This article is focused mostly on Buddhist values. There are some precepts from Taoism, that are similar to Buddhism, and from Jainism, the view of an Arihant, the view of God in Jainism, the view of Shaivism, a description of Rig Veda and a link to all the four Vedas(Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharveda), and other sacred texts.
The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three basic divisions, as follows:
Insight, wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)
1. Right view
2. Right resolve
Moral virtue (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Meditation (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Right View: our actions have consequences; death is not the end, and our actions and beliefs have also consequences after death; the Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld/hell). Later on, right view came to explicitly include karma and rebirth, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths, when “insight” became central to Buddhist soteriology.
Right Resolve: the giving up home and adopting the life of a religious mendicant in order to follow the path; this concept, states Harvey, aims at peaceful renunciation, into an environment of non-sensuality, non-ill-will (to loving kindness), away from cruelty (to compassion). Such an environment aids contemplation of impermanence, suffering, and non-Self.
Right Speech: no lying, no rude speech, no telling one person what another says about him, speaking that which leads to salvation;
Right Conduct: no killing or injuring, no taking what is not given, no sexual acts.
Right Livelihood: beg to feed, only possessing what is essential to sustain life;
Right Effort: guard against sensual thoughts; this concept, states Harvey, aims at preventing unwholesome states that disrupt meditation.
Right Mindfulness: never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing; this, states Harvey, encourages the mindfulness about impermanence of body, feeling and mind, as well as to experience the five aggregates (skandhas), the five hindrances, the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening.
Right samadhi: practicing four stages of meditation (dhyāna) culminating into unification of the mind.
In the Mahācattārīsaka Sutta which appears in the Chinese and Pali canons, the Buddha explains that cultivation of the noble eightfold path of a learner leads to the development of two further paths of the Arhants, which are right knowledge, or insight (sammā-ñāṇa), and right liberation, or release (sammā-vimutti). These two factors fall under the category of wisdom (paññā)
1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing. Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given. Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
3. I undertake the training rule to avoid sexual misconduct. Kāmesumicchācāra veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech. Musāvādā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.
The Eight Precepts are for upāsakas and upāsikās who wish to practice Buddhism more strictly than through adherence to the five precepts. The eight precepts focus both on avoiding morally bad behaviour, as do the five precepts, and on leading a more ascetic life.
The Buddha gave teachings on how the eight precepts are to be practiced, and on the right and wrong ways of practicing the eight precepts.
1.I undertake to abstain from causing harm and taking life (both human and non-human).
2.I undertake to abstain from taking what is not given (for example stealing, displacements that may cause misunderstandings).
3.I undertake to abstain from sexual activity.
4.I undertake to abstain from wrong speech: telling lies, deceiving others, manipulating others, using hurtful words.
5.I undertake to abstain from using intoxicating drinks and drugs, which lead to carelessness.
6.I undertake to abstain from eating at the wrong time (the right time is after sunrise, before noon).
7.I undertake to abstain from singing, dancing, playing music, attending entertainment performances, wearing perfume, and using cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories).
8.I undertake to abstain from luxurious places for sitting or sleeping, and overindulging in sleep.
In Theravada Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, laypersons will often spend one day a week (on the Uposatha days: the new moon, first-quarter moon, full moon and last-quarter moon days) living in a vihara and practicing the eight precepts.
The Ten Precepts refer to the precepts or training rules for śrāmaṇeras (novice monks) and śrāmaṇerīs (novice nuns). They are the same in most schools of Buddhism.
1.Refrain from killing living creatures.
2.Refrain from stealing.
3.Refrain from unchastity (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
4.Refrain from incorrect speech.
5.Refrain from taking intoxicants.
6.Refrain from taking food at inappropriate times (after noon).
7.Refrain from singing, dancing, playing music or attending entertainment programs (performances).
8.Refrain from wearing perfume, cosmetics and garlands (decorative accessories).
9.Refrain from sitting on high chairs and sleeping on luxurious, soft beds.
10.Refrain from accepting money.
The Four Right Exertions (cattārimāni sammappadhānāni) are defined with the following traditional phrase:
“There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for:
“[i] the sake of the non-arising [anuppādāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
“[ii] … the sake of the abandonment [pahānāya] of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
“[iii] … the sake of the arising [uppādāya] of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
“[iv] … the maintenance [ṭhitiyā], non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen.”
The four exertions (cattārimāni padhānāni) are summarized as:
Restraint (saṃvara padhāna) of the senses.
Abandonment (pahāna padhāna) of defilements.
Cultivation (bhāvanā padhāna) of Enlightenment Factors.
Preservation (anurakkhaṇā padhāna) of concentration, for instance, using charnel-ground contemplations.
In Buddhism, the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Pali: satta bojjhaṅgā or satta sambojjhaṅgā; Skt.: sapta bodhyanga) are:
Mindfulness (sati) i.e. to recognize the dhammas (phenomena or reality, two ways one can translate “dhamma”).
Investigation (dhamma vicaya) of dhammas.
Energy (viriya) also determination
Joy or rapture (pīti)
Relaxation or tranquility (passaddhi) of both body and mind
Concentration, clear awareness (samādhi) a calm, one-pointed state of concentration of mind, or clear awareness
Equanimity (upekkha), to be fully aware of all phenomena without being lustful or averse towards them.
Threefold Partition, Eightfold Path, Method of Practice
Wisdom – Knowing Four Noble Truths
Virtue – Five Laymen Vows
Mind – Dwelling in the four jhanas (meditation)
(written in 16th july 2017)
(what is below, is written on 27th July 2017)
According to The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord’s Scripture of Precepts, the five basic precepts are:
The first precept: No Murdering;
The second precept: No Stealing;
The third precept: No Sexual Misconduct;
The fourth precept: No False Speech;
The fifth precept: No Taking of Intoxicants.
Their definitions can be found in an excerpt of The Ultra Supreme Elder Lord’s Scripture of Precepts:
The Elder Lord said: “The precept against killing is: All living beings, including all kinds of animals, and those as small as insects, worms, and so forth, are containers of the uncreated energy, thus one should not kill any of them.”
The Elder Lord said: “The precept against stealing is: One should not take anything that he does not own and is not given to him, whether it belongs to someone or not.”
The Elder Lord said: “The precept against sexual misconduct is: If a sexual conduct happens, but it is not with your married spouse, it is a Sexual Misconduct. As for a monk or nun, he or she should never marry or practice sexual intercourse with anyone.”*
The Elder Lord said: “The precept against false speech is: If one did not witness what happened himself but telling something to others, or if one lies with knowing it’s a lie, this constitutes False Speech.”
The Elder Lord said: “The precept against taking of intoxicants is: One should not take any alcoholic drinks, unless he has to take some to cure his illness, to regale the guests with a feast, or to conduct religious ceremonies.”**
The Elder Lord had said: “These five precepts are the fundamentals for keeping one’s body in purity, and are the roots of the upholding of the holy teachings. For those virtuous men and virtuous women who enjoy the virtuous teachings, if they can accept and keep these precepts, and never violate any of them till the end of their lifetimes, they are recognized as those with pure faith, they will gain the Way to Tao, will gain the holy principles, and will forever achieve Tao — the Reality.”
*The precept against sexual misconduct also outlines that sexual acts such as premarital sexual conduct, adultery, prostitution, having intercourse with prostitutes, etc., are all sexual misconduct. (Original commentary: If the married spouses have intercourse too frequently, that is also considered sexual misconduct.)
*The term for married spouses (Chinese: 夫婦) usually means “husband and wife”; the scripture itself does not explicitly mention homosexuality. (Original commentary: sexual misconduct is unfaithful sexual relationships [不貞為婬])
The Ten Precepts of Taoism were outlined in a short text that appears in Dunhuang manuscripts (DH31, 32). The precepts are the classical rules of medieval Taoism as applied to practitioners attaining the rank of Disciple of Pure Faith. They first appeared in the Scripture on Setting the Will on Wisdom (DZ325).
There is one rule that is divided into Ten Precepts. That rule is the Tao (or Dao).
Do not kill but always be mindful of the host of living beings.
Do not be lascivious or think depraved thoughts.
Do not steal or receive unrighteous wealth.
Do not cheat or misrepresent good and evil.
Do not get intoxicated but always think of pure conduct.
I will maintain harmony with my ancestors and family and never disregard my kin.
When I see someone do a good deed, I will support him with joy and delight.
When I see someone unfortunate, I will support him with dignity to recover good fortune.
When someone comes to do me harm, I will not harbor thoughts of revenge.
As long as all beings have not attained the Tao, I will not expect to do so myself.
The Five Wisdoms are:
Tathatā-jñāna, the wisdom of Suchness or Dharmadhatu, “the bare non-conceptualizing awareness” of Śūnyatā, the universal substrate of the other four jñāna;
Ādarśa-jñāna, the wisdom of “Mirror-like Awareness”, “devoid of all dualistic thought and ever united with its ‘content’ as a mirror is with its reflections”;
Samatā-jñāna, the wisdom of the “Awareness of Sameness”, which perceives the sameness, the commonality of dharmas or phenomena.
Pratyavekṣaṇa-jñāna, the wisdom of “Investigative Awareness”, that perceives the specificity, the uniqueness of dharmas.
Kṛty-anuṣṭhāna-jñāna, the wisdom of “Accomplishing Activities”, the awareness that “spontaneously carries out all that has to be done for the welfare of beings, manifesting itself in all directions”.
The Five Wisdoms “emerge through a transformation (parāvṛtti) of the eight consciousnesses at the moment of enlightenment”.
Huayan teaches the Four Dharmadhātu, four ways to view reality:
All dharmas are seen as particular separate events;
All events are an expression of the absolute;
Events and essence interpenetrate;
All events interpenetrate.
Four ways of knowing
See also: Four Dharmadhatu and Five Wisdoms
Asanga, one of the main proponents of Yogacara, introduced the idea of four ways of knowing: the perfection of action, observing knowing, universal knowing, and great mirror knowing. He relates these to the Eight Consciousnesses:
The five senses are connected to the perfection of action,
Samjna (cognition) is connected to observing knowing,
Manas (mind) is related to universal knowing,
Alaya-vijnana is connected to great mirror knowing.
In time, these ways of knowing were also connected to the doctrine of the three bodies of the Buddha (Dharmakāya, Sambhogakāya and Nirmanakaya), together forming the “Yuishiki doctrine”.
Hakuin related these four ways of knowing to four gates on the Buddhist path: the Gate of Inspiration, the Gate of Practice, the Gate of Awakening, and the Gate of Nirvana.
The Gate of Inspiration is initial awakening, kensho, seeing into one’s true nature.
The Gate of Practice is the purification of oneself by continuous practice.
The Gate of Awakening is the study of the ancient masters and the Buddhist sutras, to deepen the insight into the Buddhist teachings, and acquire the skills needed to help other sentient beings on the Buddhist path to awakening.
The Gate of Nirvana is the “ultimate liberation”, “knowing without any kind of defilement”.
The four stages of enlightenment in Theravada Buddhism are the four progressive stages culminating in full enlightenment as an Arahat.
These four stages are Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. The Buddha referred to people who are at one of these four stages as noble people (ariya-puggala) and the community of such persons as the noble sangha (ariya-sangha).
The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of the early Buddhist schools, including the Theravada school of Buddhism, which still survives.
A Stream-enterer (Sotapanna) is free from:
1. Identity view
2. Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Doubt about the teachings
A Once-returner (Sakadagami) has greatly attenuated:
4. Sensual desire
5. Ill will
A Non-returner (Anāgāmi) is free from:
4. Sensual desire
5. Ill will
An Arahant is free from all of the five lower fetters and the five higher fetters, which are:
6. Craving for prosperity in the material world
7. Craving for existence in the ideal world (heaven)
The Sutta Pitaka classifies the four levels according to the levels’ attainments. In the Sthaviravada and Theravada traditions, which teach that progress in understanding comes all at once, and that ‘insight’ (abhisamaya) does not come ‘gradually’ (successively – anapurva),” this classification is further elaborated, with each of the four levels described as a path to be attained suddenly, followed by the realisation of the fruit of the path.
The process of becoming an Arahat is therefore characterized by four distinct and sudden changes, although in the sutras it says that the path has a gradual development, with gnosis only after a long stretch, just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual inclination with a sudden drop only after a long stretch. The Mahasanghika had the doctrine of ekaksana-citt, “according to which a Buddha knows everything in a single thought-instant” (Gomez 1991, p. 69). The same stance is taken in Chan Buddhism, although the Chán school harmonized this point of view with the need for gradual training after the initial insight. This “gradual training” is expressed in teachings as the Five ranks of enlightenment, Ten Ox-Herding Pictures which detail the steps on the Path, The Three mysterious Gates of Linji, and the Four Ways of Knowing of Hakuin. The same stance is taken in the contemporary Vipassana movement, especially the so-called “New Burmese Method”.
The Four Noble Truths refer to and express the basic orientation of Buddhism in a short expression: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things,which are dukkha, “incapable of satisfying” and painful. This craving keeps us caught in samsara,the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, and the dukkha that comes with it. There is, however, a way to end this cycle,namely by attaining nirvana, cessation of craving, whereafter rebirth and associated dukkha will no longer arise again.This can be accomplished by following the eightfold path,restraining oneself, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation.
In short form, the four truths are dukkha, samudaya (“arising,” “coming together”), nirodha (“cessation,” “confinement”), and magga, the path leading to cessation. As the “Four Noble Truths” (Sanskrit: catvāri āryasatyāni; Pali: cattāri ariyasaccāni), they are “the truths of the Noble Ones,”the truths or realities which are understood by the “worthy ones” who have attained nirvana.
- ‘Monks, although a monk who does not apply himself to the meditative development of his mind may wish, “Oh, that my mind might be free from the taints by non-clinging!”, yet his mind will not be freed. For what reason? “Because he has not developed his mind,” one has to say. Not developed it in what? In the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right kinds of striving, the four bases of success, the five spiritual faculties, the five spiritual powers, the seven factors of enlightenment and the Noble Eightfold Path.’
Four establishments of mindfulness
- Mindfulness of the body (kāyānupassanā, S. kayānupasthāna)
- Mindfulness of feelings (vedanānupassanā, S. vedanānupasthāna)
- Mindfulness of mental states (cittānupassanā, S. cittanupasthāna)
- Mindfulness of mental qualities (dhammānupassanā, S. dharmanupasthāna)
Four right exertions
- Exertion for the preventing of unskillful states to arise
- Exertion for the abandoning of the already arisen unskillful states
- Exertion for the arising of skillful states
- Exertion for the sustaining and increasing of arisen skillful states
Four bases of power
- Will (chanda, S. chanda)
- Energy (viriya, S. virya)
- Consciousness (citta, S. citta)
- Examination (vīmaṁsa or vīmaŋsā, S. mimāṃsā)
- Conviction (saddhā, S. śraddā)
- Energy (viriya, s. virya)
- Mindfulness (sati, S. smṛti)
- Unification (samādhi, S. samādhi)
- Wisdom (paññā, S. prajñā)
- Conviction (saddhā, S. śraddā)
- Energy (viriya, S. virya)
- Mindfulness (sati, S. smṛti)
- Unification (samādhi, S. samādhi)
- Wisdom (paññā, S. prajñā)
Seven factors of Enlightenment
- Mindfulness (sati, S. smṛti)
- Investigation (dhamma vicaya, S. dharmapravicaya)
- Energy (viriya, S. virya)
- Joy (pīti, S. prīti)
- Tranquillity (passaddhi, S. praśrabdhi)
- Unification (samādhi, S. samādhi)
- Equanimity (upekkhā, S. upekṣā)
Noble Eightfold Path
- Right Understanding (sammā diṭṭhi, S. samyag-dṛṣṭi)
- Right Intention (sammā saṅkappa, S. samyak-saṃkalpa)
- Right Speech (sammā vācā, S. samyag-vāc)
- Right Action (sammā kammanta, S. samyak-karmānta)
- Right Livelihood (sammā ājīva, S. samyag-ājīva)
- Right Energy (sammā vāyāma, S. samyag-vyāyāma)
- Right Mindfulness (sammā sati, S. samyak-smṛti)
- Right Unification (sammā samādhi, S. samyak-samādhi)
Arahant(Arhat) vs Arihant
Theravada Buddhism defines arhat (Sanskrit) or arahant (Pali) as “one who is worthy” or as a “perfected person” having attained nirvana. Other Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood.
The understanding of the concept has changed over the centuries, and varies between different schools of Buddhism and different regions. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools. The Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda, and Caitika schools all regarded arhats as imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas.
Mahayana Buddhist teachings urge followers to take up the path of a bodhisattva, and to not fall back to the level of arhats and śrāvakas. The arhats, or at least the senior arhats, came to be widely regarded[by whom?] as “moving beyond the state of personal freedom to join the Bodhisattva enterprise in their own way”.
Mahayana Buddhism regarded a group of Eighteen Arhats (with names and personalities) as awaiting the return of the Buddha as Maitreya, and other groupings of 6, 8, 16, 100, and 500 also appear in tradition and Buddhist art, especially in East Asia. They can be seen as the Buddhist equivalents of the Christian saints, apostles or early disciples and leaders of the faith.
Arihant (Magadhi Prakrit: अरिहन्त arihant, Sanskrit: अर्हत árhat “conqueror”) or jina, is a soul who has conquered inner passions such as attachment, anger, pride and greed. Arihant are also called kevalins (omniscient beings) as they possess Kevala Jnana (pure infinite knowledge). An arihant is also called a Jina “conqueror”. At the end of their life, arihants destroy all four gathiya karmas and attain moksha(liberation) and become siddha (liberated soul). The Ṇamōkāra mantra, the fundamental prayer dedicated to Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (five supreme beings), begins with Ṇnamō arihantāṇnamṁ, “Obeisance to the arihants”.
Kevalī (omniscient beings) are said to be of two kinds
- Tirthankara kevalī: 24 human spiritual guides who after attaining omniscience teach the path to salvation.
- Sāmānya kevalī: Kevalī who are concerned with their own liberation.
According to Jains, every soul has the potential to become arihant. A soul which destroys all kashayas or inner enemies like anger, ego, deception, and greed – responsible for the perpetuation of ignorance – becomes an Arihant. According to Jain texts, omniscience is attained on the destruction of the deluding, the knowledge-obscuring, the perception-obscuring and the obstructive karmas, in the order mentioned. The Arihant are said to be free from the following eighteen imperfections:
- janma – (re)birth;
- jarā – old-age;
- triśā – thirst;
- kśudhā – hunger;
- vismaya – astonishment;
- arati – displeasure;
- kheda – regret;
- roga – sickness;
- śoka – grief;
- mada – pride;
- moha – delusion;
- bhaya – fear;
- nidrā – sleep;
- cintā – anxiety;
- sveda – perspiration;
- rāga – attachment;
- dveśa – aversion; and
- maraņa – death.
In Jainism, omniscience is said to be the infinite, all-embracing knowledge that reflects, as it were in a mirror, all substances and their infinite modes, extending through the past, the present and the future. According to Jain texts, omniscience is the natural attribute of the pure souls. The self-attaining omniscience becomes a kevalī.
The four infinitudes (ananta chatushtaya) are:
- ananta jñāna, infinite knowledge
- ananta darśana, perfect perception due to the destruction of all darshanavarniya karmas.
- ananta sukha, infinite bliss; and
- ananta vīrya – infinite energy.
Those Arihants who re-establish the Jain faith are called Tirthankaras. Tirthankaras revitalize the sangha, the fourfold order consisting of male saints (sādhus), female saints (sādhvis), male householders (śrāvaka) and female householders (Śrāvika).
Jain texts mention forty-six attributes of arihants or tirthankaras. These attributes comprise four infinitudes (ananta chatushtaya), thirty-four miraculous happenings (atiśaya), and eight splendours (prātihārya).
The eight splendours (prātihārya) are:
- aśoka vrikśa – the Ashoka tree;
- siṃhāsana– bejeweled throne;
- chatra – three-tier canopy;
- bhāmadal – halo of unmatched luminance;
- divya dhvani – divine voice of the Lord without lip movement;
- puśpa-varśā – shower of fragrant flowers;
- camara – waving of sixty-four majestic hand-fans; and
- dundubhi – dulcet sound of kettle-drums and other musical instruments.
At the time of nirvana (final release), the arihant sheds off the remaining four aghati karmas:
- Nam (physical structure forming) Karma
- Gotra (status forming) Karma,
- Vedniya (pain and pleasure causing) Karma,
- Ayushya (life span determining) Karma.
These four karmas do not affect the true nature of the soul and are therefore called aghati karmas. After attaining salvation from these arihants become siddhas.
In the Namokara Mantra, Namo Arihantanam, Namo Siddhanam, Jains worship the arihants first and then to the siddhas even though the latter are perfected souls who have destroyed all karmas and are considered to be at a higher spiritual stage than arihants. Since siddhashave attained ultimate liberation, they are not accessible. However arihants are accessible for spiritual guidance to human society until their nirvana.
Having destroyed the four inimical varieties of karmas (ghātiyā karmas), possessed of infinite faith, happiness, knowledge and power, and housed in most auspicious body (paramaudārika śarīra), that pure soul of the World Teacher (Arhat) should be meditated on.— Dravyasaṃgraha (50)
In Jainism, godliness is said to be the inherent quality of every soul. This quality however is subdued by the soul’s association with karmic matter. All souls who have achieved the natural state of infinite bliss, infinite knowledge (kevala jnana), infinite power and infinite perception are regarded as ‘God in Jainism’. Jainism rejects the idea of a creator deity responsible for the manifestation, creation, or maintenance of this universe. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents (soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion) have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws and perfect soul, an immaterial entity cannot create or affect a material entity like the universe.
Five supreme beings
In Jainism, the Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (Sanskrit for “five supreme beings”) are a fivefold hierarchy of religious authorities worthy of veneration. The five supreme beings are:
- Acharya (Head of the monastic order)
- Upadhyaya (“Preceptor of less advanced ascetics”)
- Muni or Jain monks
A human being who conquers all inner passions and possesses infinite right knowledge (Kevala Jnana) is revered as an arihant in Jainism.They are also called Jinas (conquerors) or Kevalin (omniscient beings). An arihant is a soul who has destroyed all passions, is totally unattached and without any desire and hence is able to destroy the four ghātiyā karmas and attain kevala jñāna, or omniscience. Such a soul still has a body and four aghātiyā karmas. Arihantas, at the end of their human life-span, destroys all remaining aghātiyā karmas and attain Siddhahood. There are two kinds of kevalin or arihant:
- Sāmānya Kevalin–Ordinary victors, who are concerned with their own salvation.
- Tirthankara Kevalin–Twenty-four human spiritual guides (teaching gods), who show the true path to salvation.
Siddha (Tamil ‘Great thinker/wise man’, Sanskrit, “perfected one”) is a term that is used widely in Indian religions and culture. It means “one who is accomplished”. It refers to perfected masters who have achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. In Jainism, the term is used to refer the liberated souls. Siddha may also refer to one who has attained a siddhi, paranormal capabilities.
The Svetasvatara (II.12) presupposes a ‘Siddha body.
In Jainism, the term siddha is used to refer the liberated souls who have destroyed all karmas and have obtained moksha. They are free from the transmigratory cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra) and are above Arihantas (omniscient beings). Siddhas do not have a body; they are soul in its purest form. They reside in the Siddhashila, which is situated at the top of the Universe. They are formless and have no passions and therefore are free from all temptations. They do not have any karmas and they do not collect any new karmas.
“கடையிலா ஞானத்தோடு காட்சி வீரியமே இன்ப
மிடையுறு நாமமின்மை விதித்த கோத்திரங்களின்மை
அடைவிலா ஆயுஇன்மை அந்தராயங்கள் இன்மை
உடையவன் யாவன் மற்று இவ்வுலகினுக்கு இறைவனாமே”
“The soul that has infinite knowledge (Ananta jnāna, கடையிலா ஞானம்), infinite vision or wisdom (Ananta darshana, கடையிலா காட்சி), infinite power (Ananta labdhi, கடையிலா வீரியம்), infinite bliss (Ananta sukha, கடையிலா இன்பம்), without name (Akshaya sthiti, நாமமின்மை), without association to any caste (Being vitāraga, கோத்திரமின்மை), infinite life span (Being arupa, ஆயுள் இன்மை) and without any change (Aguruladhutaa, அழியா இயல்பு) is God.”
The following table summarizes the eight supreme qualities of a liberated soul.
|Kśāyika samyaktva||infinite faith or belief in the tattvas or essential principles of reality||manifested on the destruction of the faith-deluding (darśana mohanīya) karma|
|Kevala Jnāna||infinite knowledge||on the destruction of the knowledge-obscuring (jnānāvarnīya) karma.|
|Kevaladarśana||infinite perception||on the destruction of the perception-obscuring (darśanāvarnīya) karma|
|Anantavīrya||infinite power||on the destruction of the obstructive (antarāya) karma|
|Sūksmatva||fineness||manifested on the destruction of the life- determining (āyuh) karma|
|Avagāhan||inter-penetrability||manifested on the destruction of the name-determining (nāma) karma|
|Agurulaghutva||literally, neither heavy nor light||manifested on the destruction of the status-determining (gotra) karma|
|Avyābādha||undisturbed, infinite bliss||manifested on the destruction of the feeling-producing (vedanīya) karma|
Because of the quality of Sūksmatva, the liberated soul is beyond sense-perception and its knowledge of the substances is direct, without the use of the senses and the mind. The quality of avagāhan means that the liberated soul does not hinder the existence of other such souls in the same space.
A soul after attaining Siddhahood goes to the top of the loka (as per jain cosmology) and stays there till infinity. Siddhas are formless and dwell in Siddhashila with the above mentioned eight qualities.
In Hinduism, the first usage of the term Siddha occurs in the Maitreya Upanishad in chapter Adhya III where the writer of the section declares “I am Siddha.”
Siddha or siddhar (Tamil tradition)
In Tamil Nadu, South India, a siddha (see Siddhar) refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar, refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take. Siddha were said to have special powers including flight. These eight powers are collectively known as attamasiddhigal (ashtasiddhi). In Hindu cosmology, Siddhaloka is a subtle world (loka) where perfected beings (siddhas) take birth. They are endowed with the eight primary siddhis at birth.
The 18 siddhars are listed below.
Shaivism (IAST: Śaivism) or “Saivam” is one of the major traditions in Hinduism that reveres Shiva as the Supreme Being or its metaphysical concept of Brahman.[note 1] The followers of Shaivism are called “Shaivites” or “Saivites”. Like much of Hinduism, the Shaiva have many sub-traditions, ranging from devotional dualistic theism such as Shaiva Siddhanta to yoga-oriented monistic non-theism such as Kashmiri Shaivism. It considers both the Vedas and the Agama texts as important sources of theology.
Shaivism has ancient roots, traceable in the Vedic literature of 2nd millennium BCE, but this is in the form of the Vedic deity Rudra.The ancient text Shvetashvatara Upanishad dated to late 1st millennium BCE mentions terms such as Rudra, Shiva and Maheshwaram, but its interpretation as a theistic or monistic text of Shaivism is disputed. In the early centuries of the common era is the first clear evidence of Pāśupata Shaivism. Both devotional and monistic Shaivism became popular in the 1st millennium CE, rapidly becoming the dominant religious tradition of many Hindu kingdoms. It arrived in Southeast Asia shortly thereafter, leading to thousands of Shaiva temples on the islands of Indonesia as well as Cambodia and Vietnam, co-evolving with Buddhism in these regions. In the contemporary era, Shaivism is one of the major aspects of Hinduism.
Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, preserver, destroyer to being the same as the Atman (self, soul) within oneself and every living being. It is closely related to Shaktism, and some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples. It is the Hindu tradition that most accepts ascetic life and emphasizes yoga, and like other Hindu traditions encourages an individual to discover and be one with Shiva within. Shaivism is one of the largest traditions within Hinduism.
The reverence for Shiva is one of the pan-Hindu traditions, found widely across India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. While Shiva is revered broadly, Hinduism itself is a complex religion and a way of life, with a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions. It has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.
Shaivism is a major tradition within Hinduism, with a theology that is predominantly related to the Hindu god Shiva. Shaivism has many different sub-traditions with regional variations and differences in philosophy. Shaivism has a vast literature with different philosophical schools, ranging from nondualism, dualism, and mixed schools.
Yoga and meditation has been an integral part of Shaivism, and it has been a major innovator of techniques such as those of Hatha Yoga. Many major Shiva temples and Shaiva tritha (pilgrimage) centers depict anthropomorphic iconography of Shiva as a giant statue wherein Shiva is a loner yogi meditating, as do Shaiva texts.
In several Shaiva traditions such as the Kashmir Shaivism, anyone who seeks personal understanding and spiritual growth has been called a Yogi. The Shiva Sutras (aphorisms) of Shaivism teach yoga in many forms. According to Mark Dyczkowski, yoga – which literally means “union” – to this tradition has meant the “realisation of our true inherent nature which is inherently greater than our thoughts can ever conceive”, and that the goal of yoga is to be the “free, eternal, blissful, perfect, infinite spiritually conscious” one is.
Many Yoga-emphasizing Shaiva traditions emerged in medieval India, who refined yoga methods such as by introducing Hatha Yoga techniques. One such movement had been the Nath Yogis, a Shaivism sub-tradition that integrated philosophy from Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism traditions. It was founded by Matsyendranathand further developed by Gorakshanath. The texts of these Yoga emphasizing Hindu traditions present their ideas in Shaiva context.[note 7]
Hindu performance arts
Shiva is the lord of dance and dramatic arts in Hinduism. This is celebrated in Shaiva temples as Nataraja, which typically shows Shiva dancing in one of the poses in the ancient Hindu text on performance arts called the Natya Shastra.
Dancing Shiva as a metaphor for celebrating life and arts is very common in ancient and medieval Hindu temples. For example, it is found in Badami cave temples, Ellora Caves, Khajuraho, Chidambaram and others. The Shaiva link to the performance arts is celebrated in Indian classical dances such as Bharatanatyam and Chhau.
Buddhism and Shaivism have interacted and influenced each other since ancient times, in both South Asia and Southeast Asia. Their Siddhas and esoteric traditions, in particular, have overlapped to an extent where Buddhists and Hindus would worship in the same temple such as in the Seto Machindranath. In southeast Asia, the two traditions were not presented in competitive or polemical terms, rather as two alternate paths that lead to the same goals of liberation, with theologians disagreeing which of these is faster and simpler. Scholars disagree whether a syncretic tradition emerged from Buddhism and Shaivism, or it was a coalition with free borrowing of ideas, but they agree that the two traditions co-existed peacefully.
The earliest evidence of a close relationship between Shaivism and Buddhism comes from the archaeological sites and damaged sculptures from the northwest Indian subcontinent, such as Gandhara. These are dated to about the 1st-century CE, with Shiva depicted in Buddhist arts.[note 8] The Buddhist Avalokiteshvara is linked to Shiva in many of these arts, but in others Shiva is linked to Bodhisattva Maitreya with he shown as carrying his own water pot like Vedic priests. According to Richard Blurton, the ancient works show that the Bodhisattva of Compassion in Buddhism has many features in common with Shiva in Shaivism. The Shaiva Hindu and Buddhist syncretism continues in the contemporary era in the island of Bali, Indonesia. In Central Asian Buddhism, and its historic arts, syncretism and a shared expression of Shaivism, Buddhism and Tantra themes has been common.
The syncretism between Buddhism and Shaivism was particularly marked in southeast Asia, but this was not unique, rather it was a common phenomenon also observed in the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, the south and the Himalayan regions. This tradition continues in predominantly Hindu Bali Indonesia in the modern era, where Buddha is considered the younger brother of Shiva.[note 9] In the pre-Islamic Java, Shaivism and Buddhism were considered very close and allied religions, though not identical religions.[note 10] This idea is also found in the sculptures and temples in the eastern states of India and the Himalayan region. For example, Hindu temples in these regions show Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu) flanked by a standing Buddha on its right and a standing Surya (Hindu Sun god) on left.
Jainism co-existed with Shaiva culture since ancient times, particularly in western and southern India where it received royal support from Hindu kings of Chaulukya, Ganga and Rashtrakuta dynasties. In late 1st millennium CE, Jainism too developed a Shaiva-like tantric ritual culture with Mantra-goddesses. These Jain rituals were aimed at mundane benefits using japas (mantra recitation) and making offerings into Homa fire.
According to Alexis Sanderson, the link and development of Shaiva goddesses into Jaina goddess is more transparent than a similar connection between Shaivism and Buddhism.The 11th-century Jain text ‘’Bhairavapadmavatikalpa’’, for example, equates Padmavati of Jainism with Tripura-bhairavi of Shaivism and Shaktism. Among the major goddesses of Jainism that are rooted in Hindu pantheon, particularly Shaiva, include Lakshmi and Vagishvari (Sarasvati) of the higher world in Jain cosmology, Vidyadevis of the middle world, and Yakshis such as Ambika, Cakreshvari, Padmavati and Jvalamalini of the lower world according to Jainism.
Shaiva-Shakti iconography is found in major Jain temples. For example, the Osian temple of Jainism near Jodhpur features Chamunda, Durga, Sitala and a naked Bhairava. While Shaiva and Jain practices had considerable overlap, the interaction between Jain community and Shaiva community differed on the acceptance of ritual animal sacrifices before goddesses. Jain remained strictly vegetarian and avoided animal sacrifice, while Shaiva accepted the practice.
The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, from ṛc “praise, shine” and veda “knowledge”) is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrithymns. It is one of the four canonical sacred texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. The text is a collection of 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses, organized into ten books (Mandalas). A good deal of the language is still obscure and many hymns as a consequence seem unintelligible.
The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities. For each deity series the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones; and the number of hymns per book increases. In the eight books that were composed the earliest, the hymns predominantly discuss cosmology and praise deities. Books 1 and 10, which were added last, deal with philosophical or speculative questions about the origin of the universe and the nature of god, the virtue of dāna (charity) in society, and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.
Rigveda is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BC, though a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BC has also been given.[note 1]
Some of its verses continue to be recited during Hindu rites of passage celebrations such as weddings and religious prayers, making it probably the world’s oldest religious text in continued use.
As for a good translation and a library of texts, for Rigveda, here:
Also, more sources for the vedas, here: