Article: Five 'fundamental vows'

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

3. Non-stealing

The third vow – asteya-vrata – means not just never stealing, but never taking what is not directly offered. For mendicants, this refers to alms and monastic equipment. For lay people, this means items obtained through honest business practices and inheritance.

Absolute vow of non-stealing

This manuscript painting of Matisāra's version of the Śālibhadra story shows the two monks Dhanya and Śālibhadra accepting alms from a milk-woman. Their white robes and wooden staffs indicate they belong to the Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjaka sect.

Dhanya and Śālibhadra accept alms
Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

According to this vow, Jain mendicants can only take alms that lay people offer to them correctly. They should not:

  • accept things that are not permitted, such as unsuitable clothing or food that is cooked especially for alms-giving
  • indicate that they would prefer something else from what they are offered.

Limited vow of non-stealing

Lay Jains should be honest in all their dealings with other people, which is particularly important in business.

EXT:contentbrowse Processing Watermark

Contents

Related Manuscripts

Related Manuscript Images

http://www.jainpedia.org/themes/principles/vows/five-fundamental-vows/contentpage/4/index.html - All text is © JAINpedia / Institute of Jainology 2021 under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence The Jain universe online at www.jainpedia.org

Unless images are explicitly stated as either public domain or licensed under a Creative Commons licence, all images are copyrighted. See individual images for details of copyright.