Article: Cheda-sūtras

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Chapter 1

This detail of a manuscript painting shows a monk offering forgiveness to a junior. Repentance – pratikramaṇa – is the most important of the six 'obligatory actions' – āvaśyaka – mendicants perform each day

Scenes of forgiveness
Image by Wellcome Trust Library © Wellcome Library, London

The first chapter deals with confession and contrition. The Prakrit term sallaSanskrit śalya – means a dart or a thorn and is very commonly used in the context of monastic rules and atonements. The thorns are sins that have not been confessed and thus continue to prick the heart. This explains why confession is so important – the first of all atonements. It should be true and complete, not trying to hide anything. Its result is pure knowledge. The ritualof confession is preceded by prayers before Jina images or incantations. It is stated in this chapter that for nuns confession is not sufficient and has to be completed by other atonements.

Chapter 2

The ‘Kamma-vivāga-vivaraṇa’ describes the basics of karma doctrine and the necessity of blocking the influx of karmaāsrava. It is devoted to the consequences of evil deeds, such as violence. Emphasis is put on the breaking of chastity and the danger to monks which women represent. Again the reader’s attention is drawn to confession and repentance.

Chapter 3

The highlights of chapter 3 are:

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