Acharanga Sutra

(c. 300 B.C.E.–400 C.E.)
   The Acharanga Sutra is the first of the 12 texts accepted as canonical by SHVETAMBARA Jains. The DIGAMBARA Jains believe that the original version of this sutra was lost and reject the text held sacred by the Shvetambaras. The sutra outlines, with some details, the rigorous limitations that Jain monks must observe and answers difficulties that might occur in their struggle to prevent injury to any creatures, including microscopic ones.
   To cite some examples, the Acharanga Sutra prohibits monks from digging in the earth (to prevent injury to any earth being); bathing, swim-ming, wading, or walking in the rain (to prevent injury to any water being); kindling or extin-guishing any flame (to prevent injury to beings that live in fire); waving the arms or making any other sudden movement (to prevent injury to air beings); and walking in any greenery or stepping on any plant (to prevent injury to beings living in plants). The sutra also demands the strictest vegetarianism.
   Further reading: Hermann Jacobi, trans., Jain Sutras, Part 1, Sacred Books of the East, XVL (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1964); P. S. Jaini, The Jain Path of Purifica-tion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979); Bimala Churn Law, Some Jain Canonical Sutras (Bom-bay: Bombay Branch Royal Asiatic Society, 1949).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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