Microcosmology: Atom In Jain Philosophy & Modern Science: [2.1.4] Atom In Jain Philosophy - Metaphysical View - Substance

Published: 03.08.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

Substance, Qualities, Modes

In the Jain metaphysical terminology, 'dravya' (substance) denoted a real existence, which is characterized by persistence-through-change. The Non-absolutist Realism of Jains is based on the doctrine of persistence-through-change.

  1. Bhagavati, uppannei va, vigamei va, dhuvei va
  2. Tat. SO., 5.30: utpada-vyaya-dhrauvya yuktam sat
[2] Uttaradhyayana, 28-6: gunanamasao dravvam

[3] I.J.T., 1-3: "guna-paryayasrayo-dravyam"
While the absolutists find self-contradiction in asserting both permanence and change in the same reality with reference to identical space and time, the Non-absolutist Jains maintain that one need not be afraid of accepting this as the Truth, as the very nature of things - since our common experience - gives this as a fact.

They, therefore, reject both - an unchanging permanent real of Vedantist and Parmenides and also mere eternal flux of Nihilists and Heraclitus. An unchanging permanent as well as mere change without a substratum are impossible abstractions.

The Jains therefore, define substance (dravya) as "what is capable of eternal continuous existence through infinite succession of origination and cessation."[1]

They also define it as "what possesses an infinite number of attributes." [2] and alternately as "the substratum of both qualities and modes."[3]

According to the Jains, "Substance is a real" because they assert the dynamic reality of dravya with permanent substantiality manifesting itself through (change in the form of) origination and cessation.

The trinity of

  1. utpada (orignination),
  2. vyaya (cessation),
  3. dhrauvya (permanence)

form the triple characteristics of reality.

  • Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
  • Edited by Muni Mahendra Kumar
  • 3rd Edition 1995

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Dhrauvya
  2. Dravya
  3. Parmenides
  4. Space
  5. Utpada
  6. Uttaradhyayana
  7. Vyaya
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