Make your own free website on

Jainism in Buddhist Literature
                                                                By Dr. Hiralal Jain

Jain Friends Home   Books Index  Articles Index

Jain Friends


The Theory of Anekantavada 

1. The Nature of Reality (Anekantavada)

Anekantvada is the heart of Jaina philosophy. Reality possesses infinite characters which cannot be perceived or known at once by an ordinary man. Different people think about different aspects of the same reality and therefore their partial findings are contradictory to one other. Hence, they indulge in debates claiming that each of them was completely true. The Jaina philosophers thought ove this conflict and tried to reveal the whole truth by establishing the theory of non-absolutist stndpoint (anekantavada) with its two wings, Nayavada and Syadvada.

There are two mutually distinct and fundamental standpoints from which all things can be considered. They are universalization and particularization. Universalization starts with the observation on a synthetic basis of similarities, and gradually reacts the level where distinction exists and finally concludes that any object of consciousness is in reality an element. On the other hand, Particularization is based on observation of dissimilarities which finally leads one to the conclusion that the universe is but a conglommeration of completely dissimilar existences.

These two standpoints have given rise to several other conceptions in Indian Philosophy. They can be classified into five principal categories1 as follows :

(i) the conception of identity.

(ii) the conception of difference.

(iii) the conception of subordinating difference to identity.

(iv) the conception of subordinating identity to difference and

(v) the conception of identity-in-difference. 

(i) The conception of identity

The conception of identity means that all things are permanent, homogenous and universal as in Vedanta. Here the Brahman is considered to transform itself into the universe and to re-absorb the universe into itself. It is called the Brahmadvaitavada or ekatvavada, vikaravada or Brahmaparinama-vada, which realized brahman as the basic realty. Later on, Sankara established a theory called vivartavada which means that an effect is a false or apparent transformation. According to this, the brahman is the sole reality and universe is intrinsically unreal (mithya). 

(ii) The conception of difference

The Buddhist philosophy represents this view. It asserts that everything is impermanent, soulless and a cause of pain (sabbam aniccam, sabbam anattam, sabbam dukkham). The conception of anatta or nairatmya establishes asatkaryavada. Reality is momentary and flexible since it transforms into modes in a moment. The imagination (kalpana) is the cause of the co-relation of modes which leads to casual efficiency (arthakriya). The Sunyavada, Ksanikavada etc. are co-related with this doctrine. 

(iii) The conception of subordinating difference to identity

The Sankhya upholds the view of subordinating difference which means that the nature of reality is a plurality of the statically permanent (kutasthanitya) and the dynamically constant (parinamanitya). The Purusa (self) is kutasthanitya, while the Prakrti is parinamanitya. Owing to different combinations of three gunas (sat, rajas, and tamas), Prakrti is transformed into modes, while the Purusa ramains unchanged. The causes and effects are not entirely identical, but different in certain respects. Its fundamental principal Satkaryavada, that affirms the pre-existence of the effect in the cause, is based on the non-distinction (abhedavada), which is considered to be different from the arambhavada of the Nyaya-Vaisesika. 

(iv) The conception of subordinating identity to difference

The Nyaya-Vaisesikas hold the view that the Visesa (the particular) is the prominent feature that distinguishes the elements, and the samavaya (intimate relation) is the cause of relation betwee two inseparabel (ayutasiddha) substances and their modifications. 

(v) The conception of identity-cum-difference

Conflicting views and heated arguments about the nature of reality confused the minds of the people to such a degree that it became essential to reconsider this burning philosophicla question in a conciliatory spirit. This important step was taken by the Jainas and the result was the theory of Anekantavada, which postulates a theory of manifold methods of analysis (Nayavada) and synthesis (Syadvada).

According to Jaina Philosophy, as we have already seen, an entity consists of infinite characteristic which cannot be perceived all at once. Therefore one who perceives a thing partially, must be regarded as knowing one aspect of truth as his position permits him to grasp. Even though he is not in a possession of the entire truth, the aspect he has come to know cannot be altogether disregarded or ignored. The question arises as to how the whole truth of reality could be known. According to jaina stadpoint, all the theories contain a certain degree of genuineness and hence should be accepted from a certain point of view; but the nature of reality in its entirety can be perceived only by means of the theory of manifoldness (anekantavada). The Jaina philosophers synthesize all the opponents views under this theory.

The nature of reality, according to this theory, is permanent-in change. It possesses three common characters, viz. utpada (origination) vyaya (destruction) and dhrauvya (permanence through birth and decay), It also posesses the attributes (gunas) called anvayi, which co-exist with substance (dravya) and modifications (paryayas) called vyatireki, which succed each other. Productivity and destructivity constitute the dynamic aspect of an entity and permanence is its enduring factor. This view is a blended form of the completely static view held by the Vedantins and the completely dynanic view held by the Buddhists.2

Jaina literature3 mentions three different views with regard to th relation of guna and paryaya with a substance (dravya). viz. the bhedavada, abhedavada and the bhedabhedavada. The bhedavada represents the view that the attributes and the modifications are a combination with the substance which gives birth to the triple characters (dravya, guna and paryaya) of an entity.4 Both, guna and paryaya are two distinctive elements in this view. The former is called sahabhavi or intrinsic, while the latter kramabhavi or extrinsic5. This ideology was promulgated by Kundakund, and supported by Umasvami, Samantabhadra and Pujyapada.

According to abhedavada, the gunas and the paryayas are synonymous (tulyarthau) signifying the conception of change inherent in which are both external and internal modificattions of all realities without creating any contradictory position.6 Siddhasena Divakara is the chief supporter of this view and he is supported by Siddhasenagani, Haribhadra and Hemachandra.

The third view bhedabhedavada held by Akalankadeva has been accepted by all his commentators and followers such as Prabhachandra, Vadirajajsuri and Anantavirya. This view appears in more developed and hormonized form and clarifies further the relation between guna and paryaya. While commenting on the Sutra Gunaparyayavaddravyam of the Tattvarthasutra, Akalanka suggests that gunas are themselves a distinct category from, as well as identical with, paryayas7. It means gunas always exist with realities and their modifications which follow one after another. Prabhachandra8 in the Nyayakumudacandra gives a more critical and comprehensive explanation.

All these three views are not fundamentally different from one another, since they unanimously accept the common factors, utpada, vyaya, and dhrauvya simultaneity (sahabhavitva) and modifications with successivity (kramabhavitva). The Buddhist philosophers are familiar with the first and the last view, but they do not make any distinction between them. 

Anekantavada in Buddhist literature

The rudiments of the theory of anekantavada can be gleaned from early Pali literature. The Brahmajala Sutta pointed out the sixty-two Wrong views (Micchaditthis) according to the Buddhistic standpoint. Out of them, the Ucchedavada (nihilism) and Sassatavada (Eternalims), Buddhaghosa says, were taught by Nigantha Nataputta to two of his pupils just before his death9.

This account of Buddhaghosa cannot be accepted as true since he had quite understandably misunderstood the teachings of Nigantha Nataputta. Buddhaghosa had not been fully conversant with all aspects of anekantavada and he had thought that Nigantha Nataputta had taught contradictory doctrines. This is quite understndable because the theory of permanence in-changa which forms the basis of the Anekantavada is completely at variance with the Buddhist theory which accepts only change. Due to this difficulty thoughts of Nigantha Nataputta are considered in Pali literature under the headings Sassatavada and Ucchedavada.

Rudiments of Anekantavada are traceable in the Buddhist approach to questions: Pali literature10 describes how he answered a question in four ways. The four ways are :

(i) Ekamsa-vyakaranya (answerable categorically).

(ii) Patipucchavyakaraniya (nswerable by putting another question).

(iii) Thapaniya (question that should be set aside).

(iv) Vibhajjavyakaraniya (answerable analytically).

The Buddha, who adopted these techniques in answering numerous metaphysical and ethical questions put to him by various disciples and disputants, himself claims to be a Vibhajjvadin.11 The Sutrakrtanga of the Jainas requires the Jaina monk to explain a problem with the help of Vibhajjavada.12 It shows that the Jainas as well as the Buddhists followed the analytical method of explanation. It is possible that the earliest division of the above questions was divides into ekamsavya-karaniya-panha, and (2) anekamsavyakaraniya-panha corresponding to the Jaina classification of two kinds of statements (ekamsika dhamma and anekamsika dhamma). Leter, the latter class would have been sub-divided into the (i) vibhajja-vyaka-raniya and the (ii) thapaiya. Patipuccha-vyakaraniya is a subclass of vibhajja-vyakaraniya.13

A point to be noted here is that the Buddha used the word anekamsa in his preachings, For instance, in reply to a question asked by Potthapada, the Buddha says "I have taught and laid down doctrines of which it is possible to make categorical assertions and I have taught and laid down doctrines of which it is not possible to make categorical assertions" ekamsika pi......maya dhamma desita pannatta14, anekamsika pi......maya dhamma desita pannatta). Here anekamsika, like Vibhajjavada, is similar to Anekantavada of Jainas. The etymology and meaning are also similar. But the difference between these two theories is that the Jainism accepts all statements to possess some relative (anekantika) truth, while the Buddhism does not accept that all non-categorical statements (anekamsika) can be true or false from one or more stadpoints. Pandita Durvekamisra, in the Hetubindutikaloka, summarized this concept as follows: Syacchabdo `nekantavacano nityatosti tena syadvaao anekantvado yadva syadaksanikah syadksanika ityadi......).15 A developed form of this doctrine is referred to in a later Sanskrit Buddhist philosophical literature. As we have already seen, this theory continued develop still further up to the time of Kundakunda.

After Kundakunda, Samantabhadra tries to explain it further with the help of examples. This is referred to by Karnakagomin in the Pramanavartika Svavrttitika16 and Durvekamisra in the Hetubindutikaloka. According to Smantabhadra, the triple characters abide with a substance at one and the same time. They are not mutually independent. Utpada can never exist without vyaya and dhrauvya. The other two characters too are mutually dependent. Samantabhadra uses an example to clarify this view. If a jar made of gold is turned into a crown it will please a man who has an attachment to the crown, but it will displease a man who dislikes the crown, while the third man who is netural about the crown but is interested in the gold, will have no objection to it at all. Here origination, destruction, and permanence abide in one reality. Another example is presented to make this controversial point clearer. He says: he who takes a vow to live on milk, deos not take curd, he who takes a vow to live on curd, does not take milk; and he who takes a vow to live on food other than supplied by a cow, takes neither milk nor curd. Thus Samatabhadra cancludes that utpada, vyaya, and dhrauvya may exist in a relative sense.17 Kundakunda has also given such example in this conneetion.18

The etymology of the word dravya itself indicates that a thing is permanent-in-change taking a new form simultaneously with the disappearance of the previous form.19 This view was also accepted by Durvekamisra according to Krdanta section.20 Santaraksita21 and Arcata22 have also recorded this conception in their respective works. 

Trayatmakavada and Arthakriyavada,

in Buddhist Literature

The arthakriyakaritva (causal efficency) is the essence of the doctrines of bhedavada, Abhedavada, and Bhedabhedavada. The Satkaryavada of Sankhyas, Asatkaryavada of Naiyayikas and Buddhists and Sadasatkaryavada of Jainas are well-known to us in this respect. Here we are concerned only with the views of the Buddhists and Jainas.

The Buddhists assert that the "Particular is the only real element of an entity charactersed as svalaksana (thing-in-it-self). It is supposed to be momentary and a congregation of atoms. A thing accordingly is born and immediately afterwards it is destroyed23. The substance is nirhetuks (devoid of causes) in the sense that it originates without the assistance of cause other than its own cause of origination. Each moment produces another moment destroying itself and thus it presents a sort of continuisyly of existence. Thus if manages to maintain a cause and effect (karyakaranabhava) relationship.

According to Buddhism, Momentariness (ksanabhangurata) and causal efficiency (karya-karanabhava) are inseparable. It treated momentariness, efficiency, causality and reality as synonyms, and hence argued that an entity is momentary because it was efficient and it was efficient because it was momentary. On the basis of this idea, the Buddhists criticise causal efficiency in a permanent thing. They say that entities come into Being either simultaneously (yugapadena) or successively (kramena). But in a permanent thing, both these ways cannot be effective, since they are not able to originate it immediately due to the non-proximity of a cause. In the first alternation, the substance should originate all teh possible effects in the very first moment of its existence. As regards the type of causal efficiency that takes place simultaneously, a permanent thing cannot have any effects, because it can be neither perceived nor inferred. As Santaraksita says, after having brought about all the effects simultaneously, the nature of a thing comprising its capacity of effective action, disappears, and therefore the momentary character of a thing is an essential factor for causal effeciency. Furthermore they point out that auxiliaries (sahakari) must follow the things with which they are connected. These auxiliaries, as a matter of fact, cannot abide with permanent things, because the peculiar condition produced in thing by auxiliaries would neither be simailar nor dissimilar. Ib they make any difference, the efficiency of the permanent thing in producing the cause is compromised and becomes dependent upon other things in order to be effeicient. If, on the coutrary, they are not able to make any difference, the arguments for inoperative and ineffective (akincitkara) elements in a thing have no meaning. The Buddhists, therefore, conclude that causal efficiency is the essence of the simple and unique moments each of which is totally differents from the others.24

On the other hand, the Jainas believe that a substance is dynamic (parinami) in character. It means a thing is eternal from the real standpoint (niscayanayena) and momentary from a practical viewpoint (vyavaharanayena). Causal efficiency, according to them, is possible neither in a thing which is of the static nature (kutasthanitya) nor in a thing which is incongruous with the doctrine of momentariness (ksanikavada), but it is possible only in a thing which is permanent-in-change. To make a clarification of this view, they say that efficiency takes place either successively or simultaneously. Both these alternations cannot be effective in the momentary existence, since the spatial as temporal extension which requires the notion of before and after for efficiency are absent from the momentary thing of the Buddhists. Santana (continuous series) is also not effective in this respect, since it is not momentary in the opinion of the Buddhists.25

This of the Jainas is recorded by Durvekamisra in the Hetubindutikaloka. The writer of the Vadanyaya called Syadvadakesari who is supposed to be the same as Akalankadeva, is said to have defeated the opponents and established the Jaina Nyaya. According to Syadvadakesari, Durvekamisra says, every entity is anaikantika (having infinite characters), which is the basis of arthakriya (casual efficiency). Kulabhusana, a commentator on the Vadanaya, explains this view that the anyathanupapatti is the main character of reality, and arthakriya is possible only in that character.26 He, then on the basis of the above view, tries to point out defects in the theory of absolute momentariness and absolute eternalism stating that causal efficiency is possible in either of these theories of reality. Clarifying his own position, Kulabhusana asks whether momentary character has causal efficiency during its own existence or in another. If the first alternative is accepted, the entire universe would exist only for a moment. The effect produced by a certain cause during its own existence would be a cause of others, despite being caused itself and this sereis will never end. The argument "Cause makes an effect during its own existence and an effect comes into being during the existence of others "is not favoured since an effect is supposed to be originated during the existence of its own cause and not another." Otherwise, an effect cannot take place and there will be the defect of "Samanantarapadavirodha"26, according to which the effects would emerge in the distant future. The next moment is also not powerful to generate the thing, since it is not a creator. Otherwise what would be the difference between sat and asat, and Ksanika and aksanika. We could conclude therefore, the arthakriya is possible only in permanent-in-change character.28

Afterwards, Durvekamisra tries to criticise the view of Syadvadakesari not by advancing arguments but by merely hurling insults. As a matter of fact, whenever the Buddhist philosophers came across people whose views were different to theirs, especially when they could not refute their theories, they resorted to the practice of rediculing them by means of ironical speech. It is in this manner that the arguments of the Jainas against the theory of ksanikavada came to be dismissed by Pandit Durvekamisra with cursory remarks that a wise-man should disregard the above objections raised by the above Anhrikas or Digambaras (yadi namanhrikoktirupeksaniya preksavatam)29. He then tries to show that only the momentary character has a capacity of casual efficiency.

santaraksita also refers to view which seems to belong to the Jaina tradition, but it is attributed to bhadanta Yogasena, who is claimed by certain scholars to be a Buddhist philosopher. For instance, Bhattacarya says in his introduction to the Tattvasangraha that "nothing definite is known about Yogasena; he is not mentioned in the Nanjio's catelogue of the Chinese Tripitaka nor in any of the Tibetan catalogues". He then tries to prove that Yogasena was a Buddhist Philosopher on account of his appellation Bhadanta saying "But the word Bhadanta is always used in the Tattvasangraha to denote a Buddhist, or more preferably a Hinayana Buddhist. Our authors have not made a confusion in this respect anywhere in this book, and on this ground we can take Yogaseena to be a Buddhist.30

But Santaraksita has not indicated anywhere that the word Bhadanta should be limited only to the Buddhist Acaryas. It has been widely used in Jaina literature as a term of respect to elder Bhikkhus. It is, therefore, not impossible that Yogasena was a follower of Jainism or was influenced by its conceptions, as his views against Ksanikavada represent the Jaina standpoint.31 Further Santaraksita did not mention anywhere explicitly the criticism made by Jainas against the Ksanikavada. Moreover, it is unlikely that in such a comprehensive work he should forget to mention the refutation of the Buddhist theory of momentariness by the Jainas, when the Jainas were their greatest opponents.

Some schools of thought opposing the doctrine of momentariness (Ksanabhangavada) were rising even within Buddhist system. For instance, Santaraksita refers to the view of Vatsiputriyas who classified things under two headings momentary and non-momentary.32 The conception of soul, according to them, has also been refuted by santaraksita. Stcher batsky mentions the Vatsiputriyas who admitted the existence of a certain unity between the elements of a living personality. In all probability they have been influenced by the Jaina views as their arguments are very similar to the Jaina arguments raised against the view of Ksanikavada and anatmavada.

There are, however, two important points of difference between the Buddhist and the Jaina in the meaning they attach to dravyavada in their common denunciation of the view which connects this notion of arthakriyakaritva with dravyavada. First, the Buddhist is against dravyavada. Secondly, the Buddhist's attack actually turns out, whatever his profession may be, to be on the hypothesis of the static (kutsthanitya) drayya whereas the Jaina's attack is also on the same hypothesis but only as a contrast to his own theory of the dynamic (parinami) dravya.34 We have already discussed the Jainas view against ekantadravyavada. 

Dual character of an entity

Some systems of thought accept only the Universal (Samanya) character of reality. Advaitavadins and the Sankhyas are the typical representatives of this view. Some other schols led by the Buddhists recognise only Particular (Visesa) character of reality. The third school of thought belongs to Nyaya-Vaisesikas, who treat Universal and Particular (Samanya and Visesa) as absolutely distinctive entities.

Santaraksita first establishes the Jainistic view on the nature of reality. He says that according to Jainism, an entity has infinite characteristics which are divided into two categories, viz. Universal and Particular. Just as different colours can exist in a lustous gem without conflicting with each other, so the universal and particular elements could abide in a reality.35

We find two kinds of existence in an entity, viz. existence of own nature (Svarupastiva) and existence of the similar nature of others (Sadrasyastitva). The former tries to separate the similar (sajatiya) and dissimilar (vijatiya) substances and indicates their independence. This is called Vertical Universal (urdhvatasamanya), which represents unity (anugatapratyaya) in pluralitv of different conditions (vyavrttapratyaya) of the same individual. In other words, the permanent character of an entity is called urdhvatasamanya.36 Sadisyastitva, the so-called Tiryaksamanya (horizontal), represents unity in the plurality of different individuals of the same class.37 The word cow is used to denote a particular cow and it also refers to others of the same class, because of similarity.38 Likewise, Visesa is also of two kinds, Paryaya and Vyatireka. The former distinguishes the two modes of same entity, while the latter makes a distincition between the two separate entities.

Thus each and every reality is universalized-cum-particularzed (samanya-visesatmaka) along with substance with modes (dravyaparyayatmaka). Here dravya represents the universal character and paryaya represents the particular character of a thing. The adjective Samanya-visesatmaka indicates the apprehension of Tiryaksamanyatmaka and Vyatirekasamanyatmaka, while Dravyaparyayatmaka points out the urdhvatasamanyatmaka and Paryayavisesatmaka character of a reality. Though the qualily of samanyavisesatmaka is included in the dravyaparyayatmaka, its separate use indicates that no entity is beyond the limitation of dravyaparyayatmakatva of utpadaryayadhrauvyatmakatva. While Samanyavisesatmaka indicates the character of reality, the dravyaparyayatmaka shows its dynamic nature. Thus in Jainism an entity is of a dual nature. Both these types of samanya have been dealt with by Santaraksita, Karnakagomin and Arcata. They take the traditional example of a jar (ghata) made of gold which can be changed into several modes, while preserving gold as a permament substance.39

Another example has been given by Buddhist philosophers on behalf of Jainas. They say that the identical-in-difference (bhedabheda) between the substance and the modes is accepted by the Anhrikas as the nature of reality.40 When a substance is spoken of as one, it is with reference to space, time and nature; when it is spoken of as different, it is with reference to number, character, name and function. For instance, when we speak of a jar and its colour and its other attributes, there is difference of number, and name; there is also also a difference of nature, inasmuch as an inclusiveness or comprehensiveness is the nature of the substance of the jar, while exclusiveness or distributiveness is the nature of successive factors in the form of colour and so forth. There is also a difference of function; inasmuch as the purposes served by the two are different. Thus the substance is not totally undifferentiated, as it does become differentiated in the form of the successive factors.41

Kamalasila explains the Jaina view as to why it stresses on the universal-cum-particular character. He says, as the Jainas assert: "If the above doctrine is to be denied, all things would have to be recognized as one. If a certain thing spoken of, for instance, as a jar was not different from other things, such as cloth, then there would be no difference between the jar and sky-flower (i. e. sky-flower is a thing that does not exist at all-hence an absurdity (akasa-kusuma)). Like-wise a thing that is always differentiated from all other things, can have no other state save that of the sky-flower. Consequently, the general character in shape of universal entity, has to be admitted.42

Kamalsial further explains the Jaina conception of the particular characters of an entity. He says that if the same entity, jar, was devoid of dissimilarity, then the jar could not be regarded as anything different from the cloth etc. in the form of this is jar, that is cloth, but in fact it does differ from other things. Therefore the particular character is always present in reality.43

As the Buddhist do not admit the universal character of an entity, the Jainas endeavour to convince them that the universal character is merged in the particular character of an entity. They set forth the argument that if any entity is not similar to other things, it ceases to be entity. For, that which is excluded from an entity, could have no position, but non-existence, as in the case of a sky-flower.44

In support of the aforesaid view, another argument is presented, on behalf of the Jainas, that is, if an entity were not similar to or different from every other entity, how then is it possible that the common idea of "being an entity" is found to appear only in connection with the jar and such things, and not in connection with the crow's teeth. It is so because the said restriction is due to a certain capacity in their natures. Though, according to Jainism, all things in the form of entities are not different from one another, their capacity may be regarded as the required "commonality. This is also called the Niyatavrtti. Without accepting this limitation anything could be transformed into any-thing else.

Later the Jainas dealt with the difference among things. They say that if a jar were entirely devoid of dissimilarity to those other things, then there being no difference between them, the jar could not be anything different from those things. This would involve a self-contradiction. When one is ready to accept some sort of difference among things, he has also to accept dissimilarity as a particular character.46

Thus according to the Jainas' view, like the gleaming Sapphire, every entity, while being one, has several aspects. Of these, some are apprehended by inclusive notion,s and others by exclusive notions. Those that are apprehended by inclusive, and hence spoken of as Common, while others, which are apprehended by exclusive notions, are exclusive and hence said to be Particular. The inclusive notion appears in the non-distinctive form of "This is an Entity", while the exclusive appears in the distinctive form "this is jar, not cloth".


Te canuvrttivyavrttibuddhigrahyataya sthitah.

Adya ete' nuvrttatvatsamanyamiti kirtitah.

Visesastvabhidhiyante vyavrttatvattato `pare.47 

Nature of relation of an entity

The nature of an entity is also a controversial point among the philosophers. For instance, the Naiyaylikas, the extreme realists, think that relation is a real entity. According to them, it connects the two entities into a relational unity through conjunctive relation (samavaya sambandha). Conjunction is a subject of quite separate, while the other relates with inseparable realities. Samavaya is said to be eternal, (nitya), one (eka) and all-pervasive (sarvavyapaka).48

The Vedantins and the Buddhists, the idealists, are against the view of the Naiyayikas. The Buddhists assert the subjective view of relations. A relation, according to Dharmakirti, is a conceptual fiction (sambandhah kalpanakrtah), like universal, and hence it is unreal. He also rejects the two possible ways of entertaining a relation in universal. They are dependence (paratantrya sambandha) and interpenetration (rupaslesa sambandha).50

On the other hand, the Jainas, on the basis of non-absolute standpoint, try to remove the extreme externalism of the Naiyayikas and the extreme illusionism or idealism of Buddhism and Advaitism. They maintain that a relation is a deliverance of the direct and objective experience. Relation is not merely an inferable but also an indubitaly perceptual fact. WIthout recognising relation, no object can be concrete and useful and atams would be existing unconnected.51

As regards the rejection of two possible ways of relation, the Jainas say that they should not be rejected. For, parata-ntrya-sambandha is not mere dependence, as the Buddhists ascribe, but it unifies the relata52. Rupaslesa is also untenable for purpose.53 The two points are here to be noted : the first is that according to Jainism, the relata never lose their individuality. They make internal changes having consistent internal relation with the external changes happening to them. In adopting this attitude the Jainas avoid the two extremes of the Naiyayikas externalism and the Vedantins internalism. Another point is that the Jainas consider relation to be a combination of the relata in it as something unque or sui generis (jatyantara). It is a character or trait in which the natures of relata have not totally disappeared but are converted into a new form. For instance, nara-simha is a combination of the units of nara (man) and simha (lion). They are neither absolutely independent nor absolutely dependent, but are indentity-in-defference. Hence the Jainas are of the view that relation is the structure of reality which is identity-in-difference.54

Jain Friends Home   Books Index  Articles Index