The great French scholar Louis Renou, in his 1953 lectures on the religions of India, observed that ''the Jaina movement presents evidence that is of great interest, both for the historical and comparative study of religion in ancient India and for the history of religion in general. Based on profoundly Indian elements, it is at the same time a highly original creation, containing very ancient material, more ancient than that of Buddhism, and yet highly refined and elaborated.''' These remarks are certainly well-founded; the Jaina tradition is not only very old, but continues to manifest a great number of those religious and philosophical elements which had already made it unique some 2,500 years ago. For various reasons, however, Western scholar-ship dealing with this tradition has never attained to a degree of development commensurate with the importance of its subject in the sphere of Indological studies.
Among those works which have appeared on Jainism, the best-known are now unfortunately out of date. Jacobi's pioneering translations, for example, were first published in his two-volume Mina Sutras (1884 and 1895); these have recently been reprinted without any revision (1968). An-other widely read book, Stevenson's Heart of Jainism, made its initial appearance in 1915; in spite of the clearly biased conclusions arrived at by its Christian missionary author, the work has been reprinted unchanged (1970).
Two excellent German studies-Glasenapp's Der lainismus (1925) and Schubring's Die Lehre der Minas (1934, now available in a 1962 English translation entitled The Doctrine of the Jainas)-provide much useful information on various aspects of the Jaina religion; but these too have been largely superseded by recent research.
Only a few important studies focusing on Jaina materials have been published in the postwar era. Most notable among these are Tatia's Studies in Jaina Philosophy (1951) and Williams' Jaina Yoga (1963), both of which make original contributions to the knowledge of Jainism but deal with topics mainly suited to the advanced student. There remains, in other words, a definite need for a work that can introduce Jainism, not only as a religious tradition, but as a literary and sociohistorical one as well, to those with only a general knowledge of India and its major faiths. The present work is an attempt to fill this need.
Although doctrinal explanations have been kept as simple as possible, it has nevertheless been necessary to introduce a number of Sanskrit and Prakrit technical terms. Each of these is italicized and defined at the point of its initial appearance in the text; thereafter, the reader is referred to the Glossary of Sanskrit and Prakrit Words, wherein short definitions and page references for such terms are to be found. I have included a large amount of canonical and commentarial material, in the original languages, among the footnotes. This has been done to partially overcome the difficulty of finding such material in libraries outside of India. It is hoped that the passages thus made available will be of benefit to those specialists who wish to consult them.
It would perhaps have been impossible to write a book such as this without having had recourse to the great number of works on Jainism in Indian languages. In addition to such works, I have depended heavily upon information supplied by a number of esteemed Indian friends, most of whom are both scholars and followers of Jainism. Thanks are especially due to Brahmacari Shri Manikchandra Cha-ware of the Mahavira Jaina Gurukula, Karanja, who was most gracious in helping me obtain large numbers of Jaina books and in providing learned elucidations of several obscure points of Jaina doctrine. I am also very grateful to Messrs. Kantilal D. Kora, Valchand D. Shah, Manikchandra J. Bhisikar, Prem Jain, Shashidhar M. Karnad, Thomas Peele, and Dr. Saryu Doshi for their assistance in obtaining suitable illustrations.
I wish to thank several of my colleagues, at Berkeley and elsewhere, for their encouragement and helpful criticism during the early stages of this work: notably, Professors Frederick Streng, Lewis Lancaster, and Stephen Beyer. I have also received valuable assistance from Mr. Joseph. Clack, a graduate student in the Buddhist Studies program, both in organizing the material and in preparing the text. Without his enthusiastic cooperation the book would not have reached its present state.
Finally, I would like to thank Shashi, Aravind and Asha Jaini for their unflagging patience and support throughout the long period which was devoted to completion of this work.
**Contents and Sample Pages**