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The Jaina Path of Purification (book review) Padmanabh S. Jaini

211216: very good. perhaps only three. but there are some good chapters, particularly 3- nature of reality, 4-mechanism of bondage, in clear, accessible language. in later chapters the concern becomes more religious, more things to do- not do, some description of ideal jain, of historical jain, of history of community. it helps to know ancient indian society. it clarifies and corrects certain extreme images of jains, the inevitable career of any religion from strict to lax...

chapter 3 is the most philosophical, so most interesting to me, though it was already familiar from other readings. starting point is 'sat', being. starting logic is of 'partial truths', refusing extremist, dogmatic conceptions such as brahmanic absolute reality, change is illusion, and buddhist absolute change, reality is illusion. jain is 'many pointedness' where one can say 'syat', in this respect this, and apply it to both. this is not in this book but effect of reading several. my example is current in river: obviously it is real (water) but equally obvious it is motion (current)...

this book translates 'syat' as 'in this respect', so all statements may be 'partial truth' with the implication there is 'kevaljana' or 'complete truth' but only the most advanced person on the ascending ladder of perception may know this...

chapter 4 jain follow the typical indic formulation of 'samsara', the cycle of birth and death, and because they are strictly non-devotional, do not believe in 'grace', or any outside help to escape bounds of 'obstructing karma', they focus strongly on ways to eliminate karma. karma is thought to be floating around, always present, so jain must enact careful behaviour to 'cleanse' himself. there are karma that affect directly the soul, karma that affect rebirth. this is beginning of religious aspects of the book, so less interesting to me...

do not know whether this book in particular is clear, or just reason jainism, but it is not difficult read, until you come across many, many names in religious parts...

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