Digambara (//; Sanskrit: दिगंबर, "sky-clad") is a sect of Jainism, which distinguished itself from the white-clad Śvētāmbara in about the 3rd century AD. Monks in the Digambar tradition don't wear any clothes, as it is considered parigrah (possession). They carry only a broom made up of fallen peacock feathers (to follow the principle of Ahiṃsā) and a water gourd.
The Digambar sect of Jainism rejects the authority of the Jain Agama compiled by Sthulabhadra. They believe that by the time of Dharasena, the twenty-third teacher after Gandhara Indrabhuti Gautama, knowledge of only one Anga was there. This was about 683 years after the Nirvāṇa of Mahavir. After Dharasena's pupils Puspadant and Bhutabali, even that was lost.
According to Digambar tradition, Mahavira, the last jain tirthankara, never married. He renounced the world at the age of thirty after taking permission of his parents. The Digambara believe that after attaining enlightenment, Mahavira (Kevalin) was free from human needs like hunger, thirst, and sleep. One of the most important scholar-monks of Digambara tradition was Acharya Kundakunda. He authored Prakrit texts such as Samayasar and Pravachansar. Samantabhadra and Siddhasena Divakara were other important monks of this tradition.
Every Digambara monk is required to follow 28 vows (vrats) compulsory.
|Number||Vows of Digambara Monk|
|1-5||Five great vows (Mahavrat)|
|6-10||Five vows of vigilance|
|11-15||Strict Control on five senses|
|16-21||Performing six essential duties|
|22||Not to take bath|
|23||Not to use tooth powder to clean teeth|
|24||To take rest only on earth or wood pallet|
|25||Eat food in standing posture|
|26||To consume food & water once in a day|
|27||To pull out hair by hand|
|28||To be nude (digambara)|
Five great vows
- Ahiṃsā - Not to hurt any living being by actions and thoughts.
- Satya - Not to lie in any circumstances.
- Asteya - Not to take anything if not given.
- Brahmacharya - Celibacy in action, words & thoughts.
- Aparigraha - Non-possession, complete detachment from material property.
Vows of Vigilance
- Control of speech - Not to criticise anyone.
- Control of thought
- Regulation of movement - To prevent killing of small living beings.
- Care in lifting things
- Examining food and drink before consuming.
Six Essential Duties
- Sämäyika - Meditate to become neutral towards every living being
- Devapujä - To worship qualities of 24 Tirthankaras
- Vandanä - To bow down to the Arihants, Siddhas and Acharyas
- Pratyakhyan - To renounce unneeded things
Digambara Jain acharyas have contributed richly to Indian society through their valuable literary works.
|Bhadrabahu||3rd century BC||Chandragupta Maurya's spritual teacher|
|Kundakunda||2nd century CE||Author of Samayasāra, Niyamasara, Pravachansara, Barah anuvekkha.|
|Umaswami||2nd century CE||Author of Tattvartha Sutra|
|Manatunga||6th century AD||Creator of famous Bhaktamara Stotra|
|Virasena||8th-century AD||Mathematician and author of Dhavala.|
|Jinasena||9th century AD||Author of Mahapurana (major Jain text) and Harivamsha Purana.|
|Shantisagar||20th century AD||Reformer of digambara tradition.|
|“||those whose, garment (ambara) is the element that fills the four quarters of space (dig)||”|
In the 10th century, Digambar tradition was divided into two main orders.
- Mula Sangh, which includes Sena gana, Deshiya gana and Balatkara gana traditions
- Kashtha Sangh, which includes the Mathura gana and Lat-vagad gana traditions
Shantisagar, belonged to the tradition of Sena gana. Practically all the Digambara monks today belong to his tradition, either directly or indirectly. The Bhattarakas of Shravanabelagola and Mudbidri belong to Deshiya gana and the Bhattaraka of Humbaj belongs to the Balatkara gana.
In Majjhima Nikaya, Buddha tells "Thus far, SariPutta, did I go in my penance? I went without clothes. I licked my food from my hands. I took no food that was brought or meant especially for me. I accepted no invitation to a meal." These being in conformity with the conduct of a digambara monk, it is possible that Buddha started his ascetic life as a digambara.
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