Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Jainism in Buddhist Literature
                                                                By Dr. Hiralal Jain

Jain Friends Home   Books Index  Articles Index

Jain Friends

2. JAINISM AND ITS LITERATURE

Jainism is a religion based on sound scientific reasoning. It stresses the perfection of knowledge, and teaches as its fundamental doctrine, the ethical evolution of man. It illuminates the path of liberation and persuades its adherents to seek real happiness in the immortal soul. Mental purity, not the external appearance, is the source of constant tranquillity and emancipation in Jaina opinion. Non-violence is primary principle of the Jaina religion and philosophy.

Origin of Jainism:

According to Jaina belief, Jainism is both eternal and universal. It is open not only to human beings of all castes and classes, but even to animals, devas, and souls in hells. According to the Jaina tradition, twenty-four Tirthankaras appear in every kalpa1. Rsabhadeva is said to be the first Tirthankara of the present era. He is believed to have taught seventy-two arts (Bavattarim kalao) to men and sixty-four to women. The beginnings of human civilization, thousands of aeons ago, are associated with him2.

Antiquity of Jainism :

Jainism is believed to be a pre-Vedic religion. Jainas are referred to in early Vedic literature by the name of Vratyas3. They are identified as the members of Sramana cultural system which is led by Jainas. The Rgveda4 the oldest scripture of the Hindus refers to Rsabha, perhaps Rsabhadeva, frequently. Besides, the Hindu Puranas5 contain accounts of his life and these tally with Jaina accounts. As regards archaeological and epigraphical evidence, the Kayotsarga (dedication of body)-Yoga pose of sitting and standing images engraved on the seals of Mohanjodro, Harappa and Lothal are identified by some scholars as Rsabha images6. The Hathigumpha inscription of king Kharavela refers to an image of Jina which was taken away to Magadha by king Nanda7. Similar evidence is found with regard to other Tirthankaras who, too, had been historical personages of immense reputation in philosophical and religious circles.7

The modern scholars appear to agree with the view that Jainism is the oldest of Non-Aryan group. For instance, Dr. Zimmer says: "There is truth in the Jaina idea, their religion goes back to remote antiquity, the antiquity in question being that of the Pre-Aryan, so-called Dravidian period, which has recently been Dramatically disillusioned by the discovery of a series of great Late Stone Age cities in the Indus valley dating from the third and even perhaps fourth millennium B.C."8

Antiquity of Jainism and Buddhist literature

There was a time when European Scholars regarded Jainism as a religion of medieval advent or an off-shoot of Buddhism9. Jacobi was the first to etsablish in 1884 the antiquity of Jainism as an independent and pre-Buddhistic religion on the basis of the data available from the Pali Canon. He regarded Parsvanatha as a historical person and the founder of Jainism. But he also remarked: "But there is nothing to prove that Parsva was the founder of Jainism. Jaina tradition is unanimous in making Rsabha, the first Tirthankara (its founder)... There may be something historical in the tradition which makes him the first Tirthankara.10"

The Pali Canon refers to Nigantha Nataputta as an elder heretical teacher. and is also familiar with some characteristics of Parsvanatha tradition. Besides, Buddhist literature mentions Rsabhadeva, Padma, Canda, Puspadanta, Vimala, Dharma and Aristanemi, the Jaina Tirthankaras.

Rsabhadeva is called one of the Jaina Tirthankaras in Chinese Buddhist literature11. The Manjusrimulakalpa12 refers to him as Rsabha-nirgrantharupin, and the Dharmottarapradipa13 mentions him along with the name of Vardhamana or Mahavira. It may by noted here that the names and numbers of Buddhas, Paccekabuddhas, and Bodhisattvas in Buddhism appear to have been influenced by those of the Jaina Tirthankaras. For instance, Ajita, the name of the second Tirthankara, has been given to the paccekabudha who lived ninety-one kappas14 ago. The Vepulla-pavvata in the time of Kassapa Buddha appears to have been named after Supassa (Pali) or Suparsva, the seventh Tirthankara of Jainas. The people of Rajagaha were called Suppiya or the follower of Supassa at that time15. Padma or Paduma, the sixth Tirthankara, is the name of the eighth of the twenty-four Buddhas16. It is also the name of a Pacceka-Buddha to whom Anupama Thera offered some akuli flowers17. Paduma is also referred to by the name of Cakkavatti of eight kappas ago18. Canda, the eighth Tirthankara, is the name of a chief lay supporter of Sikhi Buddha19. Pupphavati is the name of Benaras in the Jataka.20 It would have been named after puspadanta, the ninth Tirthankara of Jainas. Vimala, a Paccekabuddha, has been named after the thirteenth Tirthankara21. A king who lived sixty-one kappas ago, has also been called Vimala22. Likewise, Dhamma is the name of the fifteenth Tirthankara of Jainas. A Bodhisatva who was born as Devaputta in a Kamavacara Deva-world has also been referred to by this name23. In the Milinda Panha,24 he is called a Yakkha25. Aristanemi or Nemi the twenty-second Tirthankara of Jainas, is also referred to in Pali literature. The Dhammikasutta of the Anguttara Nikaya26 speaks of Aranemi as one of the six Tirthankaras (Satthare tithakare). The Majjhima Nikaya27 refers to Arittha as one of the twenty-four Pratyekabuddhas who inhabited the Rsigiri mountain. The Digha Nikaya28 draws our attention to the name of "Drdhanemi" as a Cakkavatti. In the same work there is a reference to king Aritthanemi who is called a Yakkha29. All these past references probably are to the Aritthanemi of Jaina Tirthankara. As we shall see later, Jainism had been a prominent religion in Ceylon before Buddhism was brought there. It is therefore not unnatural if we find some places named after the Jain Tirthankaras. For instance, Aritthapavvata is a mountain which is identified with modern Ritigala near Habarane in the North Central Province30. Pandukabhaya lived there for seven years, awaiting an opportunity to make war on his uncles and it was near this place that he ultimately defeated them31.

Parsvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of the Jainas, who flourished 250 years earlier than Mahavira or Nigantha Nataputta at Benaras, was born to King Asvasena and queen Vama. He is said to have attained Nirvana (Salvation) on the Sammeda Sikhara which is called today the Parsvanatha Hill.31. The Jatakas mention the names of Kings of Varanasi-Brahmadatta, Uggasena, Dhananjaya, Mahasilava, Samyama, Visasasena, and Udayabhadda.32 Parsvanatha belongs to the Ugravamsa which may have been named after Uggasena and Vissasena may be recognised as his father.33 Brahmadatta is also said to have been a Jaina king who devoted his whole life for Jainism. Vappa (Manorathapurani), the Buddha's uncle, was a follower of Parsvanatha tradition.

In Pali literature various doctrines of Jainas have been aknowledged. They belong to Parsvanatha or Aristanemi, if not to earlier Tirthankaras. Parsvanatha was known as Purisajaniya or the distinguished man according to the Anguttara Nikaya (P.290). The Dharmottarapradipa (P.286) also refers to both Parsvanatha and Aristanemi. The Catuyamasamvara, which is attributed to the Nigantha Nataputta in the Samannaphala Sutta, is in reality a teaching of Parsvanatha. Some Niganthas mentioned in Pali literature are apparently followers of parsvanatha. For instance, Vappa34, Upali35, Abhaya36, Aggivessayana saccaka37, Digha tapassi38, Asibandhakaputta Gamini39, Deva Ninka40, Upatikkha41, Siha42, are lay followers while Sacca, Lola, Avavadika, Patacara43 etc. are lay followers while Sacca, Lola, Avavadika, Patacara43 etc. are lay women followers of the Parsvanatha tradition. They had later on become the followers of the Nigantha Nataputta44. Jocobi, therefore, says : `that' Parsva was a historical person is now admitted by all as very probable.

Mahavira or the Nigantha Nataputta of Pali literature was born in Kundagrama45 (Kotiggama) of the Mahavagga, a suburb of Vaisali46, and an important seat of the Jantri Ksatriyas. He was the son of Siddhartha and Trisala, who belonged to the clan of Jnatris or Naha47. He renounced worldly enjoyment at the age of thirty without getting married48 and became a Nigantha ascetic. He then underwent a course of severe bodily mortification for the next twelve years and attained omniscience.

The Pali Canon does not mention anything of the early life of Mahavira, but refers to the period of his mission as a religious teacher. He was called Nigantha in the sense that he is free from all bonds, and was called Nataputta because Nata or Naya was the name of his clan.49 As Gotama is generally referred to as the Buddha, Jina came to be used as the popular name of Rsabha and other Tirthankaras, and their adherents began to be called `Jainas'. The Pali Nikayas mention Nigantha in place of Jinas (Amhakam ganthanakileso palibujjhanakileso natthi, kilesaganthirahita mayam ti evam vaditaya Laddhanamavasena Nigantho50). The term `Nigantha' for a Jaina came to be used perhaps along with the origin of Jainism itself.

Teachings of Nigantha Nataputta have been already mentioned in the course of our discussion on the six heretical teachers. It is remarkable here that both Jainism and Buddhism arose and grew up in the same province of India. The leaders of both sects were sometimes living in the same city, but they never met perhaps personally51. Their followers, however, used to indulge in discussions, conversations and debates.

The date of Nigntha Nataputta :

The date of Nigantha Nataputta, like the date of the Buddha, has been a subject of much controversy among the scholars52. The Pali Canon has two main references which give an idea of the age and death of Nataputta. Ajatasattu is reported to have spoken of Nigantha Nataputta to the Buddha in Samannaphala Sutta as "One who has long been recluse, old and well-stricken in years (cirapabbjjito, addhagato, vayonupatto53). Another reference recorded is that when the Buddha was at the Ambavana of the Sakyas, Nigantha Nataputta had just died at pava (ekam samayam bhagava sakkesu viharati vedhanna nama sakya tesam ambavane pasade, tena kho pana samayena Nigantho Nataputta Pavayam adhuna Kalankato hoti.54 Ananda is supposed to have conveyed this news to the Buddha in a very pleasant mood.

The Chief landmark in Jaina chronology is the year of Nigantha Nataputta's death, which is generally placed somewhere between 468 and 482 or 527 and 546 B.C. Jacobi is perhaps the first savant who tried to determine the date of Mahavira. In the introduction to the Acarangasutra, showing the differences between the Buddha and Mahavira, he says : `Mahavira died in Pava, avowedly before the former (Buddha 55). Hence, in the introduction to the Kalpasutra56 he Suggests that his death might have taken place round about 468-467 B.C. This opinion was based on Hemachandra's Parisistaparvan57 which tells us that Chandragupta, the Sandrokottos of the Greeks, ascended throne 155 years after the death of Mahavira. The Chandragupta's ascension, according to Jacobi, took place in 313 B.C. Therefore the death of Mahavira must have occured in 468 V. C. (313+155=468 B.C.) Charpentier58 also supported his view. If Hemachandra's chronology is accepted, the tradition of the Pali Canon has to be rejected. Both Jacobi and Charpentier were of the view that the statement in the Pali Canon to the effect that Mahavira died when the Buddha was at Pava was spurious. But this gives rise to a further problem in view of the fact that the death of the Buddha is now widely accepted as having occured in 543 B. C. Therefore this question needs further investigation as the interval between the death of Buddha and Mahavira could not have been as long as 75 years. Basham, too, is inclined to accept Jacobi's view. But he based his arguments on the Bhagawati Sutra and a less favoured theory about the date of the Buddha's Parinirvana in 483 B. C. He says : "If we accept 483 B. C. as the date of the Buddha's nirvana, on the basis of Mahavamsa synchronism, the accession of Ajatasattu must have occured in the year 481-480 B.C. The first campaign, soon after which the death of Gosala occurred, must have taken place at some time between the date of Ajatasattu's accession and the year preceding the Buddha's death." He then suggests that' "the first campaign occurred in 484 B.C., and the death of Gosala in the year, or in 484 B. C. On the strength of the Bhagavati statement that Mahavira survived Gosala for sixteen and a half years, this date would place Mahavira's death in 468-467 B. C 59."

As regards the reference to the Nigantha Nataputta in Pali scripture he suggests that "the Pali record may not in fact refer to the death of Mahavira at Pava, but of Gosala at Savatthi, which Bhagawati Sutra also mentions as having been accompanied by quarrelling and confusion. At a later date, when the chief rival of Buddhism was no longer Ajivikism but Jainism, the name may have been altered to add to the significance of the account60. The explanation of Basham that the Pali Canon recorded the death of Gosala and not that of Mahavira appears to be farfetched.

Majumdar and Raychaudhuri are of the view that Mahavira's death should have taken place in 478 B.C. In support of this theory they suggest that Mahavira died about sixteen years after the accession of Ajatasatru, and the commencement of his war with his hostile neighbours. This would place the Nirvana of the Jain teacher after the Buddha's death, as according to the Ceylonese chronicles, the Buddha died eight years after the enthronement of Ajatasatru. This is supported by the Hemachandra's account that places the Chandragupta's accession a hundred and fifteen years after the Nirvana of Mahavira. We know that Chandragupta'S enthronement took place in 323. B. C. (323+155=478 61 B.C.).

Another attempt to date the death of Nigantha Nataputta has been made by Hoernle. According to him, 482 B. C. is "practically certain" date of Buddha's parinirvana. Bimbisara was murdered by his son Ajatasatru eight years before the nirvana, or in 490 B. C. Hoernle believes that for some year before this Ajatasatru was de facto ruler, and the war took place not in the year of his legal, but of his de facto accession, which could not have been long before the murder of Bimbisara. He accepts the Bhagavati tradition of the sixteen years interval between the deaths of Mahavira and Gosala. He therefore suggests 484 B. C. for the death of Mahavira and 500 B.C. for that of Gosala, and for the was and de facto accession of Ajatasatru62. The theory of Hoernle is more comprehensive, as he tries to establish the chronology of all events connected with the issue. In the aforesaid Pali record, Cunda expressed the hope that on the death of the Buddha a similar question would not arise in his order. This fact indicates that the Nigantha Nataputta's death was thought of as having taken place at a time when the Buddha himself was very old, when the Buddhist monks were concerned about the future of the order after the death of its leader. Hoernle's theory which places Nigantha Nataputta's death two years prior to that of the Buddha tallies with the statement of Cunda in the Pali Canon.

The orthodox Jaina tradition which dates the death of Nigantha Nataputta in 527 B.C. is not unanimously accepted by the scholars. The main problem with regard to this traditional date is that its accuracy depends on the correct calculation of the commencement of the Vikrama Era. According to one view, Vikrama was born 470 years after the death of Mahavira while his accession and death took place 488 and 568 years respectively after Mahavira's death63. Another view holds that the Vikrama Era began 410 years after Mahavira's death64 According to these data, the date of Mahavira's death mainly depends on the event in Vikrama's life which marked the commencement of the Vikrama Era. If the Vikrama Era commenced with Vikrama's birth, the date of Mahavira's death is 527 B. C. (i.e 57+470=527 B.C65). If it began with Vikrama's accession, the date has to be 545 B. C. (57+488=545 B. C.).66 If the Vikrama Era began with Vikrama's death, Mahavira's death has to be dated as 622 B. C. (470+80+72=622 B. C.67) If date of Mahavira's death will be 467 B.C. (527-60=467 B. C.)68. Thus the dates of Mahavira's death will be 527 B.C., 545 B.C., 622 B. C. or 467 B. C. This makes the entire problem rather confusing and intricate.

Jacobi refers to the traditional date of the death of Nigantha Nataputta as follows. "The reduction of the Jain's Canon or the Siddhanta took place, according to unanimously accepted tradition, at the Council of Valabhi, under the presidency of Devardhi. The date of this event (980 or 993 A. V), corresponding to 454 or 467 A. D., is incorporated in the Kalpasutra69. Here the view of Hemachandra's Parisistaparavan appears to be wrong as compared to the Titthogali Painnaya which is an ancient and more reliable book. It is stated that the date of Chandragupta Maurya's accession falls 215 years after the death of Mahavira. Moreover, on the same day, Palaka began to rule in Ujjaini. He ruled over the country for sixty years. Afterwards Nanda's dominion is listed for 155 years. Then commences the enthronement of Chandragupta Maurya70. But these sixty years have been omitted in the chronology of the Parisistaparvan of Hemachandra. Puranachandra and Krishnachandra Ghosa write "Hemachandra must have omitted, by oversight, the period of 60 years of king Palaka after Mahavira71. Hemachandra himself appears to have accepted 527 B.C. as the date of Mahavira's death. He says that Kumarapala of Calukyakula was born 1669 years after the Nirvana of Mahavira72. It is now certain that Calukya Kumarapala was born in 1142 A. D.73 Accordingly, the date of Mahavira's death falls in 527 B. C. He has also made an attempt to prove 527 B. C. Muni Nagaraj has also made an attempt to prove 527 B. C. as the most likely date of Mahavira's (Nataputta's) pari-nirvana74.

Muni Kalyanavijaya,75 Kailash Chandra Shastri76, and Shantilala Shaha77, accept this date but reject the evidence of Pali Tripitka. Vijayendra Suri78 agrees with them as far as this date is concerned, but thinks like Basham, that the death of Gosalaka, and not of Nigantha Nataputta, is recorded in Pali Tripitaka. The date of the Buddha's death is accepted by them as 544 B. C. But other references made in Pali Nikayas are ignored by them.

On the other hand, K. P. Jayasaval79, Radhakumuda Mokerji80 and Kamata Prasada81 favour the view that Mahavira's Nirvana took place in 545 B. C. (i.e. 57+488=545 B. C.) Their main argument is that the Vikrama era commenced from the accession which took place 488 years after Mahavira's death.

But their views are not correct as the evidence to prove 527 B. C. as the date of Nigantha Nataputta's parinirvana are rather more substential and reliable. J. K. Mukhtar proved successfully this view82. The Jambusuamicarin and other granthas also support the same opinion. The Pali records also protest its genuineness. Without going into prolonged disccussion, we may now conclude that 527 B. C. seems to be more dependable as the date of Nigantha Nataputta's death.

The place of Nigantha Nataputta's death

According to the Pali Canon, which has already been referred to in the earlier section, the Buddha was informed while he was at a Samagama among the Sakyas, that Nigantha Nataputta had died at Pava. In the Vividhatirtha-kalpa, Pava is called Apapapuri, perhaps on account of its religious importance. In the course of his peregrinations Mahavira came from Jrmbhaka to the forest of Mahavamsa. Eleven Ganadharas, Gautama and the rest, were initiated here. Vardhamana (Mahavira) went on a fast for two days, then preached his last teachings and attained Nirvana83.

But there has been some controversy with regard to the location of Pava. The traditional Pava is near Rajagaha (Bihar) and is now called Pavapuri. Jacobi84 thinks that Mahavira's Nirvana took place at this Pavapuri, while Mahapandita Rahula Sankrityana is85 of the opinion that Pava is the modern Papaura village twelve miles away from Kusinara or Kasiya, situated on the little Gandaka river, to the east of the district of Gorakhapur. Nathuram Premi86 agrees with Rahul Sankratyana. It is most probable that Pava was included in the territory of the Mallas since a Santhagara was built by them in Pava. It is also said that at this place the Buddha ate his last meal at the house of Cunda, and as a result he had an attack of dysentery. He then left the place and proceeded to Kusinara where he ultimately attained Parinirvana87.

The Mallas, a republican tribe of the same type as the Licchavis, were divided at that time into two groups. One having their capital at Pava and the other at Kusinara. The Kalpasutra says that on the eve of Nigantha Nataputta's death nine Mallas and nine Licchavis, the chiefs of their respective tribes, were among those who went on Prosadhopavasa to mark the passing away of the great Jina. It is further stated that they ordered illuminations on the day of the new moon saying, "Since the light of intelligence is gone, let us make an illumination of material matter88. Since Mahavira's nirvana occured early in the morning, the Jainas worship Mahavira at that time and illuminate the earthern pots. The whole day is now called Dipavali. This evidence confirms our view that Pava, the place of Nigantha Nataputta's parinirvana, is no other than Papaura of the Gorakhapura district.

Schism in the Jaina Order:

Signs of schism in the Jaina order might have appeared at the death of Nigantha Nataputta as stated in Pali Nikayas. The Samagama Sutta describes the state of the Jaina order after the Nirvana of Nigantha Nataputta. Ananda conveys the message of Cunda to the Buddha with elation. He says :-

Nigantha Nataputta had just died at Pava. At his death the Niganthas became disunited into two parts which took to mutual strife and conflict, quarelling and wounding each other with wordy weapons (tassa kalankiriyaya bhinna Nigantha dvedhikajata bhandanajata kalahajata vivadapanna annamannam mukhasattihi vitudanta viharanti), thou does not understand this doctrine and discipline; but I do understand it. How should thou understand it? Thou art in the wrong. I am in the right. I am speaking to the point; thou art not. Thou sayest last what should be said first and what ought to come last. What thou hast so long excogitated is quite upset. The challenge is taken up; thou art proved to be wrong. Begone to get rid of thy opinion, or disentangle thyself if thou canst. Truly, the Niganthas, followers of Nataputta, were out methinks to kill89."

The Buddha gives the reasons of this disunity among the Niganthas, "Their teacher was not supremely enlightened and a doctrine badly set-forth, badly imparted, ineffectual to guide, not conducive to peace90." The Commentaries state that Nataputta realising on his death-bed the folly and futility of his teaching, wished his followers to accept the Buddha's teachings. In order to bring this about, he taught his doctrine in two different ways to two different pupils, just before his death. To the one he said that his teaching was Nihilism (Uccheda), and to the other that it was Eternalism (Sassata). Asa result they quarelled violently among themselves, and the order broke up91.

What we are concerned with is not so much reasons mentioned above for disunity, as the existence of disunity itself. The rift took place actually in the Jaina order after the Nigantha Nataputta's parinibbana, though it might not have been to the extent described92. No evidence has yet been discovered to indicate that the final schism took place immediately after his death. Therefore the passage quoted should be examined from two angles. Either it is said in hyperbolical language or it is a later addition. The first is more likely as a rival order will naturally exaggerate any differences or disunity in the opponent's group. But the germs of schism could not have been altogather absent. However, judging from the fact that Jainism, like Buddhism, continuied to be favoured by Kuniya or Ajatasattu, Asoka, Cetaka, Seniya, pradyota, Udayana etc93., it can be concluded that the culmination of these schismatic tendencies did not take place untill the famine of Magadha which lasted for 12 years during the period of Chandragupta Maurya.

Later on, the Jaina order divided itself into two divisions, viz. the Digambaras who accepted the complete nakedness as the essential requirement to attain salvation, and the Svetam-baras who did not recognize this theory in toto. The first is the original sect. All the Tirthankaras including Parsvanatha and Mahavira were Digambaras. All along in Pali literature Mahavira is called Nigantha Nataputta and his followers Niganthas. The reason for this is that they claimed to be free from all bonds (amhakam ganthanakileso palibujjanakileso natthi, kilesaganthirahitamayam ti evam vaditaya laddhanamavasena Nigantho)94. The rift, which began immediately after the demise of Nigantha Nataputta, finally took shape in the second or third century B. C., when the Digambara and Svetambara came to be differentiated. The Dhammapadatthakatha95 refers to and criticizes both the Digambara and Svetambara sects96.

Philosophical Literature of Jainas

A proper evaluation of Jainism as found in Buddhist literature necessitates some familiarity with Jaina literature. The Jaina contribution to Indian philosophical and religious knowledge is so profound that only a bare outline of the Jaina literature can be attempted here.

We are concerned here with the Jaina philosophical literature which can be divided into four schools97:

(i) Canonical School (upto sixth century A.D.)

(ii) Anekanta School (from third century A.D. to eighth century A.D.).

(iii) Pramana School (from 8th A.D. to 17th A.D.), and

(iv) Navya-nyaya School (from 17th A.D.).

The Canonical School

Both the Digambara and Svetambara sects of Jainas accept unanimously that Mahavira or the Nigantha Nataputta is the main source of their scriptures, which are said to have been collected by his disciple called Indrabhuti or Gautama98. He died at Rajagrha at the age of ninety-two, 12 years after Mahaviras nirvana. Afterwards, according to the Digambaras, the successors of these teachers could not gain proficiency in all the Angas. As time passed on gradually they decreased and were completely lost 683 years after Mahavira's nirbana99.

But the Svetambara tradition claims to have preserved the Angas and Upangas. It appears to me that upto certain time Canonical literature would have been preserved by both sects through the recitation method, but to prove its own antiquity as the original sect, the Svetambara tradition added some elements like the dialogues between Kesin and Gautam or Jamali episode, and eliminated some portions of the original literature. Seeing this the Digambara tradition would have completely denied their validity and announced it to have been lost.

The Svetambara Canonical Literature

The Svetambaras preserved a wide and profound Canonical literature, though mixed up with some elements. It consists of the following texts100:

The twelve Angas : (i) Ayaranga, (ii) Suyagadanga, (iii) Thananga, (iv) Samavayanga, (v) Viyahapannatti or Bhagavati, (vi) Nayadhammakahao, (vii)Uvasagadasao, (viii) Antagadadasao, (ix) Anuttarovavaiyadasao, (x) Panhavagaranaim, (xi) Vivagasuya, and (xii) Ditthivaya.

The twelve Upangas: (i) Ovavaiya, (ii) Rayapasenijja, (iii) Jivabhigama, (iv) Pannavana, (v) Suriyapannatti, (vi) Jambuddivapannatti, (vii) Candapannatti, (viii) Niryavalio, (ix) Kappavadamsiao, (x) Pupphiao, (xi) Pupphaculiao, (xii) Vanhidasao.

The Ten Painnas: (i) Causarana, (ii) Aurapaccakkhana, (iii) Bhattaparinnaya, (iv) Samtharaga, (v) Tandulaveyaliya, (vi) Candavijjhaya, (vii) Devindatthava, (viii) Ganivijja, (ix) Mahapaccakkhana (x) Viratthava.

The Six Cheyasuttas: (i) Nisiha, (ii) Mahanisiha, (iii) Vavahara, (iv) Ayaradasao or Dasasuyakkhandha, (v) Kappa or Brhatkalpa (vi) Pancakappa, or Jiyakappa.

The four Mulasuttas: (i) Uttarajjhaya, or Uttarajjhayana, (ii) Avassaya, (iii) Dasaveyaliya, (iv) Pindanijjuti.

The two Culika suttas: (i) Nandi, (ii) Anuyogadara.

Development of Agama Literature

Srutakevali Bhadrabahu predicted during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya that there would be a terrible famine in Magadha for twelve years. To ensure the purity of Jaina asceticism, the Sangha decided to leave Magadha. A group of monks under the leadership of Visakhacharya went to South India. But Sthulabhadra remained in Magadha with some monks. After the famine was over, Visakhacharya with his disciples came back to Magadha and found that the pupils of Sthulabhadra had developed an attachment to clothes.101

Visakhacary tried to convince them for observing Digambaratva but he could not succeed in his achievement as the Sthulabhadra and his followers were not ready to live without clothes. Hence the schism was stated in the Jaina Sangha. On the other hand, Bhadrabahu, the teacher of Visakhacarya, with his prominent pupil Chandragupta Maurya (Muni Prabhacandra)102 left Magadha and went to South India. According to Digambar tradition, he observed there Samadhimarana on the Kalvpra mountain (Sramana Velagola Inscriptions, of Saka sam. 522).103

After some time, according to the Svetambara tradition, there were held four Councils in Pataliputra, Mathura and Valabhi where the Acaryas tried to gather the Agamas to the best of their ability. The present form of the Svetambara Jaina Canon is said to be the result of the Second Valabhi Council held under the presidency of Devardhiganin Ksamasramana in the beginning of the sixth century A. D. (980 or 993 years after Mahavira attained nirvana.

This indicates clearly that the Svetambara Agama was not the product of one period. It developed gradually during the course of several generations. It is not, therefore, unnatural if certain things have been changed104, However, a good portion of very important and valuable material compiled in ancient times remains intact. Winternitz rightly says, "The works of the Siddhanta cannot have originated during one period. The canon which Devardhi compiled, and which has come down to us, is the final result of a literary activity that must have begun as soon as the organisation of the order and the monastic life were firmly established. This was in probability the case not long after the death of Mahavira. The earliest portions of the Canon may, therefore, quite possibly belong to the period of the first disciples of Mahavira himself, or at the latest to the second century after Mahavira's death--the period of the Maurya Chandragupta, in which tradition places the Council of Patliputra--whilst the latest portions should probably be dated nearer to the time of Devardhi"105. In support of this statement other evidences are collected by Deo.106

Resemblance to Pali literature

The Svetambara Jaina Canon which is the result of several centuries appears to have a close resemblance to Pali scripture which was complied in the first or second century after the Buddha's demise. In other words, the Jaina Canon has been influenced by Pali literature. The language and style are good enough evidences in this connection. For instance, a stanza of the Uttaradhyana (9.44), viz.

Mase mase tu jo balo kusaggenam tu bhunjae

Na so sukkha adhammasa kalam agghai solasim.

has a very close resemblance to the stanza of the Dhammapada (70), viz.

Mase mase kusaggena balo bhunjetha bhojanam.

Na so sankhatadhammanam kalam agghati solasim.

The stanzas of the Dhammapada (103, 405, 409) can be compared with the stanzas of the Uttaradhyana 9.34; 25.22;25.24. Some other stanzas like 49, 66, 362 are similar to the stanzas 1.2, 4.1, 10. 12, of the Dasavaikalika. In the same way Pundarika Addhyana of the Sutrakrtanga and the Saddharma-Pundarika, Vipakasutra and Avadanasataka, and Karmasataka, Thananga and Anguttara, Uttaradhyana and Dhammapada and Jataka Patimokkha and Nisitha are very closely related to each others in subject matter. The Svetambara Agamas are called Ganipitaka107 as the Buddhist scripture are called the Tipitaka108 Thus the Sveta mbara Agamas are undoubtedly influenced by the Buddhist scripture.109

The mixture of prose and verse, fantastic descriptions of the hells, preaching with the help of legends, parables, tales, dialogues and ballads, are the main characetristics of both Pali and Jain Scriptures. But in comparison with Pali literature, Jain literature is presented in a rather uninteresting style. Winternitz has pointed out that "with rare exceptions, the sacred books of the Jainas are written in a dry-as-dust, matter of fact, didactic tone, and as far as we know them hitherto, are seldom instilled with that general human interest which so many Buddhist texts possess. Hence, important as they are for the specialist, they cannot claim the interest of the general reader to anything approaching so great an extent.110

The language of the Canonical literature is a Prakrt called Ardhamagadhi. The verses, like the Buddhist Canon, present more archaic forms. But the Commentaries (Nijjutti, Bhasa, Curni, and Tika) are in both Prakrt (Jaina Maharastri) and Sanskrit.

Digambara Cononical Literature

The Digambaras believe that the Cannon as preached by Nigantha Nataputta is no longer available as it was lost during the famine. But they have preserved in their earlist works, written by the ancient Acharyas, detailed accounts of the structure and the contents of their Cannon. According to such accounts the Digambara Canonical literature is divided into two groups: the Angapravista and the Angabahya :-

(A) The Angapravista :

The Angapravista is of twelve kinds which are similar to the twelve Angas of the Svetambaras with the exception that the last Anga "Drastipravada" is divided into five parts: (i) Five Parikarma; (a) Candraprajnapti, (b) Suryaprajnapti, (c) Jambudvipaprajnapti, (d) Dvipaprajnapti and (e) Vyakhya Prajnapti. (2) Sutra (3)four, Anuyogas (a)Prathamanuyoga, (b) Karananuyoga, (c) Dravyanuyoga and (d) Carananuyoga, (4) Purvagatas are fourteen: (a) Utapadapurva, (b) Agrayani, (c) Viryanuvada, (d) Astinastipravada, (e) Jnanapravada, (f) Satpravada, (g) Atmapravada, (h) Karmapravada, (i) Prtyakhyana (j) Vidyanuvada, (k) Kalyanavada, (l) Pranavada (m) Kriyavada and (n) Trilokavindusara. (5) Five Cnlikas: (a)Jalagata, (b) Sthalagata, (c) Mayagata, (d) Rupagata, and (e) Akasagata.

(B) The Angabahya Sruta.

The Angabahya Sruta is divided into fourteen Prakirnakas: (1) Samayika, (2) Samstava, (3) Vandana (4) Pratikramana (5) Vinaya (6) Krtikarma (7) Dasavaikalika (8) Uttaradhyayana (9) Kalpavyavahara (10) Kalpakalpa, (11) Mahakalpa (12) Pundarika. (13) Mahapundarika, and (14) Nisiddhika.111

The fact that the Digambara and the Svetambara traditions agree on fundamental features of the structure of the Jaina Canon establishes beyond doubt:

(a) that a Jaina Canon had been compiled, arranged and recognized before the schism, and

(b) that thet traditional divisions were remembered even after the Digambaras rejected the Svetambara Canon as a later innovation.

Acharya Parampara

The Digambara tradition maintains that its Canon was lost gradually as the Acharyas who knew one or sveral Angas passed away without ansuring that their pupils had mastered the Angas. An Acharya-parampara of such pupils, after the death of Mahavira, is referred to by Yatirsabha, according to which Gautamasvami, Sudharmasvami and Jambusvami were Kevalins (having perfect knowledge of Canon) for 62 years, Nandi, Nandimitra, Aparajita, Govardhana and Bhadrabahu were Srutakevalin for 100 years, Visakha, Prosthila, Ksatriya, Jaya, Naga, Siddhartha, Dhrtisena, Vijaya, Buddhila, Gangadeva and Sudharama were knowers of eleven Angas and ten Purvas for 183 years, Naksatra, Jayapala, Pandu, Dhruvasena and Kansa were knowers of eleven Angas for 220 years, and Subhadra, Yasobhadra, Yasobahu and Loha were knowers of Acaranga for 118 years. Thus within the period of 683 years after the death of Mahavira all these Acaryas are said to have been perfect in the respective Canon.112

Afterwards, according to the Dhavala and Jayadhavala, Dharasenacharya was knower of partly the Angas and Purvas. But the Nandisangha Prakrta Pattavali does not lend support to this view. According to this, the Acharya-parampara (from Gautama to Lohacarya) is enumerated within 565 years. Then Arbadvali, Maghanandi, Dharasena, Bhutavali and Puspadanta are said to have known one Anga, and their period was for 28, 21, 19, 30 and 20 years. On the basis of this calculation Bhutavali and Puspadanta come under the period of 683 years. This view is supported by Brhattippanika113 which mentioned Jonipahuda written by Dharasenacarya 600 hundred years after the death of Mahavira.

(ii) Anekanta School

Fortunately, Puspadanta and Bhutavali wrote a joint work named Satkhandagama of which Puspadanta wrote the earlier portion and Bhutavali the latter and Gunadharacarya wrote Kasayapahuda on the basis of the third Pejadosaprabhrta (Vastu-adhikara) of Jnanapravadapurva in the first century B. C. The rudiments of Jaina philosophy are found in these works which form the basis of all later works on Digambara Jainism by such Acaryas as Kundakunda, Umasvati, Smantabhadra. The Canon considered as lost by Digambaras is preserved by Svetambara tradition, as has already been stated, However in the absence of the original Canon, the Digambaras recognize the works of Puspadanta, Bhutavli, Gunadharacarya, Kundakunda, Svami Kartikeya, Umasvati, Vattakera and Sivarya as Canonical works.

Acarya Sumati is mentioned in the Buddhist philosophical literature. Santaraksita refers to him in the course of Pratyaksa and Paroksa Pariksa in the Tattvasangraha.114 We do not know about his definite literary contribution115 but the above references are a testimony to his recognition as a Jaina logician. As regards his date, he is mentioned in the copper-plate inscription of Karkasuvarnavarsa116 as the pupil of Mallavadi, an Acarya of the Mulasamgha-sena-amnaya. The same inscription refers to Aparajita as a pupil of Sumati. This inscription belongs to Saka samvat 743. Mallavadi referred to Dinnaga (5th century A. D.) without mentioning Dharmakirti's name in his Nayacakra. He, therefore, flourished after Dinnaga and before Dharmakirti (7th century A. D.). Bhattacarya concludes his date as being near about 720 A. D.117

Patrakesari also is mentioned in the Tattvasangraka. Santaraksita quotes the famous Karika118 composed by Partrasvamin, who was also called Patrakesari119. He is also referred to by several other writers120 as the author of the Trilaksanakadarthanam which was written in order to refute Dinnaga's theory or Trilaksanahetu. It may be noted here that Patrasvamin is not the name of Vidyananda as Pathak121 and Vidyabhusana122 suggest, but he is undoubtedly a separate person.123 Sramnavelagola Prasasti124 mentions his name and some other inscriptions125 refer to him after Sumati. Patrasvamin must have, therefore, lived after Dinnaga and before Santaraksita. He, therefore appears to have belonged to the last part of the 6th century A.D. and earlier part of the 7th century A.D.126 Sridatta127 (prior to Pujypada) also established the Anyathanu-papatti as one of the forms of Hetu in the Jalpanirnaya.

The period of Anekanta is marked by the establishment of the Syadvada conception with greater emphasis. The Saptabhangi of Acarya Kundakunda is developed by Samantabhadra, Siddhasena, Sumati, Patrekesari and Sridatta. A complete discussion of all the doctrines of Jainism is the characteristic of this age. This was a prolific age in other religious traditions too. For instance, the Vedic philosophers produced the Nyayabhasya, Yogabhasya, Sararabhasya etc. while Buddhist logicians such as Nagarjuna and Dinnaga were already advancing their theories in refutation of Vedic and other contemporary philosophical system.

(iii)Pramana School

One of the most revolutionary theories of this period was the concept of pratyksa as indicated knowledge. While the older Agamic tradition accepted Pratyaksa to be direct cognition, these new theoreticians rejected this view on the ground that there would be no direct cognition when the sense organs were relied upon for empirical experience. The cognition through sense organs was therefore held to be Indriya Pratyaksa while only realization through mental perception could be considered iindriya Pratyaksa. Other Pramanas were included in the category of Paroksa Pramana (indirect knowledge). Jinabhadra Ksamasramana (6th century A.D.) divided first the Pramanas systematically into two types, Samvyavaharika Pratyksa (Empirical Perception), and paramarthika Pratyaksa (Transcendental Perception).128 It may be noted here that the word Samvyavahara originally belongs to the Vijnanavadi Buddhists.

Conducting logical discussion to establish one's own views is another main feature of this period. The Nalanda Buddhist university had attained fame in this direction in the time of Dhammapala. His pupil Dharmakirti and others were engaged in philosophical debates with parties that were opposed to them. The Jaina philosophy, which is much closer then other religions to the Buddhist philosophy, also came in for a certain amount of criticism. Their main objections were raised against the dual characteristic of reality according to the Anekantavada conception, which was the result of endeavours to unite all the one sided views. The Pramanavartika of Dharmakirti and its Commentaries Pramanavartikatika of Devendramati, Pramanavartikalankara of Prajnakaragupta Pramanavartika svavrttitika of Karnakagomin, Tattvasangraha of Santaraksita, Hetubindutika of Arcata and other works of Buddhist philosophers had been already written to refute the Vedic views of Kumarila, isvarasena and Mandanamisra, and the Jaina views of Umasvami, Samantabhadra and Siddhasena. At this critical moment Acarya Akalanka and Haribhadra entered the field of controversy against the opponents of Jainism.

Mahendra Kumara established the view that the age of Haribhadra lies from 720 A.D. to 810 A.D. and that Akalanka flourished in 720-780 A. D. Both these great philosophers defended Jainism and in due course formulated a Jaina philosophical ideology on the bosis of Syadvada and Non-vilence129.

Here the persanality of Akalanka, who is mentioned only once in Buddhist literature, (DHP. p. 246) is very significant. His literary contribution is profound and extensive. All his works Tattvarthavartika, Astasati, Laghiyastrayasvavrtti, Nyayaviniscaya Savivrtti Siddhiviniscaya, Pramanasangraha, etc. "Stand as eloquent testimony to his penetrating mind and show a remarkable advancement in Jaina logic. He had a chivalrous disposition to help the people misled by the Buddhists. In his writings he was very satrical and caustic about Buddhists, particularly about Dharmakirti, in retorting the euphemistic criticism of Syadvada by Dharmakirit."130 Haribhadra and his works such as Sastravartasamuccaya, Anekantajayapataka and Anekantavadapravesa, also bear the same characteristics. The later Jaina philosophers developed the Jain philosophy of both these Acaryas, Akalanka and Haribhadra on their own ways.

Thus the pramana school saw the establishment of several new philosophical theories and doctrines. The theory of Syadvada and Pramanas was further developed by Akalanka and his followers, and they defended Syadvada which was bitterly criticised by rival philosophers, using the principales of Syadvada itself for the purpose.

The foregoing is a brief outline of Jaina philosophical literature. It is to be remembered here that Jaina literature was of later origin than Vedic and Buddhist literature. Jain literature came to be written while the Vedic and Buddhist philosophers were engaged in debates. Therefore it was naturally influenced by them. The Jain philosophers came into contact with many Buddhist philosophers. That is the reason why the major part of Jaina literature is devoted to the refutation of Buddhist doctrines.

Spread of Jainism

Pali literature refers generally to northern provinces of India where Buddhism originated and developed. Some facts relating to Jainism, which are found scattered in Buddhist literature, throw light on the expansion of Jainism during the time of the Buddha. It may be noted here that Jainism had already been established as a religion in various provinces of India before the Buddha began his mission. But Pali literature records only the discussions the Buddha had with certain Jaina followers he met, and not the Jaina doctrines in toto

Magadha was a center of missionary activities of all heretical teachers.131 The Buddha also selected this province for the propagation of his teachings. Rajagaha and Nalanda were the main places where the Buddha had to face the Niganthas as strong rivals. Bimbisara was supposed to have been in favour of both the religions. The Buddha came across the Jain ascetics at Kalasila on the side of Isigili mountain in Rajagaha. They were practising severe act of self-mortification with the idea of eradicating the past Kammas and attaining salvation. The Buddha could not convince them against their views.132 But he was able to convert Upali Gahapati,133 Abhayarajakumara,134 and Asibandhakaputta Gamini135, the lay devotees of the Nigantha Nataputta. Dighatapassi, a Jain monk, is reported not to have changed his religion, though he was convinced by Buddha. (M. i, 371), Nigrodha is said to be a follower of Ajivikism who practised asceticism including Catuyamasamvara of Jainism. He appears to have been a follower of Jainism and a supporter of Ajivikism. Whatever that be, he also could not be converted to Buddhism.136 The above incidents happened in Rajagaha and Nalanda. Most of the discourses given here by the Buddha were mainly to refute the teachings. This shows that Jainism in Magadha was on a firm footing, since the Buddha could not win over a number of followers of the Nigantha Nataputta.

Kosala was ruled over by Pasenadi during the Buddha's time. He respected all the six Tithiyas.137 Buddha spent twenty-one Vassas in Kosala. In addition, he visited this place several times. Nigantha Nataputta also had a good number of followers here. Savatthi and Saketa were the main places where the Buddha came into contact with the Jainas.

In Savatthi there was a very rich Setthi named Migara who was a staunch follower of Jainism. His son's wife Visakha was perhaps a follower of Buddhism. She is said to have persuaded her father-in-law, Migara, and other members of the family to be converted to buddhism.138 Another Setthi named Kalaka, he son-in-law, of Anathapindaka, living in Saketa is also described as having given up the faith of Nigantha Nataputta and embracing the religion of the Buddha.139

The Sakyas were politically an independent entity. Kapilavatthu was the birth place of the Buddha, but the Sakyas, were not strongly in favour of his doctrines. On the other hand, Jainism was very popular here since the Buddha's parents and their people were followers of Parsvanatha tradition, But the Buddha and his followers tried to convert the people from their faith. Mahanama, perhaps a relative of the Buddha, was an adherent of Nigantha Nataputta's religion. The Buddha pointing out the uselessness of severe mortification attempt to convert him140 and ultimately he succeeded in doing so. Hence both the Cula Dukkhandha Sutta and Sekha Sutta were preached to Mahanama.

Devadaha was an important town in the eyes of the Jain mission. Here also the Nigantha Nataputta's view, the theory of Kamma, is reported to have been refuted by the Buddha141 But no follower of Jainism, except Vappa Sakya142, the Buddha's uncle who was converted by Moggalana, is mentioned in the Nikayas as having given up Jainism. The fact that the Buddha laid down special rules for the entry of Nigantha Nataputta's followers to the Sangha, however, seems to indicate that a number of Nirgranthas were converted to Buddhism.

The Liccahavis had a republican form of government, and Vaisali was their capital. Since Parsvanatha's time it had been a centre of Jainism.143 Nigantha Nataputta and his Nata clan were very closely related to the Licchavis. He was very much influential in his home town, Vesali. In the course of missionary activities Jainism came into contact with Buddhists of Vesali. Saccaka144, a highly respected follower of Jainism was defeated by the Buddha in a religious disputation, Sallaka's parents also were followers of Jainism.145 On the other hand. Abhaya and Panditakumara146 were not satisfied with the answers given by their opponents.147 Siha, a general of the Licchavis, was of course, impressed by the Buddha's discourse and he became his follower. Inspite of active opposition of the Niganthas, the Buddha continued his work of conversion of the Licchavis to the newly established religion.

The Mallas, like Licchavis, were republican tribe. They were divided into two groups, the Mallas of Pava, and the Mallas of Kusinara, They were followers of both Jainism and Buddhism. The nigantha Nataputta's nirvana took place in Pava148 and the Mallas and Licchavis as a mark of honour, illuminated the place with earthern pots. This indicates that the Mallas were well disposed towards the Jainas.

The Jainas carried on their missionary work in Varanasi Mithila, Simhabhumi, Kausambi, Avanti etc. but Pali literature makes no refernce to Jaina activities in these centres. Nigantha Nataputta wandered about in Bihar and some part of Bengal and Uttar Pradesa in the course of his missionary activities which commenced immediately after the attainment of Kevaljnana. He got much help from his maternal uncle Cetaka, king of Vesali and his son-in-laws Udayana, Dadhivahana Satanika, Canda Pradyota, Nandivardhana and Bimbisara.

After Mahavira

After Mahavira's parinirbana, Jainism was patronized by Saisunages, Nandas, Kharvela, Mauryas, Satavahanas, Guptas, Paramaras, Chandelas and others. Some of them were followers of Jainism while others provided all possible facilities to develop its literary and cultural activities. The Southern part of India was also a great centre of Jainism. Bhadrabahu and Visakhacarya with their disciples migrated to the South and propagated Jainism a lot. Andhra Satavahanas, Pallavas Pandyas, Colas, Calukyas, Rastrakutas, etc. were main dynasties which rendered sufficient royal patronage and benefits to Jainism and its followers through the spirit of religious toleration existed in this region. The Jainas were given magnificent grants for their spiritual purpose. Numerous Jaina temples and sculptures were eracted by kings and many facilities were provided for literary services through out India. As a result the Jaina Acaryas wrote their ample works in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil, Telagu, Kannada, Apabhramsa and modern Indian languages.

Jainism in Ceylon

Jainism crossed India from south in about the eighth century B.C. if not earlier, and became one of the important religions of Ceylon, which was known in those day by the name of Lanka Ratnadvipa or Simhala.149

The Mahavamsa, the best-known and most authoritative Ceylonese Chronicle in Pali verse, refers to the existence of Jainism in Ceylon even before the arrival of Buddhism. It is said there that Vijaya and his followers had to face the opposition of Yakkhinis in their attempt to establish their kingdom in Lanka. After the passing away of Vijaya, Panduvasudeva, and Abhaya Pandukabhaya captured the whole Island with the help of a Yakkhani named Cetiya who lived in the Dhumarakkha mountain near Tumbaramyana. Pandukabhaya then settled his helpers, Yakkhas and Yakhinis in various sides of the city of Anuradhapura, a capital of Lanka. He is also said to have handed over some cities to his relatives. He then made the appointment of hunderds of Candalas to work in the city and erected a cemetery for them. Estward of that cemetery Pandukabhaya built a house for the Nigantha Jotiya. In the same reign there dwelt another Niganth named Giri and many other ascetics of various heretical sects. At the same place there was also built a chapel for the Nigantha Kumbhandaha. Towards the west from thence and eastward of the street of the huntsmen there lived about five families of hertical beliefs (nanapasandika150).

The five hundred families of heretical beliefs and the construction of Viharas to the NIganthas on behalf of the king of lanka, Pandukabhaya, indicate clearly that Jainism was a living religion in Ceylon during his reign. Pandukabhaya's period, deduced on the basis of the date of Buddha's death as 544 B.C., is supposed to be 438-368 B. C. Jainism had apparently been introduced to Ceylon before Pandukabhaya. It could have been even before the arrival of Vijaya. One may wonder whether a name like Arittha (i, e. that of Devanampiya Tissa's minister) had any connection with the Jaina Tirthankara of that name.151

Jainism continued to exist even after the establishment of Buddhism in the Island. Its existence during the first century B. C. is recorded in the Mahavamsa. It is said that after a battle with the Tamila, king Vatthagamini Abhaya who was defeated fled out of the city. A Nigantha named Giri saw him and cried out loudly. "The great black Simhal is running away" (palayati mahakala Simhalo ti bhusam ravi). When the great king heard this he thought "If my wish be fulfiled I will build a Vihara here" (sidhe mama manorathe viharam karessam)152 Hence, after a few years when he drove away the Damila Dathika from Anuradhapura and regained his throne, he destroyed the Jaina monastery and built Abhayagiri Vihara in that place.153

According to the Mahavams Tika, this monastery was the scene of a tragedy in the time of Khallatanaga, predecessor of Vattagamini. This king, when he discovered a plot against his life by his nephew, went to Giri's monastery and ended his life by burning himself. At the spot, where this event occured, Khallatanaga's kinsman built a Cetiya called the Kurundavasoka Vihara,154

Jaina tradition takes the history of Jainism in Ceylon to Anera anterior to that reflected by the Ceylon Chronicles. According to Jaina records, the Yaksas and Raksasas who inhabited Ceylon prior to its Aryanization by Vijaya were not only human beings with a well developed civilization but also Jainas by faith155. The Vividhatirthakalpa mentions that at Trikutagiri in Kiskindha of Lanka there was magniflcient jain temple which was decdicated by Ravana, for the attainment of supernatural powers (Kiskindhayam Lankayah patalankayam Trikutagrirau Srisantinathah). To fulfil a desire of Mandodari, the principal queen, Ravana is said to have erected a Jaina statue out of jewels and this, it is said, was thrown into the sea when he was defeated by Ramachandra. Sankara, a king of Kalyananagara of Kannada, came to know about this statue and he recovered it from the bottom of sea with the help of Padmavatidevi, prominent Goddess of Jainas156.

It is said that the statue of Parsvanatha which is worshipped even now at Sripura Antariksa (India) was brought by Mali and Sumali Vidyadhara from Lanka.157 Another statue of Parsvanatha found in the caves of Terapura is also said to be from Lanka.158 The Karakanducariu describes how Amitavega, a Jaina king of Malaya, used to visit Lankadvipa as an intimate friend of ravana who built a Jaina temple in malaya.159 This Malaya can be identified with Malaya, the name of tho central hill country of Ceylon.

These references seem to point out that Jainism existed in-Ceylon even before the birth of the Nigantha nataputta. Vibhisana, the younger brother of Ravana, who was a follower of Jainism according to Jain tradition and literature, is referred to as the tutelary Yaksa of Ceylon (Vibhisanastamraparaniyam) in the Mahamayuri, a magical text of Northern Buddhists, which was translated into Chinese in the fourth century A. D. Vibhisana is still worshipped at Kelaniya and is supposed to be one of the four guardian deities of the Island.

Although the supremacy which Buddhism achieved in Ceylon could have led to the suppression of Jainism and incidents similar to the destruction of Giri's monastry by Vatta-Gamini Abhaya could have occurred at different times, Jainism did not disappear from Ceylon till at least after the eighth century. About the tenth century A. D.160 Muni Yasahkirti was requested by the then king of Ceylon to improve the state of Jainism in the island.161 This shows that Jainism not only was in existence at that time in Ceylon, but it also enjoyed the patronage of Sinhala kings of Ceylon.

As regards the Jaina monuments in Ceylon, the view of S. Parnavitana, an authoritative scholar on Ceylon Archaeology, are relevant:

"No remains of any Jaina monuments have ever been found in Ceylon. The earliest Stupas and Viharas of Jainism did not differ from those of Buddhism so much so, that without the evidence of inscriptions or of iconography it would be extremely difficult to differentiate between the two. Jain iconography had no yet developed in the times that we are dealing with. In the period during which this religion was prevalent in Ceylon, there were no monuments built of durable materials. Moreover, when Jainism disappeared, their places of worship must have been appropriated by the Buddhists as it happened with regard to the monastery of Giri, and any traces of the earlier faith would certainly have been obliterated in this way. Some of the earliest unidentified stupas of small dimensions may, however, be Jaina in origination."162

These meagre bits of evidence prove that jainism existed in Ceylon from at least eighth century B. C. If any credit is given to the legends of ravana, the upper limit may be extended by a few more centuries. If the historicity of these legends is established it would be interesting to find that early Jainism which preceded Parsvanatha had also founded a foothold in Ceylon.

Jain Friends Home   Books Index  Articles Index