Jain Study Guide: - Method of Study, Sequence of Study, What to Study & Why?
The ultimate purpose of studying Jain Texts is to achieve nirvana (moksh) by self-experience (sva-anubhuti).
This guide is to enable the beginner to understand:
- Method: What is the Method of studying any Jain Books (Shastras)?
- Sequence: In what Sequence should these books be studied?
- What & Why: What books to study and Why these specific books should be studied?
With this understanding, self-experience becomes possible.
Method of studying Jain Books
- One should not just read Jain books. They are not meant for just reading.
They are meant for serious studying i.e. one should read and then think on what is being said to understand the meaning. Special attention should be paid to any logic being presented.
- Then whilst studying, even if you are able to study only a single gatha but you get engrossed in thinking on that topic - don't worry - as that is more purposeful / useful / beneficial. Why?
- Because reading is to enable thinking i.e. the purpose of studying Jain Shastras is to get one to start thinking about the nature of Soul (Jiv) etc. Why?
- By thinking one can make a decision about what the nature of ones self-soul is. Why?
- After making a decision about one's soul's nature, self-experience becomes possible.
- Studying with Pujya Shree Kanji Swami: Any of the books recommended for study in the following sections should be studied by listening to Pujya Shree Kanji Swami's lectures (where available) in the following manner:
- one should first read the gatha/verse etc that Pujya Shree Kanji Swami is going to cover in that lecture. This will get one's mind thinking on the topic. Then listening to the lectures will be even more productive.
- then listen to the lecture whilst reading the word-to-word transcript of the lectures (if available).
- then re-read the gatha/verse etc that Pujya Shree Kanji Swami covered.
- Purpose of study - Remember:
- reading is to enable thinking,
- thinking is to make a decision,
- making a decision is to achieve self-experience.
1. Notes on Study guide
- This study guide has been collated from Pujya Shree Lalchandbhai Amarchand Modi's London Home series of lectures numbered 5 & 6. If you find any errors please inform us (e-mail given at bottom of page).
- Pujya Shree Lalchandbhai Amarchand Modi's London Hall series of 18 lectures is a fantastic introduction to Jainism. The London Home series of lectures are in a question answer format and give introductory and in-depth knowledge.
- If you can not read gujarati or hindi then efforts should be made to learn them (especially gujarati) as much of the source material, especially word-to-word lectures are in these languages. To help one get started one can study the books in English available on AtmaDharma.com
2. Sequence to study books, What books & Why?
In the following sections:
- the Sequence of Study,
- What to Study &
- Why to Study these books
2.1. For Jain Terminology:
So that one can understand Jain Terminology - Jain Siddhant Praveshika
should be studied once, twice or thrice. The purpose is not to memorise the words and definitions but to understand their meanings so that one can begin to understand other Jain Shastras.
Jain Siddhant Praveshika
contains definitions of many words like:
- Dravya, Goon, Pariyay,
- Nischay, Vyvhaar,
- Upadan, Nimit,
- What are Jiv's Samanya Goons and Vishesh Goons
- And may other important topics
This book should be considered essential for all beginners and and as a Jain Dictionary.
All Beginners should either study this with others or by themselves.
By studying this one will be able to understand Jain terminology and thus be able to understand the meanings of many other shastras.
Note that a shorter book compiled from this shastra is also available in English called Lagghu Jain Siddhant Praveshika
. However the reader should always endevour to read Jain Siddhant Praveshika
(Gujarati or Hindi version) as this has been written by a Gnaani (self-experienced soul).
2.2. General Knowledge
To make one capable of studying other Jain shastras one should read Moksh Marg Prakashak
. Why? Because it will:
- give general knowledge about Jain dharma.
- give rise to the belief in true Dev (God), Dharma/Shastra and Guru and rejection of belief of false Dev, Dharma/Shastra and Guru. Moksh Mark Prakashak gives a detailed logical analysis of all faiths in Chapter 5 leading to one being released from belief of False Dev/Devis.
- give rise to an understanding of the mistakes each soul makes in the 9 tattvas (essentials).
- give a lot of other information in its question/answer style format.
- give a good understanging of the nature of Nischay Nai and the Vyvhaar Nay. And which Nai is to be believed as true and which Nai is not to be believed as true.
The 7th Chapter is also very useful - Pujya Shree Kanji Swami lectured on this chapter - the audio lectures
are available in MP3 from AtmaDharma.com online and in word-to-word text format in Moksh No Svatantra Marg
- in PDF book format also on AtmaDharma. Some audio lectures on chapter 1 & 4
are also available.
2.3. Detailed knowledge on specific topics:
To obtain a greater understanding of some of the main topics/terminology, read other small books such as:
- Mool Ma Bhool - detailed knowledge of Upadan and Nimit and the mistakes we make in understand them.
- Bhed Vignaan Saar - compiled (not word-to-word) lectures by Pujya Shree Kanji Swami on the topic of Bhed Vignaan (Science of understanding the self substance as being separate from the non-self substances).
- Chhah Dhala - From this one will learn:
This book has been described as a ocean in a tiny pot .. i.e. contains a lot of information in a small book. Study this with Pujya Shree Kanji Swami using the audio lectures & Chha Dhala Pravachan series of books (parts 1-3).
- the painful (dukh) nature of the 4 gatis and
- the method of becoming free of the that pain (dukh).
- Bruhad Dravya Sangrah - One will obtain a lot of further general knowldge reading this shastra. There are also some audio lectures by Pujya Shree Kanji Swami available on this shastra.
- Samaysaar Kalash Tika - an adhyatmik shastra with specific emphasis on the method of self-experience detailed in a simple to understand format. Study this with Pujya Shree Kanji Swami using the audio lectures & Kalash Amrut series of books.
2.4. In-Depth Knowledge:
As your ability to read and understand the meanings grows the following main Jain texts should be studied:
One should also watch/listen to Lalchandbhai's Audio & Video lectures
recorded in India
(not just the London lectures
) - these go into the deepest concepts in an easy to grasp manner and are specifically focused on understanding the soul & how to achieve self-experience.
Lastly do R E M E M B E R