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Words of Wisdom

From Sacred Jainism Scripture “Uttaradhyayana”– Lectures 14, Part 1 of 2

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The religion of Jainism, traditionally called Jain Dharma, originated in ancient India. Jain Dharma emphasizes the value of right perception, right knowledge, and right conduct. Through inner reflection and sincere practice of these principles, one can attain Moksha, or realization of the soul’s true Nature. The concept of ahimsa, or nonviolence, is also central to Jainism. Thus, with respect for all life, Jain practitioners follow a pure vegan or plant-based diet. The 24th and last Tirthankara was Lord Mahavira, whose name means “Great Hero.”

Supreme Master Ching Hai has paid tribute to the spiritual greatness of Lord Mahavira, during lectures given in Taiwan, also known as Formosa, on various occasions. “I don’t know if anyone in the history of mankind could have done or could be doing or will be doing such an asceticism, such a sacrifice like the Lord Mahavira. We really salute Him and are grateful - to all that He had to endure for enlightenment, for the sake of others. All these sufferings are not for naught. They would benefit the world in some way or another, even without the Lord Mahavira knowing or even without the world people knowing or being grateful for.”

We now invite you to listen to excerpts from the fourteenth lecture of “Uttaradhyayana,” one of the most important scriptures in Jainism. In this lecture, two sons speak to their father, the Brahmanical Purohita (chaplain), about their determination to be monks.

“Both dear sons of the Brahmanical Purohita, who was intent on works, remembered their former birth, and the penance and self-control they had then practiced. Averse to human and heavenly pleasures, desiring liberation, and full of faith, they went to their father and spoke thus: ‘Seeing that the lot of man is transitory and precarious, and that his life lasts not long, we take no delight in domestic life; we bid you farewell: we shall turn monks.’”

“‘Pleasures bring only a moment's happiness, but suffering for a very long time, intense suffering, but slight happiness; they are an obstacle to the liberation from existence and are a very mine of evils.’”

“‘(The soul) cannot be apprehended by the senses, because it possesses no corporeal form, and since it possesses no corporeal form, it is eternal. The fetter of the soul has been ascertained to be caused by its bad qualities, and this fetter is called the cause of worldly existence.’ ‘Thus, being ignorant of the Law (spiritual precepts), we formerly did sinful actions, and through our wrong-mindedness we were kept back and retained (from entering the order). We shall not again act in the same way.’”
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