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Browsing: Yati-pratikramaṇa with commentary (MS. Sansk. d. 310)

Image: Blank page with library stamp

Title: Blank page with library stamp

Source:
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
Shelfmark:
MS. Sansk. d. 310
Author:
unknown
Date of creation:
1663
Folio number:
1 recto
Total number of folios:
13
Place of creation:
western India
Language:
Prākrit and Sanskrit
Medium:
ink on paper
Size:
25 x 10 cm
Copyright:
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
JAINpedia Copyright Information

Background

Repentance – pratikramaṇa – is one of the fundamental religious acts in the lives of Jain mendicants and lay people alike. This manuscript deals with monastic repentance – yati-pratikramaṇa. Performed in the presence of the mendicant’s religious teacher or superior, the ceremony of pratikramaṇa involves reciting formulas in Prakrit and making ritual gestures, such as bowing down and joining hands in respect. The culprit first expresses the wish to confess past transgressions and to improve.

The oldest text where the repentance formulas appear is the Āvaśyaka-sūtra, written in Ardhamāgadhī Prakrit. The areas of religious life where monks and nuns may fail are listed according to number. For example, mendicants should repent of lapses involving the:

Given their centrality in religious life, it is no wonder that the repentance formulas have been commented and expanded on in many forms and many languages, whether Sanskrit or the vernaculars. This manuscript is an extensive commentaryvṛtti – in Sanskrit. It quotes phrases from the original Prakrit, and then explains them at length.

Glossary

Gupti
'Self control'. There are three types of restraint relating to this:
  • mind - manas
  • speech - vacas
  • body - kāya.
The guptis are intended to minimise using the mind, body or speech for spiritually unimportant purposes or even aimlessly.
Pratikramaṇa
'Introspection’ in Sanskrit. The elaborate ritual of confession and repentance that involves reciting liturgical texts and performing set gestures at dawn and dusk. It is one of an ascetic's six daily duties – āvaśyaka. For many lay people, pratikramaṇa is the essence of Jainism.
Samiti
Carefulness, which has five aspects. Ascetics can reduce accidental violence by being careful and observing rules in these five areas:
  • motion – īryā
  • speech – bhāṣā
  • cooking, eating and begging for food – eṣaṇā
  • lifting and placing items, moving things – ādānanikśepaṇa
  • disposing of bodily waste – pariṣṭhāpana.
Ṣaṭ-jīvanikāya
The six kinds of living beings distinguished in Jainism:
  • earth-bodies
  • water-bodies
  • fire-bodies
  • air-bodies
  • plants
  • moving beings
They all have to be respected and not injured or destroyed.
Ascetic
Someone who withdraws from ordinary life to meditate and practise physical hardships in order to advance spiritually. Jain ascetics or mendicants beg for food from devout lay followers and wander the land. Also used as an adjective to describe the practice of rigorous, even extreme, physical hardships in the belief that it leads to a higher spiritual condition.
Penance
A voluntary action undertaken to make up for a sin or breach of a religious principle, frequently an act of self-punishment or physical hardship.
Rite
A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases.
Sanskrit
A classical language of India, originally used by priests and nobility. Sanskrit has a rich literary and religious tradition. With only a few thousand native speakers nowadays, it is predominantly used in Hindu religious ceremonies and by scholars.
Prākrit
A term for any of the dead vernacular languages of ancient and medieval India. It may be contrasted with classical Sanskrit, the language used by priests and the aristocracy. The Jains used a large variety of Prakrits, with the Jain canon written chiefly in Ardhamāgadhī Prākrit.
Ardhamāgadhī Prākrit
A dialect of the Prākrit language used for many Śvetāmbara Jain scriptures.
Commentary
An essay explaining a text. Commentaries on the scriptures are common in the Jain tradition and there are various types, including the:
  • bālāvabodha
  • bhāṣya
  • cūrṇi
  • niryukti
  • ṭīkā.
Confession
Acknowledgement or declaration of the truth of a statement. In religious terms, it usually refers to admitting sin or wrongdoing to at least one other person in a ritual. It is normally a necessary step before absolution, which is formal release from guilt or consequences of wrongdoing.
Vernacular
The everyday or common language spoken by people in a particular country or region, often contrasting with the literary form or the national or official language. Similarly, vernacular architecture reflects local conditions and conventions more than other considerations, such as national or international design trends, and may be built by non-professional architects.
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