Jainism and Non-creationism
Get Jainism and Non-creationism essential facts below. View Videos or join the Jainism and Non-creationism discussion. Add Jainism and Non-creationism to your Like2do.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Jainism and Non-creationism

Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents--soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion--have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. It is not possible to create matter out of nothing and hence the sum total of matter in the universe remains the same (similar to law of conservation of mass). Jain text claims that the universe consists of jiva (life force or souls) and ajiva (lifeless objects). The soul of each living being is unique and uncreated and has existed since beginningless time.[a][1]

The Jain theory of causation holds that a cause and its effect are always identical in nature and hence a conscious and immaterial entity like God cannot create a material entity like the universe. Furthermore, according to the Jain concept of divinity, any soul who destroys its karmas and desires achieves liberation (nirvana). A soul who destroys all its passions and desires has no desire to interfere in the working of the universe. Moral rewards and sufferings are not the work of a divine being, but a result of an innate moral order in the cosmos; a self-regulating mechanism whereby the individual reaps the fruits of his own actions through the workings of the karmas.

Through the ages, Jain philosophers have rejected and opposed the concept of creator and omnipotent God and this has resulted in Jainism being labeled as nastika darsana or atheist philosophy by the rival religious philosophies. The theme of non-creationism and absence of omnipotent God and divine grace runs strongly in all the philosophical dimensions of Jainism, including its cosmology, karma, moksa and its moral code of conduct. Jainism asserts a religious and virtuous life is possible without the idea of a creator god.[2]

Jaina conception of the Universe

Representation of Universe in Jain cosmology in form of a lokapurusa or cosmic man.
Structure of Universe as per the Jain Scriptures.

Jain scriptures reject God as the creator of universe. Jainism offers an elaborate cosmology, including Heavenly beings/Devas. These Heavenly beings are not viewed as creators, they are subject to suffering and change like all other living beings, and must eventually die. If godliness is defined as the state of having freed one's soul from karmas and the attainment of enlightenment/Nirvana and a God as one who exists in such a state, then those who have achieved such a state can be termed Gods/Tirthankara. Thus, Mahavira was God/Tirthankara.

According to Jains, this loka or universe is an entity, always existing in varying forms with no beginning or end. Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arms resting on his waist. Thus, the universe is narrow at top, widens above the middle, narrows towards the middle, and once again becomes broad at the bottom.[3][b]

Wheel of time

Jain Cosmic Wheel of Time

According to Jainism, time is beginningless and eternal. The cosmic wheel of time rotates ceaselessly.[4] This cyclic nature eliminates the need for a creator, destroyer or external deity to maintain the universe.

The wheel of time is divided into two half-rotations, Utsarpi or ascending time cycle and Avasarpi, the descending time cycle, occurring continuously after each other. Utsarpi is a period of progressive prosperity and happiness where the time spans and ages are at an increasing scale, while Avsarpi is a period of increasing sorrow and immorality.[5]

Concept of reality

This universe is made up of what Jainas call the six dravyas or substances classified as follows -

  • J?va - The living substances
Jains believe that souls (J?va) exist as a reality, with a separate existence from the body that houses it. It is characterised by cetana (consciousness) and upayoga (knowledge and perception).[6] Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer respectively to the disappearance of one state of soul and appearance of another, both merely various modes of the soul.[7]
  • Aj?va - Non-Living Substances
    • Pudgala or Matter - Matter is solid, liquid, gas, energy, fine karmic materials and extra-fine matter or ultimate particles. Param?nu or ultimate particles are the basic building block of matter. One quality of param?nu and pudgala is permanence and indestructibility. It combines and changes its modes but its qualities remain the same. According to Jainism, it cannot be created nor destroyed.
    • Dharma-tattva or Medium of Motion and Adharma-tattva or Medium of Rest - Also known as Dharm?stik?ya and Adharm?stik?ya, they are distinct to Jain thought depicting motion and rest. They pervade the entire universe. Dharma-tattva and Adharma-tattva are by itself not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without dharm?stik?ya motion is impossible and without adharm?stik?ya rest is impossible in the Universe.
    • ?ka or Space - Space is a substance that accommodates living souls, matter, the principles of motion and rest, and time. It is all-pervading, infinite and made of infinite space-points.
    • K?la or Time - Time is a real entity according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications are achieved only in time. Time is like a wheel with twelve spokes divided into descending and ascending: half with six stages of immense durations, each estimated at billions of "ocean years" (sagaropama).[8] In each descending stage, sorrow increases and at each ascending stage, happiness and bliss increase.

These uncreated constituents of the universe impart dynamics upon the universe by interacting with each other. These constituents behave according to natural laws without interference from external entities. Dharma or true religion according to Jainism is vatthu sah?vo dhammo translated as "the intrinsic nature of a substance is its true dharma." [c]

Material cause and effect

According to Jainism, causes are of two types - Up?dan? k?rana (substantial or material cause) and Nimitta k?rana (instrumental cause). Up?dan? k?rana is always identical with its effect.[9] For example, out of clay, you can only produce a clay pot; hence the clay is the up?dan? k?rana or material cause and clay pot its effect. Wherever the effect is present, the cause is present and vice versa. The effect is always present in latent form in the material cause. For transforming the clay to pot, the potter, the wheel, the stick and other operating agents are required that are merely nimitta or instrumental cause or catalysts in transformation. The material cause always remains the clay. Hence the cause and effect are always entirely identical in nature. [g] Potter cannot be the material cause of pot. If this were the case, then Potter might as well prepare the pot without any clay. But this is not so. Thus a clay pot can only be made from clay; gold ornaments can be made only from gold. Similarly the different modes of existence of a soul are a result of activities of soul itself. There cannot be any contradiction or exceptions.

In such a scenario, Jains argue that the material cause of a living soul with cetana (conscious entity) is always the soul itself and cause of dead inert matter (non-cetana i.e. without any consciousness) is always the matter itself.[10] If God is indeed the creator, then this is an impossible predication as the same cause will be responsible for two contradictory effects of cetana (life) and acetana (matter).[11] This logically precludes an immaterial God (a conscious entity) from creating this Universe, which is made up of material substances.

The soul

According to Jainism, Soul is the master of its own destiny. One of the qualities of the soul is complete lordship of its own destiny.[12] The soul alone chooses its actions and soul alone reaps its consequences. No God or prophet or angel can interfere in the actions or the destiny of the soul. Furthermore, it is the soul alone who makes the necessary efforts to achieve liberation without any divine grace.[13][14]

Jains frequently assert that "we are alone" in this world. [h]Amongst the Twelve Contemplations (anupreksas) of Jains, one of them is the loneliness of one's soul and nature of the universe and transmigration. Hence only by cleansing our soul by our own actions can we help ourselves.[15]

Jainism thus lays a strong emphasis on the efforts and the freewill of the soul to achieve the desired goal of liberation.

Jaina conception of divinity

Image of a Siddha: the soul who attains Moksa; although the Siddhas (the liberated beings) are formless and without a body, this is how the Jain temples often depict the Siddhas.

According to Jainism, gods can be categorized into T?rthankaras, Arihants or ordinary Kevalins and Siddhas. Jainism considers the Dev?s and Devas to be celestial beings who dwell in heavens owing to meritorious deeds in their past lives.

Arhats

Arihants, also known as Kevalins, are "Gods" (supreme souls) in embodied states who ultimately become Siddhas, or liberated souls, at the time of their nirvana. An Arihant is a soul who has destroyed all passions, is totally unattached and without any desire and hence has destroyed the four gh?tiy? karmas and attain kevala Jñ?na, or omniscience. Such a soul still has a body and four agh?tiy? karmas. An Arhata, at the end of his lifespan, destroys his remaining agh?tiy? karma and becomes a Siddha.

T?rthankaras

T?rthankaras (also known as "Jinas") are Arihants who are teachers and revivers of the Jain philosophy. There are 24 T?rthankaras in each time cycle; Mah?v?ra was the 24th and last T?rthankara of the current time cycle. T?rthankaras are literally the ford makers who have shown the way to cross the ocean of rebirth and transmigration and hence have become a focus of reverence and worship amongst Jains. However it would be a mistake to regard the T?rthankaras as gods analogous to the gods of Hindu pantheon despite the superficial resemblances in Jain and Hindu way of worship.[16]T?rthankaras like Arhatas ultimately become Siddhas on liberation. T?rthankaras, being liberated, are beyond any kind of transactions with the rest of the universe. They are not the beings who exercise any sort of creative activity or who have the capacity or ability to intervene in answers to prayers.

Siddhas

Ultimately all Arihants and T?rthankaras become Siddhas. A Siddha is a soul who is permanently liberated from the transmigratory cycle of birth and death. Such a soul, having realized its true self, is free from all the Karmas and embodiment. They are formless and dwell in Siddhashila (the realm of the liberated beings) at the apex of the universe in infinite bliss, infinite perception, infinite knowledge and infinite energy. Siddhahood is the ultimate goal of all souls.

Jains pray to these passionless Gods not for any favours or rewards but rather pray to the qualities of the God with the objective of destroying the karmas and achieving the Godhood. This is best understood by the term - vandetadgunalabhdhaye i.e. we pray to the attributes of such Gods to acquire such attributes" [f][17]

Heavenly beings - Demi-gods and demi-goddesses

Jainism describes existence of sanadevat?s and sanadev?s, the attendant Gods and Goddesses of T?rthankaras, who create the samavasarana or the divine preaching assembly of a T?rthankara.

Worship of such gods is considered as mithy?tva or wrong belief leading to bondage of karmas. However, many Jains are known to worship to such gods for material gains.

Nature of Karmas

According to Robert Zydendos, karma in Jainism can be considered a kind of system of laws, but natural rather than moral laws. In Jainism, actions that carry moral significance are considered to cause certain consequences in just the same way as, for instance, physical actions that do not carry any special moral significance. When one holds an apple in one's hand and then let go of the apple, the apple will fall: this is only natural. There is no judge, and no moral judgment involved, since this is a mechanical consequence of the physical action.[19]

Hence in accordance with the natural karmic laws, consequences occur when one utters a lie, steals something, commits acts of senseless violence or leads the life of a debauchee. Rather than assume that moral rewards and retribution are the work of a divine judge, the Jains believe that there is an innate moral order to the cosmos, self-regulating through the workings of karma. Morality and ethics are important, not because of the personal whim of a fictional god, but because a life that is led in agreement with moral and ethical principles is beneficial: it leads to a decrease and finally to the total loss of karma, which means: to ever increasing happiness.[19]

Karmas are often wrongly interpreted as a method for reward and punishment of a soul for its good and bad deeds. In Jainism, there is no question of there being any reward or punishment, as each soul is the master of its own destiny. The karmas can be said to represent a sum total of all unfulfilled desires of a soul. They enable the soul to experience the various themes of the lives that it desires to experience.[20] They ultimately mature when the necessary supportive conditions required for maturity are fulfilled.[21] Hence a soul may transmigrate from one life form to another for countless of years, taking with it the karmas that it has earned, until it finds conditions that bring about the fruits.

Hence whatever suffering or pleasure that a soul may be experiencing now is on account of choices that it has made in past. That is why Jainism stresses pure thinking and moral behavior. Apart from Buddhism, perhaps Jainism is the only religion that does not invoke the fear of God as a reason for moral behavior.

The karmic theory in Jainism operates endogenously. Tirthankaras are not attributed "absolute godhood" under Jainism. Thus, even the Tirthankaras themselves have to go through the stages of emanicipation, for attaining that state. While Buddhism does give a similar and to some extent a matching account for Shri Gautama Buddha, Hinduism maintains a totally different theory where "divine grace" is needed for emanicipation.

The following quote in Bhagavat? ?r?dhan? (1616) sums up the predominance of karmas in Jain doctrine:-

Thus it is not the so-called all embracing omnipotent God, but the law of karma that is the all governing force responsible for the manifest differences in the status, attainments and happiness of all life forms. It operates as a self-sustaining mechanism as natural universal law, without any need of an external entity to manage them.

Jain opposition to creationism

Jain scriptures reject God as the creator of universe. 12th century ?c?rya Hemacandra puts forth the Jain view of universe in the Yogastra as thus [i] -

Besides scriptural authority, Jains also resorted to syllogism and deductive reasoning to refute the creationist theories. Various views on divinity and universe held by the vedics, s?mkhyas, mimimsas, Buddhists and other school of thoughts were analysed, debated and repudiated by the various Jain ?c?ryas. However the most eloquent refutation of this view is provided by ?c?rya Jinasena in Mah?pur?na as thus [j] -

Criticisms of Jain non-creationist theory

Jainism along with Buddhism has been categorized as atheist philosophy i.e. N?stika dar?ana by the followers of Vedic religion. However, the word N?stika corresponds more to heterodox rather than atheism. Accordingly, those who did not believe in Vedas and rejected Brahma as the creator of Universe were labeled as N?stika.

Mrs. Sinclair Stevenson, an Irish missionary, declared that "the heart of Jainism is empty" since it does not depend on beseeching an omnipotent God for salvation. While fervently appealing to accept Christianity, she says Jains believe strongly in forgiving others, and yet have no hope of forgiveness by a higher power. Jains believe that liberation is by personal effort not an appeal for divine intervention.[22] "The Heart of Jainism" was written from her missionary point of view without respecting Jain sensibilities.

If atheism is defined as disbelief in existence of a God, then Jainism cannot be labeled as atheistic, as it not only believes in existence of gods but also of the soul which can attain godhood. As Paul Dundas puts it - "while Jainism is, as we have seen, atheist in a limited sense of rejection of both the existence of a creator God and the possibility of intervention of such a being in human affairs, it nonetheless must be regarded as a theist religion in the more profound sense that it accepts the existence of divine principle, the param?tm? i.e. God, existing in potential state within all beings".[23]

The Jaina position on God and religion from a perspective of a non-Jain can be summed up in the words of Anne Vallely.

See also

Notes

a. ^ Self is not an effect as it is not produced by anything nor it is a cause as it does not produce anything. Samayas?ra G?th? 10.310 See Nayanara (2005b)

b. ^ See V?caka Um?sv?ti's description of the Universe in his Tattv?rthasutra and ?c?rya Hemacandras description of the universe in Yogastra "...Picture a man standing with his arms akimbo - This is how Jainas believe the Loka looks like. 4.103-6

c. ^ See K?rtikey?nupreks?, 478 - Dharma is nothing but the real nature of an object. Just as the nature of fire is to burn and the nature of water is to produce a cooling effect, in the same manner, the essential nature of the soul is to seek self-realization and spiritual elevation .

d. ^ Vamdittu savvasiddhe .... [Samaysara 1.1] See Samaysara of ?c?rya Kundakunda, Tr. By Prof A. Chakaravarti, page 1 of main text - "Jainism recognizes plurality of selves not only in world of samsara but also in the liberated state or siddhahood which is a sort of a divine republic of perfect souls where each soul retains its individual personality and does not empty its contents into the cauldron of the absolute as is maintained by other systems of philosophy"

e. ^ See Tattv?rthas?tra 1.1 "samyagdar?anajñ?nac?ritr?nimoksam?rgah" - Translated as "Rational Perception, Rational Knowledge and Rational Conduct constitutes the path to liberation."

f. ^ See Sarv?rthasiddhi "Moksa m?rgasya net?ram bhett?ram karmabhubrut?m jn?t?ram vishva tatv?n?m vande tadguna labhdhaye." Translated as "We pray to those who have led the path to salvation,who have destroyed the mountains of karma, and who know the reality of the universe. We pray to them to acquire their attributes."

g. ^ See Samayas?ra 3.99-100] "If soul were indeed the producer of alien substances, then he must be of that nature; as it is not so, he cannot be their creator"

h. ^ See Hemcandr?c?rya, Yogastra. "eik utpadyate janturek eiv vipadyate" Translated as "each one is born alone and dies alone."

i. ^ "Nishpaadito Na Kenaapi Na Dhritah Kenachichch Sah Swayamsiddho Niradhaaro Gagane Kimtvavasthitah". see ?c?rya Hemacandra, (1989). In: S. Bothara (ed.),Dr. A. S. Gopani (Tr.), Yogastra(Sanskrit). Jaipur: Prakrit Bharti Academy. Sutra 4.106

j. ^ This quote from Mahapurana finds a mention in "Salters Horners Advanced Physics" by Jonathan Allda, which contains various scientific theories on Universe. The author quotes this extract from Mahapurana to show that Cosmology (the study of Universe) is an ancient science, which today is still probing some of the deepest questions about the origins and future of the Universe. (P 268)

Citations

  1. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p.190, G?th? 10.310
  2. ^ Soni, Jayandra (1998). E. Craig, ed. "Jain Philosophy". Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Gopani (1989), G?th? 4.103-6
  4. ^ Schubring, Walther (1995), pp. 204-246
  5. ^ Jaini (1998)
  6. ^ Nayanar (2005a), G?th? 16
  7. ^ Nayanar(2005a), G?th? 18
  8. ^ James (1969) p. 45
  9. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p.107
  10. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p. 189, G?th? 10.308-9
  11. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p. 73, G?th? 2.85
  12. ^ Nayanar (2005a), Gatha 27
  13. ^ Nayanar (2005a), G?th? 29
  14. ^ ?c?rya Amrtacandra S?ri, Laghutattvasphota, S?tra 156
  15. ^ Vallely (1980), p.182
  16. ^ Thrower (1980), p.93
  17. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p.35 G?th? 1.29
  18. ^ Gopani (1989), emended
  19. ^ a b Zydenbos (2006)
  20. ^ Kuhn (2001)
  21. ^ Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 21
  22. ^ Stevenson (1999) (Original 1915) p. 289
  23. ^ Dundas (2002) p.111
  24. ^ Vallely, Anne (1980). In: Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnology of a Jain Ascetic Community. University of Toronto Press: Toronto .p.182

References

  • Dundas, Paul; John Hinnels ed. (2002). The Jains. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26606-8. 
  • Gopani, A. S.; Surendra Bothara ed. (1989). Yogastra (Sanskrit) of ?c?rya Hemacandra. Jaipur: Prakrit Bharti Academy. 
  • Jacobi, Hermann (1884). "?c?ranga S?tra, Jain Sutras Part I". Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 22. 
  • James, Edwin Oliver (1969). Creation and Cosmology: A Historical and Comparative Inquiry. Netherlands: Brill Publishers. ISBN 90-04-01617-1. 
  • Kuhn, Hermann (2001). Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate. Wunstorf, Germany: Crosswind Publishing. ISBN 3-9806211-4-6. 
  • Nayanar, Prof. A. Chakravarti (2005). Pañc?stik?yas?ra of ?c?rya Kundakunda. New Delhi: Today & Tomorrows Printer and Publisher. ISBN 81-7019-436-9. 
  • Nayanar, Prof. A. Chakravarti (2005). Samayas?ra of ?c?rya Kundakunda. New Delhi: Today & Tomorrows Printer and Publisher. ISBN 81-7019-364-8. 
  • Stevenson, M.Sinclair (1999). Heart of Jainism. Munshiram Manoharial Publishers Private, Limited. ISBN 81-215-0122-9. 
  • Thrower, James (1980). Alternative Tradition: religion and the rejection of religion in the Ancient World. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 90-279-7997-9. 
  • Vallely, Anne (2002). Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jain Ascetic Community. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-8415-X. 
  • Zydenbos, Rober J. (2006). Jainism Today and Its Future. Manya Verlag: Muenchen. 
  • Jaini, Padmanabh (1998). The Jaina Path of Purification. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1578-5. 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


Jainism_and_non-creationism
 



 

Top US Cities