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Theravada Buddhist monk, Thailand. Jainism has developed and refined the non-violence ' Ahimsa doctrine to an extraordinary degree where it is an integral part of the Jain culture. In Theravada monastic tradition, a monk should eat whatever is placed in his bowl when receiving food. Although both Buddhists and Jain had orders of nuns, Buddhist Pali texts record the Buddha saying that a woman has the ability to obtain nirvana in the dharma and Vinaya. Jains believe in the existence of an eternal Jiva soul , [33] whereas Buddhism denies the concept of self jiva or soul atman , proposing the concept of no-self anatta instead.

The Anekantavada doctrine is another key difference between Jainism and Buddhism. The Buddha taught the Middle Way, rejecting extremes of the answer "it is" or "it is not" to metaphysical questions.

Ascetic Figures Before And In Early Buddhism The Emergence Of Gautama As The Buddha

The Mahavira, in contrast, accepted both "it is" and "it is not", with "perhaps" qualification and with reconciliation. Jainism discourages monks and nuns from staying in a single place for a long time, with the exception of 4 months in the rainy season chaturmas. Thus most of the time the Jain monks and nuns keep wandering, staying in a place for just a few days. Some Theravada Buddhist monks also observe vassa rules, but often they stay in one monastery. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.

Home FAQ Contact. Buddhism and Jainism Wikipedia open wikipedia design. Part of a series on Jainism Jain prayers. Ethics of Jainism Sallekhana. Major figures. Major sects. Diwali Mahavir Jayanti Paryushana Samvatsari. Dharma Concepts. Buddhist texts. Buddhism by country.

Arahants, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas – Bhikkhu Bodhi

Buddha with Mucalinda Naga, Sri Lanka. Jain Stupa, Kankali Tila. Buddhist stupa worship, Sanchi. Digambara Jain monk, India. Religion portal. Jainism and Buddhism, in Buswell, Robert E. Prebish Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Exploring Buddhism. Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. For Buddhism, the results are slight. Jains and Jain scholars have more to lose. But even the Buddha's own chronological positioning is a matter for continuing debate, with opinions ranging over at least two centuries Prebish To anchor one historically uncertain figure to the provisional dates set out for another equally uncertain one does not appear to be a fruitful strategy.

There is little evidence of this happening. It is of course the case that a text that is accurate on one count may be inaccurate on another. Jesus Seminar scholars, for example, seek to create a picture of the historical Jesus while discounting references to miracles. But this is not the case here. Jain scholarship has uncritically accepted a traditional, religious identification, while failing to note discrepancies that call that identification into question. Both issues are at stake.

Jain scholarship would no doubt survive the process. If we could have assurance that the two figures were in fact one and the same, it would still be the responsible thing to do to present these findings to the Jain community and let that community deal with it. But we have no such assurance, only a traditional acceptance of the identification that scholarship has incorporated uncritically and which we now have reason to doubt.

The validity of his teachings, in the religious sense of the term, are borne out in the generations of Jains that have lived and died within its embrace over the centuries. Bokhale, B. New Light on Early Buddhism. Chatterjee, S. Datta An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Kolkata: University of Calcutta. Dundas, P. The Jains. Second Edition. New York: Routledge. Eliade, M. From Primitives to Zen.

A Thematic Sourcebook of the History of Religions. London: Fount. Geen, J. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79,1: Gopalan, S. Outlines of Jainism. Jacobi, H. Jaina Sutras. Part I.

Ascetic Figures Before and in Early Buddhism

Oxford: Clarendon Press. Jaini, J. Jaini, P. The Jaina Path of Purification. Keith, A.

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Mahavira and the Buddha. Bulletin of the School of Oriental Studies 6,4: Malalasekera, G. Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. Prebish, C. Journal of Buddhist Ethics Schubring, W. But, this sutta asserts, they both walk the same path and attain the same final goal. Thus, according to this sutta and others of the same genre, the Buddha is distinguished from the arahant disciples, not by some categorical difference in their respective attainments, but by his role: he is the first one in this historical epoch to attain liberation, and he serves as the incomparable teacher in making known the way to liberation.

They are both suvimutta, fully liberated. As the first to accomplish all these worthy achievements, the Buddha fulfills two functions. First, he serves as an example, the supreme example; almost every aspect of his life is exemplary, but above all, his very person demonstrates the possibility of attaining perfect freedom from the fetters of the mind, complete release from suffering, release from the pitfalls of birth and death.

Second, as aforesaid, he serves as the guide, the one who knows the path and can teach it in its most intricate details. He admonishes them to strive as diligently as a man whose turban is on fire would strive to put out the fire. Those who extinguish greed, hatred, and delusion are arahants. Nevertheless, it would hardly be correct to say that temporal priority is the only thing that distinguishes the Buddha from the arahants.

To bring out the difference, I want to take two stock formulas that occur many times in the texts, one for the Buddha and one for the arahants. There are nine epithets here.

Of these nine, four are also used for arahant disciples: arahant, possessed of true knowledge and conduct, a fortunate one, enlightened; five are used exclusively for the Buddha: perfectly enlightened one, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Blessed One. Even the epithets signifying knowledge are intended to establish him as a reliable authority; that is, by reason of his wisdom or knowledge, he is someone whom others can trust as a source of guidance.

He is perfect in all respects, and the most important of his perfections is his ability to teach the Dhamma in ways that are best suited to the capacities of those who come to him for guidance. His teaching is always exactly suited to the capacities of those who seek his help, and when they follow his instructions, they receive favourable results, whether it be merely the gain of faith or the attainment of liberation. Other arahants can certainly teach, and many do teach groups of disciples.

Nevertheless, as teachers they do not compare with the Buddha. This is so in at least two respects: first, the Dhamma they teach others is one that comes from the Buddha, and thus ultimately the Buddha is the source of their wisdom; and second, their skills in teaching never match in all respects the skills of the Buddha, who is the only one who knows the path in its entirety. The Buddha can function so effectively as a teacher because his attainment of enlightenment—the knowledge of the four noble truths which culminates in the destruction of the defilements—entails the acquisition of several other types of knowledge that are considered special assets of a Buddha.

Such types of knowledge enable the Buddha to understand the mental proclivities and capacities of any person who comes to him for guidance and to teach that person in the particular way that will prove most beneficial, taking full account of his or her character and personal circumstances. Thus we can see the respects in which the Buddha and disciple arahants share certain qualities, above all their liberation from all defilements and from all bonds connecting them to the round of rebirths.

And we also see how the Buddha is distinguished from his disciples, namely by: 1 the priority of his attainment, 2 his function as teacher and guide, and 3 his acquisition of certain qualities and modes of knowledge that enable him to function as teacher and guide. He also has a physical body endowed with thirty-two excellent characteristics and with other marks of physical beauty.

These inspire confidence in those who rely on beauty of form.


This path emerges only in documents that start to appear at least a century after his passing. Now since the Buddha is distinguished from his liberated disciples in the ways sketched above, it seems almost self-evident that in his past lives he must have followed a preparatory course sufficient to issue in such an exalted state, namely, the course of a bodhisattva. These passages suggest, to the contrary, that his attainment of buddhahood was already prepared for in his previous births.

When he is born, he is first received by deities, and streams of water pour forth from the sky to wash him and his mother. The gods sing songs of delight, declaring that the bodhisattva has arisen for the welfare and happiness of the human world Sn Nevertheless, given that the law of cause and result operates in the spiritual dimensions of the human domain as much as in any other domain—and given, too, the extraordinary stature that the early texts ascribe to a Buddha—it seems virtually impossible that at any point in its history of self-reflection Buddhist tradition could have regarded someone as capable of this attainment without an adequate preparatory background, that is, without having made a deliberate effort over many lives to reach the supreme state of buddhahood.

Whenever monastic disciples come to the Buddha to make inquires about the practice, they ask for guidance in following the path to arahantship.

What are the Key Pali Suttas? Buddhism Explained : Robert A.F. Thurman

We never read of a distinction between monks following a path to arahantship and monks on a bodhisattva path. Mention is often made of lay disciples who attain the three lower stages of liberation, from stream-entry to non-returning. Those who lack the potential for world-transcending attainments aim at a heavenly rebirth or at a fortunate rebirth back into the human realm. But we do not read of a lay disciple treading the bodhisattva path, much less of a dichotomy between monastic arahants and lay bodhisattvas.

And why is the Buddha never seen exhorting his followers to take up the bodhisattva path? The questions themselves seem perfectly legitimate, but none of the answers that one might offer is perfectly satisfactory. One explanation that might be given is that there were instances when this happened but they were filtered out by the compilers of the texts because such teachings were not consistent with the teachings aimed at arahantship.

This hypothesis seems unlikely because, if discourses on the path to buddhahood had the imprint of genuine teachings of the Buddha, it is improbable that the monks compiling the texts would have omitted them. Another explanation is that in the earliest phase of Buddhism, the pre-textual phase, the Buddha was simply regarded as the first arahant who taught the path to arahantship and he did not differ significantly from those among his arahant disciples who possessed the three higher types of knowledge and the iddhis, the supernormal powers.

This position, however, seems to strip away from the Buddha that which is most distinctive about him: his uncanny ability to reach deep into the hearts of those who came to him for guidance and teach them in the unique way suitable for their characters and situations. In the final analysis, I have to confess that I cannot provide a cogent explanation.

Most of this emphasis comes from the Buddha himself in the form of injunctions to his disciples, but we have little reason to doubt that this advice was heeded. In other suttas the Buddha urges all those who know the four foundations of mindfulness to teach their relatives and friends about them; and the same is said about the four factors of stream-entry and the four noble truths SN , — 17, Among the important qualities of an outstanding monk are abundant learning and skill in expounding the Dharma, two qualities that are directly relevant to the benefiting of others.

Also, we must remember that the Buddha established a monastic order bound by rules and regulations designed to make it function as a harmonious community, and these rules often demand the renouncing of self-interest for the sake of the larger whole. Many prominent lay followers converted their colleagues and neighbours to the Dharma and guided them in right practice. During this period, two significant developments of the Buddha concept occurred. First, the number of Buddhas was increased; and second, the Buddhas came to be endowed with increasingly more exalted qualities.

These developments occurred somewhat differently in the different Buddhist schools, but certain common features united them. Since cosmic time is without any discernible beginning or conceivable end, the inference was drawn that there must have been even earlier Buddhas, and thus the number of past Buddhas was increased. Stories about some of these entered into circulation and brought them to life. He came to possess numerous miraculous powers.

Legends and stories entered into circulation describing the wonderful ways he taught and transformed others. These stories increased exponentially, painting a picture of the Buddha as the incredibly resourceful teacher who redeems from misery and delusion people of every type. He breaks the pride of haughty brahmins; he brings consolation to distraught mothers and wretched widows; he dispels the complacency of proud warriors and beautiful courtesans; he outdoes clever scholars in debates and rival ascetics in feats of supernormal powers; he teaches avaricious millionaires the wonders of generosity; he inspires diligence in heedless monks; he wins the reverence of kings and princes.

As Buddhist devotees looked back on their deceased Master and pondered the question of what accounted for his extraordinary greatness, in no long time they realized that what was most outstanding about him was his boundless compassion.

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Not content with confining his compassionate concern for others to a single life, they saw it as spread out over innumerable lives in the chain of samsaric existence. The keynote of the most memorable of these stories is service and self-sacrifice. It was by serving others and sacrificing himself for their good that the bodhisattva earned the merits and acquired the virtues that entitled him to attain buddhahood. This ideal emerged from a different starting point than Early Buddhism. It was cast against a different visionary background. Further, it treats these as the paradigm for practice.

That is, it sees this process, not merely as a description of the path that a Buddha follows, but as a recommendation of the path that his true disciples could follow, perhaps even the path that they should follow. These devotees remained members of sectarian Buddhist communities and probably had not yet even become conscious of themselves as branching off to form a new tradition.