07.10.2015 ►JVB NJ ►Inspiration | Vol 24 News & Upcoming Programs

Posted: 08.10.2015


THE ART OF ASSURING A PRIVILEGED LIFE IN THE NEXT BIRTH

People who believe in reincarnation desire Sadgati (the fortunate life) in their next life. Those who do not accept the idea of rebirth aspire for a better life in heaven or wherever they believe they will go after death.The prelude for a better next life is explained in the Jain scripture Dasavaikalika:

"Tavo-guna-pahanassa, ujjumai khanti-sanjama-rayassa.
Pareesahe jinantassa, sulaha suggai tarisagassa."

"The practice of penanace, simplicity, forgiveness, self-restratint, and forbearance in hardship leads to good standing in one's next birth."

PENANCE

Penance is one of the prerequisites to ensure nobility in the next life. Practitioners of penance can purify their spirit by eliminating the accumulated bad “karmas” and the acquisition of good “karmas” conducive to a better present as well as future life. What is penance? Although commonly perceived as abstaining from food and water for a certain period of time, this practice is not limited to fasting.

There are twelve different ways of observing the penance:

  1. Fasting,
  2. Reduced diet,
  3. Limiting food types,
  4. Abstinence from delicacies,
  5. Physical forbearance,
  6. Controlling the senses,
  7. Repentance,
  8. Humility,
  9. Service,
  10. Study of the scriptures,
  11. Meditation,
  12. Physical and Emotional detachment.

Fasting is the most widely observed penance. People give up food and sometimes water, for days. While medical studies have consistently shown that periodic fasting, restricted to liquid intake, has many health benefits, the “Jain“ fasting is much more valuable. While fasting (upvas) may not be possible for everybody, particularly those with physical limitations, limiting food intake or abstinence from delicacies from time to time are practical options. Penance disciplines the self. The goal should be to differentiate between "living for eating and eating for living”. Repentance, humility, service, spiritual books, mediation, and physical and emotional detachment are part and parcel of penance as well. These practices bring about inner purity, which in turn cultivates true happiness for the life cycles to come.

SIMPLICITY

The second criterion for better next life is simplicity. However, it is not easy to understand the true meaning of "simple”. Simplicity is a virtue of a great soul. A person who is beyond deceit and subterfuge is capable of achieving this powerful “simple” state. Deceit breeds problematic tensions, and yet people resort to this degrading practice because of its perceived short-term advantages. Simplicity is indeed a great virtue. It means oneness of outer and inner self and of speech and action. A simple person is dear to one and all.

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is another important quality for a good, tension-free life. It is an antidote to anger. Anger is like fire and forgiveness is like the cool sandalwood or water that puts it out. Acharya Somaprabha Suri says, "Anger increases anguish, eliminates humility, breaks, friendships, generates anxiety, and  provokes acrimonious speech. It destroys good will, clouds wisdom, and wipes out fortunes. That is why it is shunned by the wise." Anger seems to come easily and naturally to all but forgiveness is very difficult to adopt. True forgiveness requires a special effort. Forgiveness nourishes and sweetens relations. It perpetually strengthens the bonds of a family.

SELF RESTRAINT

The fourth consideration is self restraint. Every society and nation has, at sometime or another, experienced the unfortunate consequences of rash or thoughtless actions, either through its own bad  judgement or the perpetration of others. Most individuals have experienced and suffered the unpleasant loss of self control. Excessive desires are the root cause of many problems. When desires cross reasonable bounds, moral values deteriorate, spirituality gets marginalized, and peace of mind is lost. Man gets restless as he seeks more and more than that he already possesses. However, restraint should be one's password for a happier life. It spells safety and shelter from extremes and the excesses surrounding us. Sadgati is the desired happy outcome for a person who can control his mental and physical cravings.

FORBEARANCE

The fifth criterion for Sadgati (fortunate life) is forbearance, or overcoming adversities and obstacles. Forbearance requires a strong mind and an unwavering resolution. An ascetic life is like a war. The word “war” doesn't always indicate violence. It sometimes connotes courage and firm resolutions when facing adversities. Bhagwan Mahavir said:

"Appanameva Jujjhahi, kin te jujjhena bajjhao.
Appanameva appanam jaitta suhamehae."

"Make war with your own self (deluded self). Why do you intend to fight with the outer world? The person who conquers his inner self will achieve peace and happiness." It is very difficult to conquer oneself. Throughout his life a monk endures hardship, with a strong will and a solid purpose. He faces all difficulties with composure. A soldier is courageous for the sake of his country, a monk for his liberation. A layperson can also practice endurance and become a soldier of non-violence.

To lift oneself up, self evaluation and self modification based on the five criteria of Sadgati (fortunate life) is a must. The next life can only be reshaped by the meaningful changes we make in the present.

Views of Acharya Mahashraman from "LIFE, Twelve Golden Principles for Holistic Living"

Paryushan Parva was celebrated during September 10-17. During that week, under the auspicious presence of Samani Bhavit Pragyaji and Samani Sangh Pragyaji, pratikraman sessions were conducted by members of the JVBNA family. There was a bhajan presented everyday. Samaniji's pravachan sessions elaborated upon how to conquer sloth, ego, deceit, anger, speech, and attachment and the power of Namokar Mantra and Kshamapana. The sessions were well attended and well received by all. Many members did tapasya including 9 and 8 upavas, belas, telas, athai of ekasans, and upavas. The auspicious week came to an end with samuhik parna at the center, as it has become a tradition from past years.

International Peace Day

In the auspicious presence of Samanijis, JVBNA members celebrated international peace day on the evening of September 21 with the jaap, bhakti, and maitri geet.

Samuhik Pakshik Pratikraman

In the auspicious presence of Samanijis, JVBNA members began the tradition of conducting Samuhik Pakshik Pratikraman at the center on Sunday, Sep 27. Pakshik Pratikraman will now be conducted at the center on every Pakkhi. The times will vary based on sunset timings. The upcoming Pakkhi dates and times are as follows:

Oct 12 - 6:30 PM, 
Oct 27
- 6 PM,  
Nov 11 - 4:45 PM,
Nov 25
- 4:30 PM,
Dec 10
- 4:30 PM,
Dec 25 - 4:30 PM

Oct-Dec Events

  1. Kshampana Diwas and Bikshu Jaap - Saturday, Oct 3 - 3PM - 6PM - VFW Hall, 155 Front St, South Plainfield, NJ
  2. Gyanshala - Begins Sunday, Oct 4
  3. Diwali Jaap - Wednesday, Nov 11 - JVBNA Center
  4. Diwali Milan - Saturday, Nov 14 - Six Mile Run Church, Franklin Park, NJ
  5. 8 Day Weekend Gyata Dharma Katha Agam Workshop - Saturday, Nov 21 - Sunday, Dec 20 - 10AM - 12:30PM - JVBNA Center

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