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Idea of Karma in Jainism BY krtsttnJ608 The Idea of Karma in Jainism Jainism is the one of the oldest practiced religions in the world. “Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation” (“Jainism: Karma”)Limiting the use of natural resources of the land and following the three Jewels or governing principals of the religion obtains the goals of this religion. There are another five governing principles called the five mahavratas. These are named after the founder of modern day Jainism.

The main goal of Jainism is to become liberated. The only way to become liberated is to eliminate all karma from the soul. Since the only way to become liberated is to remove karma, karma plays an essential role in the religion of Jainism. Karma is a universal idea in most eastern religions but has a much more elaborate meaning in Jainism. Karma is defined as “the mechanism that determines the quality of life. The happiness of a being’s present life is the result of the moral quality of the actions of the being in its previous life (“Jainism: Karma”).

Karma is an idea found in most religions that believe in reincarnation. The idea and definition of karma differs etween religions and regions that it is found in. In Jainism karma is a way to make sense of the good and the evil within people and within the world. In this religion karma is not determined by any higher powers. Karma is strictly based off the good and bad deeds and is believed to be a physical substance. It is thought of as a physical substance because this religion is a self-help type of religion.

There are no gods or angels that are present and help in the Judging of character and other personal endeavors. The physical being of karma is present everywhere in the universe according to Jainism. Karma particles are attracted to the Jiva (soul) by the actions of that Jiva” (“Jainism: Karma”) The simplest way of describing the physical being is a comparison to little atomic particles or dust particles. The particles get attached to the soul or Jiva when people do bad things. It is considered a snowball effect. The more negative and bad things a person does in their life the more karma they attract.

Along with the more karma they attract they start to become a more negative being. The negative being that the person becomes then attracts even more karma and it gets bigger and bigger. The more negative karma attracted the harder it is to become liberated and break the cycle of reincarnation. There are only two ways to avoid karma. The two ways of avoiding karma are “behaving well and having the right mental state” (“Jainism: Karma”). When behaving well karma is not formed in the first place because no bad deeds attract it the soul.

When a bad deed is done and a person has the right mental state the karma is immediately forgiven or does not stay on the soul because of the person’s strong mental state. In Jainism the best chance of reaching liberation is avoiding attracting karma because it is easier to void karma rather than fix karma that already has been placed on the soul of the person. The only way to get rid of karma in Jainism is to live life according to the Jain vows (Shah). The Jain vows are broken into three categories the five Anuvratas, three Gunavratas, ana Tour SlsKsavratas.

I nese conslsts 0T ways to live everyday IITe sucn as non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, non-possession, limited area of activity, limited use of resources, avoidance of pointless sins, meditation vows, limited duration of activity vows, limited ascetic’s life vows, and limited charity vows. By living out these Jain vows karma will be removed from the soul or Jiva. Also some karma expires after it causes misfortune or suffering to a person who has done a bad deed or broken some of the many vows. The amount of karma received depends strictly on how bad the sin was.

Because karma plays such a major role in this religion karma is divided into two groups, destructive and non-destructive karma (Shah). Destructive karma directly affects the soul. It hinders the soul’s perception, energy, knowledge, and can also deceive the soul into seeing and not seeing the good in life and people. The four types of destructive karma are: mohaniya-karma, Jnana-avaraniya-karma, darshan-avarniya-karma, and antaraya-karma. Mohaniya-karma is responsible for all delusions in the soul or Jiva. It prevents the Jiva from seeing the true intentions of people and certain events in the world.

It also helps the Jiva hold onto false beliefs and prevents the person from living a correct life. The Jnana-avaraniya-karma is the one responsible for the obstruction of knowledge. It prevents the Jiva from connecting with its intellect and senses. It clouds Judgement and decision making when weighing heavy on the Jiva. It also prevents the Jiva from understanding the truth and it blocks the all-knowing qualities of the Jiva as well. Next is the darshan- avarniya-karma, which interferes with perception. This karma affects perception through the senses and is seen as comparable to Jnana-avaraniya-karma.

They are very similar except for the fact that darshan-avarniya-karma changes how the situation is seen as a whole rather than how the situation is handled. The last destructive karma is antaraya-karma which interferes with energy of the soul. This karma interferes with all of the good acts that the Jiva wants to commit through aziness and other forms of sloth. These are the karmas that take time to rid the Jiva of because they are brought in large amounts, and the Jiva carries over the karma from one life to the next.

Nondestructive karmas are the karmas responsible for the physical and mental state or a person after rebirth, the person’s pleasurable and nonpleasurable sensations, and lastly their spiritual potential. These do not directly affect the soul of the human being. Vendaniya karma is responsible for the feelings and sensations of the being. It determines whether someone has a pleasurable or npleasurable feeling in certain situations. Next is nama-karma, which is responisble for the physical being of the person in re-birth.

Depending on the amount of nama- karma that exists the physical health of the person being reborn is determined from a normal healthy person to a person with many defects and disabilities. There is also ayu-karma, which is the factor that determines how long a being is going to live in their new life after their rebirth. The life span changes based off of the amount of karma that exists. The last nondestructive karma is gotra-karma, which determines he status of the person in their new life. It can make someone a beggar or someone royalty depending on the amount of karma the being attracted (Shah).

The nondestructive karmas are still very important even though they do not directly affect the soul because they can make the circumstances of following the Jain vows very easy or very difficult. All together karma is a main part of the Jainism religion and is one 0T tne most Interesting aspects 0T tne rellglon. Jalnlsm Is one 0T tne oldest religions in the world along with the most complex definitions of karma in all of the religions. The main goal of Jainism is to reach enlightenment by removing all karma from the Jiva or soul.

Having knowledge of all eight different karmas and paying attention to how a being lives their life helps people reach the final stage of Jainism and live a very rewarding life. It is one of the strictest religions in existence but provides an amazing understanding of life and appreciation of life through the different ideas of karma and through the Jain vows. Works Cited “Jatntsm: Karma. ” BBC Religions. BSC, 09 oct 2009. web. 11 oct 2013.. Shah, Anand. “Welcome to Jainism. org. ” Jain Religion. N. p. , 121 Nov 2011. Web. 11 Oct 2013. .

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