Jain Study Guide: - Method of Study, Sequence of Study, What to Study & Why?

Study Guide. Acharya Kundkund writing Samaysar for us to study. Study Guide - How to study Jain literature, in what sequence and which books


The ultimate purpose of studying Jain Texts is to achieve nirvana (moksh) by self-experience (sva-anubhuti).

This guide is to enable the beginner to understand:
  1. Method: What is the Method of studying any Jain Books (Shastras)?
  2. Sequence, What, Why:
    • In what Sequence should these books be studied?
    • What books to study and Why these specific books should be studied?
With this understanding, self-experience becomes possible.

1. Method of studying Jain Books

One should not just read Jain books. They are not meant for just reading. They are meant for serious studying i.e. one should read and then think on what is being said to understand the meaning. Special attention should be paid to any logic being presented.

Then whilst studying, even if you are able to study only a single gatha but you get engrossed in thinking on that topic - don't worry - as that is more purposeful / useful / beneficial. Why?

Because reading is to enable thinking i.e. purpose of studying Jain Shastras is to start thinking about the nature of Soul (Jiv) etc. Why?

By thinking one can make a decision about what the nature of ones self-soul is. Why?

After making a decision about one's soul's nature, self-experience becomes possible.

Studying with Pujya Shree Kanji Swami: Any of the books recommended for study in the following sections should be studied by listening to Pujya Shree Kanji Swami's lectures (where available) in the following manner:

  1. one should first read the gatha/verse etc that Pujya Shree Kanji Swami is going to cover in that lecture. This will get one's mind thinking on the topic. Then listening to the lectures will be even more productive.
  2. then listen to the lecture whilst reading the word-to-word transcript of the lectures (if available).
  3. then re-read the gatha/verse etc that Pujya Shree Kanji Swami covered.

Purpose of study - Remember:

  1. reading is to enable thinking,
  2. thinking is to make a decision,
  3. making a decision is to achieve self-experience.

Notes on Study guide

This study guide has been collated from Pujya Shree Lalchandbhai Amarchand Modi's London Home series of lectures numbered 5 & 6. If you find any errors please inform us (e-mail given at bottom of page).

Pujya Shree Lalchandbhai Amarchand Modi's London Hall series of 18 lectures is a fantastic introduction to Jainism. The London Home series of lectures are in a question answer format and give introductory and in-depth knowledge.

If you can not read gujarati or hindi then efforts should be made to learn them (especially gujarati) as much of the source material, especially word-to-word lectures are in these languages. To help one get started one can study the books in English available on AtmaDharma.com

2. Sequence to study books, What books & Why?

The sections below cover:

2.1. For Jain Terminology:

So that one can understand Jain Terminology - Jain Siddhant Praveshika should be studied once, twice or thrice. The purpose is not to memorise the words and definitions but to understand their meanings so that one can begin to understand other Jain Shastras. Jain Siddhant Praveshika contains definitions of many words like: This book should be considered essential for all beginners and and as a Jain Dictionary. All Beginners should either study this with others or by themselves. By studying this one will be able to understand Jain terminology and thus be able to understand the meanings of many other shastras.

Note that a shorter book compiled from this shastra is also available in English called Lagghu Jain Siddhant Praveshika. However the reader should always endevour to read Jain Siddhant Praveshika (Gujarati or Hindi version) as this has been written by a Gnaani (self-experienced soul).

2.2. General Knowledge

To make one capable of studying other Jain shastras one should read Moksh Marg Prakashak. Why? Because it will:

2.3. Detailed knowledge on specific topics:

To obtain a greater understanding of some of the main topics/terminology, read other small books such as:

2.4. In-Depth Knowledge:

As your ability to read and understand the meanings grows the following main Jain texts should be studied: One should also watch/listen to Lalchandbhai's Audio & Video lectures recorded in India (not just the London lectures) - these go into the deepest concepts in an easy to grasp manner and are specifically focused on understanding the soul & how to achieve self-experience.

Lastly do REMEMBER the purpose of study