Tattvartha Sutra ► 00 Preliminaries ► Preface

Posted: 09.03.2017

Whatever I had to say about Tattvartha Sutra has been given in the Introduction. As such, I have not much to state in this preface. It is worth pointing out that Tattvartha Sutra happens to be the only text acceptable to the Jains of all denominations. Though it is a short composition that can be covered within 20 pages, it deals with almost everything that Jainism has to convey. It mainly deals with seven (or nine) fundamentals that form the basic core of Jainism. The author's presentation of the core is so superb that highly learned people have been induced to write voluminous commentaries thereon.

On the occasion of 2500th anniversary of Lord Mahāveer's Nirvān revered Vinobāji had called for one single Jain publication that would be acceptable to all the Jains. That had led to the compilation of 756 verses of Samansuttam. Adorable as the compilation is, it has to be admitted that it has not met the main criterion of universal acceptance. While it got the stamp of approval from Digambar and Terāpathi Jains, Shwetāmbar Moortipoojak and Sthānakwāsi Jains have mostly stayed aloof. Moreover, its 756 verses make it too bulky to be of regular use. I feel in hindsight that instead of undertaking new compilation the Jain community could have presented Tattvārtha Sutra as the uniformly acceptable Jain book that Vinobāji was looking for.

I happened to read Gujarati commentary of Tattvartha Sutra by Pundit Sukhlalaji in the sixties. That left behind a lasting impression on my mind. Its impact was too great to be forgotten. At that time, I did not have much spiritual orientation. That arose after my migration to U.S. and that prompted me to start monthly Jain Darshan in 1990. For that purpose I had to write on different topics pertaining to Jainism.

During 1996 it occurred to me that the contents of Tattvārtha Sutra warranted its presentation in English. Accordingly I started writing about it in Jain Darshan and that continued for more than a year. Since then I had been thinking to reedit the articles that 1 had written and to prepare a concise compendium of the text. 1 started doing that but could not devote enough attention, and the work was held up from time to time. Last year 1 decided to put off other work and concentrate upon Tattvartha Sutra. That helped in preparing this book, which I am pleased to place in your hands.

My earlier books were published by Indira Mansukhlal Dośhi Memorial Trust. That concept of publication underwent change since I wrote on Ātmasiddishāstra in 2003. After its publication by Shrimad Rajchandra Adhyatmic Sādhanā Kendra of Koba, I have remained particular to see that my books are published by the organizations that have wide distribution system. In accordance with that I happened to talk about this book to my friend Dilip Shah, the First Vice-president of Jaina. In that connection he contacted Shrut Ratnakar, Ahmedabad and It is my pleasure that the Institutes agreed to publish this book.

Lake Forest, IL
Manu Doshi

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Title: Tattvartha Sutra
Translation:
Manu Doshi
Commentary:
Manu Doshi
Publisher:
Federation of Jain Associations in North America & Shrut Ratnakar
Edition:
2007
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