Jain Monks And Nuns

Right faith and Right knowledge usually go together; one should have faith in the one who is a spiritual climax of positive dynamism who is "Arhat" - Right Faith means, therefore the Faith in the Omniscient Teacher - "Arhat". Right conduct prescribed by Jainism is very difficult to observe. But if you have "Right Faith" right behaviour will come in the natural course. A Jain monk has no home of his own. He moves from village to village on barefoot. He does not shave but removes his hair by plucking. He keeps no extra clothes. He does not keep money. He meditates and prays in silence and solitude. He does not take bath, for there is life in water, (the water itself is a living entity). He does not want to hurt anyone. He does not use vehicles in order to protect the life in particles of dust on the road. His every tissue and texture of life is beaming with reverence for life and this is the essence of Jainism.

From where does he get such enormous strength to observe "Right Conduct" prescribed by Jainism? The answer is rule of aspiration and strength. Higher the aspiration, higher is the flow of strength. "Right Faith" is the aspiration, which is the highest in case of Jain monks, and Right Conduct is born out of aspiration and it is also the highest. Therefore Jainism puts all its stress on "Right Faith". "Right knowledge" is a bridge between "Right Faith" and "Right Conduct". There are fundamental divisions of spiritual life, which Jainism introduces us.

In India there are thousands of Jain Monks, in categories like Acharya, Upadhyaya and Muni. Trainee ascetics are known as Ailaka and Ksullaka in the Digambar tradition.
There are two categories of ascetics, Sadhu (monk) and Sadhvi (nun). They practice the five Mahavratas, three Guptis and five Samitis.

Five Mahavratas:
1. Ahimsa: Non-violence in thought, word and deed
2. Satya: Truth which is beneficial, succinct and pleasing
3. Acaurya: Not accepting anything that has not been given to them by the owner
4. Brahmacarya: Absolute purity of mind and body
5. Aparigraha: Non-attachment to non-self objects

Three Guptis
1. Managupti: Control of the mind
2. Vacanagupti: Control of speech
3. Kayagupti: Control of body

Five Samitis:
1. Irya Samiti: Carefulness while walking
2. Bhasha Samiti: Carefulness while communicating
3. Eshana Samiti: Carefulness while eating
4. Adana Nikshepana Samiti: Carefulness while handling their fly-whisks, water gourds, etc.
5. Pratishthapana Samiti: Carefulness while disposing of bodily waste matter

Male Digambar monks does not wear any clothes and are nude. They practise non-attachment to the body and hence, wear no clothes. Shwetambar monks and nuns wear white clothes. Shwetambars believe that monks and nuns may wear simple un-stitched white clothes as long as they are not attached to them. Jain monks and nuns travel on foot. They do not use mechanical transport.

Digambar followers take up to eleven Pratimaye (oath). Monks take all eleven oaths. They eat only once a day. The Male Digambar monks eat standing at one place in their palms without using any utensil.