i.e. injuring) to be the bondage, the illusion, the death, the hell. For this a man is longing, when he injures this (body of an animal) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of animals, through acts relating to animals. Thus I say. (41)

Some slay (animals) for sacrificial purposes, some kill (animals) for the sake of their skin, some kill (them) for the sake of their flesh, some kill them for the sake of their blood; thus for the sake of their heart, their bile, the feathers of their tail, their tail, their big or small horns, their teeth, their tusks, their nails, their sinews, their bones; with a purpose or without a purpose. Some kill animals because they have been wounded by them, or are wounded, or will be wounded. (42)

He who injures these (animals) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he-who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards animals, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to animals, is called a reward-knowing sage. Thus I say. (43)

Seventh lesson[edit]

He who is averse from (all actions relating to) wind, knows affliction. Knowing what is bad, he who knows it with regard to himself, knows it with regard to (the world) outside; and he who knows it with regard to (the world) outside, knows it with regard to himself: this reciprocity (between himself and) others (one should mind). Those who are appeased, who are free from passion, do not desire to live. (i) (44)

See! there are men who control themselves; others pretend only to be houseless, for one destroys this (wind-body) by bad and injurious doings, and many other beings, besides, which he hurts by means of wind, through his doing acts relating to wind. (45)

About this the Revered One has taught the truth: for the sake of the splendour, honour, and glory of this life, for the sake of birth, death, and final liberation, for. the removal of pain, man acts sinfully towards wind, or causes others to act so, or allows others to act so. This deprives him of happiness and perfect wisdom. About this he is informed when he has understood, or heard from the Revered One or from the monks, the faith to be coveted. There are some who, of a truth, know this to be the bondage, the delusion, the death, the hell. For this a man is longing when he destroys this (wind-body) by bad and injurious acts, and many other -beings, besides, which he hurts by means of wind, through his doing acts relating to wind. Thus I say. (46)

There are jumping beings which, coming near wind, fall into it. Some, certainly, touched by wind, shrivel tip; those which shrivel up there, lose their sense there; those which lose their sense there, die there. (47)

He who injures these (wind-bodies) does not comprehend and renounce the sinful acts; he who does not injure these, comprehends and renounces the sinful acts. Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards wind, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to wind, is called a rewardknowing sage. Thus I say. (48)

Be aware that about this (wind-body) too those are involved in sin who delight not in the right conduct, and, though doing acts, talk about religious discipline, who conducting themselves according to their own will, pursuing sensual pleasures, and engaging in acts, are addicted to worldliness. He who has the true knowledge about all things, will commit no sinful act, nor cause others to do so. (49)

Knowing them, a wise man should not act sinfully towards the aggregate of six (kinds of) lives, nor cause others to act so, nor allow others to act so. He who knows these causes of sin relating to the aggregate of the six (kinds of) lives, is called a reward-knowing sage. Thus I say. (50)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Suyakkhamdha, srutaskandha
  2. Agghayana, adhyayana. The first lecture is called sattha-parinnâ (sastra-parigñâ),'knowledge of the weapon.' Weapons are divided into material weapon and weapon consisting in a state (bhâva). The latter is explained to be non-control (asamyama) or the wrong use of mind, speech, and body. Knowledge (parigñâ) is twofold: comprehension and renunciation. The subject of the first lecture is, therefore, the comprehension and renunciation of everything that hurts other beings.
  3. Uddesaya, uddesaka
  4. Gambûsvâmin was the disciple of Sudharman, one of the eleven chief disciples (ganadhara) of Mahâvira.
  5. I.e. in a permanent soul, different from the body. This is said against the Kârvâkas.
  6. I.e. the plurality of souls, not in one all-soul, as the Vedântins.
  7. Kamma (karma) is that which darkens our intellect, &c. Its result is the suffering condition of men, its cause is action (kiriyâ, kriyâ).
  8. The different tenses employed in these sentences imply, according to the commentators, the acknowledgment of the reality of time, as past, present, future.
  9. Kamma-samârambha. Kamma has been explained above. Samârambha, a special action (kriyâ), is the engaging in something blamable (sâvadyânushthâna).
  10. Thus I say.These words (tti bemi) stand at the end of every lesson. The commentators supply them also for the beginning of each lesson.
  11. After the chief tenets of Gainism with regard to soul and actions have briefly been stated in the first lesson, the six remaining lessons of the first lecture treat of the actions which injure the six classes of lives or souls. The Gainas seem to have arrived at their concept of soul, not through the search after the Self, the self-existing unchangeable principle in the ever-changing world of phenomena, but through the perception of life. For the most general Gaina term for soul is life (gîva), which is identical with self (âyâ, âtman). There are numberless lives or souls, not only embodied in animals, men, gods, hell-beings (tasa, trasa), and plants (vanassaî, vanaspati), but also in the four elements--earth, water, fire, wind. Earth, &c., regarded as the abode of lives is called earth-body, &c. These bodies are only perceptible when an infinite number of them is united in one place. The earth-lives, &c., possess only one organ, that of feeling; they have undeveloped (avyakta)intellect and feelings (vedanâ), but no limbs, &c. The doctrines about these elementary lives are laid down in Bhadrabâhu's Niryukti of our Sûtra, and are commented upon in Sîlâṅka's great commentary of it. They are very abstruse, and deal in the most minute distinctions, which baffle our comprehension.
  12. Ikk’ attham. The commentators think this to be a reference to the sentence, For the sake of the splendour, &c. It would be more natural to connect it with the foregoing sentence; the meaning is, For bondage, &c., men commit violence, though they believe it to be for the happiness of this life.
  13. The water-lives which are treated of in this lesson are, as is the case with all elementary lives, divided into three classes: the sentient, the senseless, and the mixed. Only that water which is the abode of senseless water-lives may be used. Therefore water is to be strained before use, because the senseless lives only are believed to remain in water after that process.