MYTH*ING LINKS
An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links
to Mythologies, Fairy Tales & Folklore,
Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Retired core faculty member of
Pacifica Graduate Institute's Mythological Studies Department

GEOGRAPHICAL REGIONS

INDIA


Sacred Traditions:
JAINISM


Mahavira employed anekanta extensively to explain Jain philosophical concepts
(Painting from Rajasthan, c.1900 )
Source: Wikipedia

Saturday afternoon,
27 November 2010:
Author's Note

During my graduate studies in the 1980-90's at UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara), Jainism must have been mentioned at various academic conferences and/or during our lively Wednesday afternoon colloquia, but I have no memory of this. No seminars were ever offered on Jainism during those years, although we had many rich opportunities for seminars in Hinduism and Buddhism taught by faculty members who were renowned experts in their fields. Since my interests are cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, I always signed up for those seminars and remain enriched by them to this day.  But Jainism remained a bank.

If you had asked me even a month ago what I knew of Jainism, I would have said something  like, "Well, India spawns many religions, both ancient and modern.  As far as I know, this is one of the more recent ones -- and therefore not something in which I have much interest." As it turns out, however, Jainism and Buddhism began in India at about the same time -- and some evidence suggests that Jainism may even have preceded Buddhism.

I learned this because this autumn, for the first time,  I have been teaching "Introduction to Religious Thought" at Lake Michigan College in SW Michigan.  Only when I read the chapter in our assigned textbook, Religions of the World (Lewis M Hopfe and Mark R. Woodward, 11th edition, 2009, Vangi Books), on Jainism and its concept of ahimsa (non-violence to human, animal, or insect), did I realize how truly ancient Jainism is.  As a longtime vegetarian, I certainly knew about ahimsa -- I just never connected it to Jainism.  And I had no idea that the original Jains and Buddhists were contemporaries.

Today, however, in following a colleague's link to the Indian Journal of Ecocriticism, I came across a paper entitled "An Ecology of Many-Sidedness: The Jain Doctrine of Anekantavada" by Aidan Rankin[the contents of this journal are currently unavailable online but the paper's title gave me the search-terms necessary to explore Anekantavada further ].

Anekantavada was totally unfamiliar to me -- the Sanskrit term, that is, not the concept, for one of my UCSB mentors, a Native American professor, often quoted her mentor, an elderly Apache medicine man, who told her, "The truth is, there are many truths".

In googling, however, I immediately understood how important Anekantavada is, especially in today's world, fractured by so many radical splits among major religions.  It is because of that that I have created this page -- and, further, am dedicating it to the 12 pioneer-students in my first Lake Michigan College course: Alfredo, Damon, Debbie, Dustin, Esequias, Evan, Harry, Mary Ann, Paul, Rebekkah, Sarah, and Tasha.  Their intelligence, tolerance, interest, and willingness to explore what, for them, are often very alien concepts, have been an inspiration and delight.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

"Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, utterly nude and embracing the intrinsic uncertainty of the human condition, confronts a venomous serpent." From a quirky, non-Jain, but intriguing site: Christopher Schwartz's Weblog
http://www.plantcultures.org/themes/sacred_and_spiritual_jainism.html
This is from a site called "Plant Cultures: Exploring Plants and People." Their Jain page offers a useful, basic introduction to Jainism.  Here are some excerpts:
Jainism arose at the same time as Buddhism in the 6th century BC but never spread beyond India, where it is still a living religion. Jains are the followers of 'Jinas' or the conquerors of all desires and attachments who have freed their souls. Jains believe there were 24 such great Jinas, the last Jina being the founder of Jainism, Vardhamana, given the title of 'Mahavira' or Great Warrior.

Jinas are also known as Tithankaras or ford-builders across the ocean of suffering. Mahavira was born at Vaishali (modern Bihar) to an aristocratic warrior family. After the death of his parents, at the age of 30 he was drawn to a spiritual life, renounced the world and withdrew to practise meditation and austerities, even discarding his clothing. After 12 years he achieved kevalajnana or omniscience, while meditating under a tree. He then became a spiritual teacher for 30 years, dying in his 70s at Pava in Bihar in either 527 BC or 468 BC.

...Soon after his death, the order he founded split into two sects, the Digambaras or Skyclad [i.e., nude], and Shwetambaras or Whiteclad. Central to the schism were issues such as the necessity for nudity, theological concepts and understanding of the Jain canon (constituted by the Twelve Limbs or Angas). The Digambaras are concentrated in the Mysore region of the south and the Shwetambaras are mostly in Gujarat in the west....

...To Jains every living thing has a soul. Vegetarianism is essential, viewed as a tool to practice non-violence and harmonious cooperation. In its profound sense the Jain philosophy studies the dualism between matter and spirit and the relationship of the soul to the universe. In the Jain view, reality consists of the living and non-living substances: souls are living or jiva, the non-living or ajiva are matter, motion, rest, space, and time. Contact between the two results in karmic entrapment. The soul in its essence is pure but is corrupted by karma or action.

In brief, Jainism teaches purging of the jiva from karma, attainment of the pristine soul, freed from the bondage of rebirth through proper spiritual practice. An important constituent of Jain philosophy is anekantavada or Doctrine of Multiple Concepts: since reality is multifaceted, different standpoints can hold true.

http://www.pluralism.org/resources/tradition/essays/jain2.php
From The Pluralism Project at Harvard University comes "Anekantavada: The Relativity of Views."  It's another brief, basic article, but still a useful introduction to Anekantavada. Excerpts:
Philosophical and religious arguments about the nature and origin of reality are as old as human history. In India, sages and philosophers held many metaphysical views and were in constant dialogue and argument with one another. The Jains were active participants in the debates, and among their central tenets was the position referred to as Anekantavada. Translated literally, it means "no-one-perspective-ism," in other words, the multiplicity and relativity of views. By this, Jains meant that in many cases the arguments espoused by the various participants in a debate all held some validity. Because the Jain position was able to overcome the apparent inconsistencies between the other views, however, it came closer to fully grasping the one underlying truth, satya.

Jains thus regarded both Buddhist "nihilism" [for what it's worth, I object to an English translation that uses "nihilism" as an attribute of Buddhism, which is not at all nihilistic; there is a vast difference between sunyata, "emptiness" or "nothingness," and the West's assumed toxicity of "nihilism"] and Hindu "eternalism" as correct and yet incomplete. Instead, they advocated holding simultaneously to the eternal, innate purity of the soul and to the reality of the soul's connection to karma and, hence, suffering. Likewise, contemporary Jains reject the absolutist "either/or" that characterizes much of traditional Western logic, taking instead the relativist stance that for every question there are many "right" answers that reflect from different angles and in varying degrees the one truth, satya.


"Blind monks examining an elephant"
1888 ukiyo-e print by Hanabusa Itcho
Source: Wikipedia

A well-known story from Jain mythology helps to illustrate Anekantavada. Five blind men have never seen an elephant. When one day an elephant is brought to the village, the five approach, touch and attempt to describe it.... [I am deleting the rest since the story is so well known.]  ...Luckily, a wise sixth man is nearby to mitigate the dispute. He proclaims that, in fact, all are right, but only partially right. An accurate description of the elephant lies in combining the various partial views. Consequently, a complete understanding of any truth requires the consideration and acceptance of a variety of viewpoints.

While Jains have strong convictions, especially about such moral basics as ahimsa and vegetarianism, there is a resistance to philosophical dogmatism. Many Jains in the West see the Anekantavada approach as nurturing religious tolerance because religious views are approached as differing perspectives and therefore, perhaps, expressions of the same truth. An American Jain today puts it this way, "If a Jain sits down with a Muslim, for example, it is actually his duty to listen to the Muslim's beliefs and to learn from him."

By recognizing the relativity of views, Jainism has become a highly individualized religion. There is no central creed or set of dogmatic beliefs. There are as many paths to enlightenment as there are rivers to the ocean. Unlike creed-centered religions, Jainism focuses more on the questions of life than the answers. The tradition does not emphasize specific beliefs, but rather provides a framework of ethics within which the soul must find its own way to liberation.


Mahavira Mahabirji

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Anekantavada
This is a carefully researched, footnoted, and referenced paper on anekantavada -- the first one I read after googling today and, in many ways, my favorite. Many other sites borrow from it (without crediting it, despite dishonestly using all its references).  Sometimes other sites offer additional data that's useful, sometimes not, but this one does seem to be the "go to" source.  Here are some excerpts that especially caught my attention when I first read it and realized how important this Anekantavada Jain concept really is.  This is the opening portion:
Anekantavada..., meaning "non-absolutism," is one of the basic principles of Jainism that encourages acceptance of relativism and pluralism. According to this doctrine, truth and reality are perceived differently from different points of view, and no single point of view is the complete truth.

The word anekantavada is a compound of two Sanskrit words: Anekanta "manifoldness" and vada "school of thought." The term anekanta consists of the Sanskrit negative prefix an, the number one eka and the word for "attribute," anta—"not of solitary attribute."

Jain doctrine states that objects have infinite modes of existence and qualities so they cannot be completely grasped in all aspects and manifestations by finite human perception. Only the Kevalins—the omniscient beings—can comprehend objects in all aspects and manifestations; others are capable of only partial knowledge. Consequently, no specific human view can claim to represent the absolute truth.

Anekantavada is literally the doctrine of "non-onesidedness" or "manifoldness;" it is often translated as "non-absolutism." As opposed to it, ekanta (eka+anta "solitary attribute") is one-sidedness. Jains compare all attempts to proclaim absolute truth with adhgajanyayah or the "maxim of the blind men and elephant." [FYI: in the middle of that word, adhgajanyayah, is gaja, "elephant," one of my favorite Sanskrit words {long story -- don't ask}, which anchors the term, since exploring what an elephant really is serves as the purpose of this ancient tale.  The Jains, by the way, consider this their own tale, but so do the Buddhists.  Since both spiritual traditions arose at the same time, perhaps they borrowed it from an unknown, older source that was simply "in the air" at the time.] In this story, one man felt the trunk, another the ears and another the tail. All the blind men claimed to explain the true appearance of the elephant, but could only partly succeed, due to their narrow perspectives.

Anekantavada encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties. Proponents of anekantavada apply this principle to religion and philosophy, reminding themselves that any religion or philosophy, even Jainism, which clings too dogmatically to its own tenets, is committing an error based on its limited point of view.  In this application, anekantavada resembles the Western principles of cultural and moral relativism. The principle of anekantavada also influenced Mahatma Gandhi's principles of religious tolerance, ahimsa and satyagraha....

...As reality is complex, no single proposition can express the nature of reality fully....

...An object has infinite aspects to it; but in practice when one describes an object, one speaks of only relevant aspects, ignoring the other irrelevant aspects. This does not deny the other attributes, qualities, modes and other aspects; they are currently not relevant from a particular perspective. For instance, when one talks of a "Blue BMW" one is simply considering the color and make of a car; but the statement does not imply that the car is devoid of other attributes like engine type, cylinders, speed, price and like. This particular view point is called "naya" or a partial view-point....

Mahavira's responses to various questions recorded in Bhagvatisutra demonstrate a recognition that there are complex and multiple aspects to truth and reality and a mutually exclusive approach cannot be taken to explain such reality:

Gautama: Lord! Is the soul permanent or impermanent?

Mahavira: The soul is permanent as well is impermanent. From the point of view of the substance it is eternal. From the point of view of its modes it undergoes birth, decay and destruction and hence impermanent.

Jayanti: Lord! Of the states of slumber or awakening, which one is better?

Mahavira: For some souls the state of slumber is better, for some souls the states of awakening. Slumber is better for those who are engaged in sinful activities and awakening for those who are engaged in meritorious deeds.

Thousands of questions were asked and Mahavira’s responses suggested a complex and multifaceted reality with each answers qualified from a view point. Even a Tirthankara, possessing and perceiving infinite knowledge cannot express reality completely because of limitations of language, which is of human creation....

Acrya Vidyanandi provides analogy of ocean to explain the nature of truth in Tattvarthaslokavartikka: "The water from Ocean contained in a pot can neither be called an ocean nor a non-ocean, but simply a part of Ocean. Similarly, a doctrine, though arising from absolute truth can neither be called a whole truth nor a non-truth...."

...Anekantvada is non-absolutist and stands firmly against all dogmatisms, even including any assertion that only Jainism is the right religious path. It is thus an intellectual Ahimsa or Ahimsa of mind.... [T]here is no "battle of ideas," because this is considered to be a form of intellectual himsa or damage, leading quite logically to physical violence and war. In today's world, the limitations of the adversarial, "either with us or against us" form of argument are increasingly apparent leading to political, religious and social conflicts....

This ecumenic and irenic attitude, engendered by Anekanta, allowed modern Jain monks like Vijayadharma suri to declare: "…He is neither Jain nor Buddhist, Vaisnava nor Saiva, Hindu nor Muslim, but a traveler on the path of peace shown by the supreme soul, the God who is free from passion."

There is a brief but informative passage on Jain influences upon Mahatma Gandhi, followed by an interesting section which critiques Jain concepts, pro and con.


Jain Temple: Palitana in Gujarat, India

http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Anekantavada
This site is a re-shuffling of content and organization from the above site, with a few important details and exceptions.  For example:
...The historic origins of anekantavada can be traced back to the teachings of Mahavira (599–527 BCE), the 24th Jain Tirthankara.....
--and more significantly:
...The age of Mahavira and Buddha was an age of intense intellectual debates, especially on the nature of reality and self. The Vedanta school represented by advaitins postulated the absolute unchanging reality of Brahman and atman and claimed that change was mere illusion.[18] The theory advanced by Buddhists denied the reality of permanence and absolute truths, affirming change as the only reality.[19] According to the Vedanta conceptual scheme, the Buddhists were wrong in denying permanence and absolutism, and within the Buddhist conceptual scheme, the advaitas were wrong in denying the reality of change. The two positions were contradictory and mutually exclusive from each others' point of view.[20] The Jains managed a synthesis of the two uncompromising positions with anekantavada.[6][20][21] From the perspective of a higher, inclusive level made possible by the ontology and epistemology of anekantavada and syadvada, Jains do not see such claims as contradictory or mutually exclusive; instead, they are seen as ekantika or only partially true.[20] The Jain breadth of vision embraces the perspectives of both Vedanta, which, according to Jainism, "recognizes substances but not process", and Buddhism, which "recognizes process but not substance".  Jainism, on the other hand, pays equal attention to both substance (dravya) and process (paryaya).
Further insights:
...According to Jainism, even a Tirthankara, who possesses and perceives infinite knowledge, cannot express reality completely because of the limitations of language, which is of human creation....

...Referring to the 9/11 tragedy, John Koller believes that violence in society mainly exists due to faulty epistemology and metaphysics as well as faulty ethics. Failure to respect the life and views of others, rooted in dogmatic and mistaken knowledge and refusal to acknowledge the legitimate claims of different perspectives, leads to violent and destructive behavior. Koller suggests that anekantavada has a larger role to play in the world peace.[49] According to Koller, because anekantavada is designed to avoid one-sided errors, reconcile contradictory viewpoints, and accept the multiplicity and relativity of truth, the Jain philosophy is in a unique position to support dialogue and negotiations amongst various nations and peoples.[49]

Some Indologists like Professor John Cort have cautioned against giving undue importance to "intellectual ahimsa" as the basis of anekantavada. He points out that Jains monks have also used anekantavada and syadvada as debating weapons to silence their critics and prove the validity of the Jain doctrine over others.[40] According to Dundas, in Jain hands, this method of analysis became a fearsome weapon of philosophical polemic with which the doctrines of Hinduism and Buddhism could be pared down to their ideological bases of simple permanence and impermanence, respectively, and thus could be shown to be one-pointed and inadequate as the overall interpretations of reality which they purported to be.[50] On the other hand, the many-pointed approach was claimed by the Jains to be immune from criticism since it did not present itself as a philosophical or dogmatic view.[50]....


Jain Dilwara Temple
http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/asceticism/ch9.asp
This is a huge "Jain World" site, offering great links to history, literature, and much, much more. Here are a few passages on Anekantavada:
79. The Universe is the composite of groups consisting of adverse pairs like knowledge and ignorance, pleasure and sorrow, life and death and so on. Life depends on such adverse groups. All the groups have their own interests, which create clashes and conflicts in thinking among themselves. Religion is supposed to pacify these clashes through co- existence on socialistic pattern of society. The co-existence cannot be remained without relativity.

80. Jain philosophy is based on the nature of reality, which is considered through Non-absolutism or Many-fold Aspects (Anekantavada). According to this view, reality possesses infinite characteristics, which cannot be perceived or known at once by any ordinary man. Different people think about different aspects of the same reality and therefore their partial findings are contradictory to one another. Hence they indulge in debates claiming that each of them was completely true. The Jain philosophers thought over this conflict and tried to reveal the whole truth. They established the theory of Non-absolutistic standpoint (Anekantavada) with its two wings, Nayavada and Syadvada. Proper understanding of the co- existence of mutually opposing groups through these principles rescues one from conflicts. Mutual co-operation is the Law of Nature.33 ....

81. ...None is absolutely similar or dissimilar, friend or enemy, good or bad. As a matter of fact, every entity hides in itself the innumerable possibilities. Coal can be converted into the state of the diamond or coal is the first stage of diamond. This is the conception of Anekantavada....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekantavada
This is Wikipedia's page on anekantavada. Normally, I avoid Wikipedia because I'm suspicious of joint-efforts by unnamed people, who may or may not be genuinely informed about their topic.  This one looks sound, however, and provides some interesting aspects, which I leave for you to explore.  It seems to have been written by the author of the New World Encyclopedia article above, since the organization and content are so similar and it's part of a longer series of papers on the Jains. Here are some passages of note:
This philosophical syncretisation of paradox of change through anekanta has been acknowledged by modern scholars such as Arvind Sharma, who wrote:[20]
Our experience of the world presents a profound paradox which we can ignore existentially, but not philosophically. This paradox is the paradox of change. Something – A changes and therefore it cannot be permanent. On the other hand, if A is not permanent, then what changes? In this debate between the 'permanence' and 'change', Hinduism seems more inclined to grasp the first horn of the dilemma and Buddhism the second. It is Jainism that has the philosophical courage to grasp both horns fearlessly and simultaneously, and the philosophical skill not to be gored by either.
However, anekantavada is simply not about syncretisation or compromise between competing ideas, as it is about finding the hidden elements of shared truth between such ideas.[25] Anekantavada is not about denying the truth; rather truth is acknowledged as an ultimate spiritual goal. For ordinary humans, it is an elusive goal, but they are still obliged to work towards its attainment.[26] Anekantavada also does not mean compromising or diluting ones own values and principles.[27] On the contrary, it allows us to understand and be tolerant of conflicting and opposing views, while respectfully maintaining the validity of ones own view-point. Hence, John Koller calls anekantavada as – “epistemological respect for view of others”.[28] Anekantavada, thus, did not prevent the Jain thinkers from defending the truth and validity of their own doctrine while simultaneously respecting and understanding the rival doctrines. Anne Vallely notes that the epistemological respect for other view-points was put to practice when she was invited by Acarya Tulsi, the head of Jain Terapanthi order, to teach their Jain nuns, the tenets of Christianity. Commenting on their adherence to ahimsa and anekantavada, she says:[29]
The Jain samanis of Ladnun uncompromisingly maintain ahimsa to be an eternal and unchangeable moral law. Other views and beliefs that contradict this belief would certainly be challenged, and ultimately rejected. But what is significant, is that both the rejection and retention of views is tempered by the belief that our perception conveys only a partial reality, that reality itself is manifold, and that to assume one particular viewpoint is final, is to hold a limited picture of reality.
Anekantavada is also different from moral relativism. It does not mean conceding that all arguments and all views are equal, but rather logic and evidence determine which views are true, in what respect and to what extent.[28] While employing Anekantavada, the 17th century philosopher monk, Yasovijaya Gani also cautions against anabhigrahika (indiscriminate attachment to all views as being true), which is effectively a kind of misconceived relativism.[30] Jains thus consider Anekantavada as a positive concept corresponding to religious pluralism that transcends monism and dualism, implying a sophisticated conception of a complex reality.[31] It does not merely involve rejection of partisanship, but reflects a positive spirit of reconciliation of opposite views. However, it is argued that pluralism often degenerates to some form of moral relativism or religious exclusivism.[32] According to Anne Vallely, anekanta is a way out of this epistemological quagmire, as it makes a genuinely pluralistic view possible without lapsing into extreme moral relativism or exclusivity.[32] ....

Acarya Vidyanandi (11th century CE) provides the analogy of the ocean to explain the nature of truth in Tattvarthaslokavartikka, 116:[43] "Water from the ocean contained in a pot can neither be called an ocean nor a non-ocean, but simply a part of ocean. Similarly, a doctrine, though arising from absolute truth can neither be called a whole truth nor a non-truth."....


Another Jain Palitana Temple

http://www.iep.utm.edu/jain/
This article by Mark Owen Webb at Texas Tech University is for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Refreshingly, it is his own "take" on Jain concepts, not a re-shuffling of other websites. Here are a few passages:
...Like those of the Buddha, Mahavira’s doctrines were formulated as a reaction to and rejection of the Brahmanism (religion based on the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas and Upanisads) then taking shape. The brahmans taught the division of society into rigidly delineated castes, and a doctrine of reincarnation guided by karma, or merit brought about by the moral qualities of actions. Their schools of thought, since they respected the authority of the Vedas and Upanisads, were known as orthodox darsanas (‘darsanas‘ means literally, ‘views’). Jainism and Buddhism, along with a school of materialists called Carvaka, were regarded as the unorthodox darsanas, because they taught that the Vedas and Upanisads, and hence the brahman caste, had no authority....

...A finite region of space, usually described as taking the shape of a standing man with arms akimbo, is the only region of space that can contain anything. This is so because it is the only region of space that is pervaded with dharma, the principle of motion (adharma is not simply the absence of dharma, but rather a principle that causes objects to stop moving). The physical world resides in the narrow part of the middle of inhabitable space. The rest of the inhabitable universe may contain gods or other spirits....

Every living thing has a soul, so every living thing can be harmed or helped. For purposes of assessing the worth of actions..., living things are classified in a hierarchy according to the kinds of senses they have; the more senses a being has, the more ways it can be harmed or helped. Plants, various one-celled animals, and ‘elemental’ beings (beings made of one of the four elements—earth, air, fire, or water) have only one sense, the sense of touch. Worms and many insects have the senses of touch and taste. Other insects, like ants and lice, have those two senses plus the sense of smell. Flies and bees, along with other higher insects, also have sight. Human beings, along with birds, fish, and most terrestrial animals, have all five senses. This complete set of senses (plus, according to some Jain thinkers, a separate faculty of consciousness) makes all kinds of knowledge available to human beings, including knowledge of the human condition and the need for liberation from rebirth....

...The cardinal rule of interaction with other jivas [i.e., souls] is the rule of ahimsa. This is because harming other jivas is caused by either passions like anger, or ignorance of their nature as living beings. Consequently, Jains are required to be vegetarians. According to the earliest Jain documents, plants both are and contain living beings, although one-sensed beings, so even a vegetarian life does harm. This is why the ideal way to end one’s life, for a Jain, is to sit motionless and starve to death. Mahavira himself, and other great Jain saints, are said to have died this way. That is the only way to be sure you are doing no harm to any living being.

While it may seem that this code of behavior is not really moral, since it is aimed at a specific reward for the agent—and is therefore entirely self-interested—it should be noted that the same can be said of any religion-based moral code. Furthermore, like the Hindus and Buddhists, Jains believe that the only reason that personal advantage accrues to moral behavior is that the very structure of the universe, in the form of the law of karma, makes it so.


Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, held within the forcefield of the Ever-changing Changeless

http://www.jstor.org/pss/1400182
This is the first page of a paper by John M. Koller, mentioned a number of times in my links above and often cited in works on the Jains.  His paper was originally published in Philosophy East and West, Vol, 50, #3 (July 2000), pp. 400-407.  Unfortunately, it's now only available online through Jstor, an academic site that uses papers written by academic specialists who never receive a single penny for their work (most scholarly journals can't afford to pay anyone).  Scholars write these papers either for the sheer pleasure of sharing their expertise, or to help their case when they're up for tenure.  Then greedy Jstor collects them and has the audacity to charge huge -- HUGE -- sums that only wealthy patrons or generously endowed institutions can afford!

For the rest of us, unless we live near a major university library with the funding to subscribe to Jstor, there's no access.  Even this link to a first page is "rigged" so that I can't copy and paste anything from it.  Do I loathe what Jstor stands for? Yes.  Do many other academics feel the same way?  Yes?  From my perspective, this is Jstor's form of intellectual ahimsa, or harm, committed against the rest of us.

Anyway, in a nutshell, the first page looks at the mutually exclusive claims of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Hinduism clains that only the unchanging Brahman is absolutely real.  Buddhism, on the other hand, claims that only change is real.  Koller:

...The problem is how to describe consistently something that is permanent being and, at the same time, the nonbeing of change, the very negation of permanent being....
Koller's paper then explores how the Jains, recognizing that the nature of reality is much more rich and complex, developed the concept of Anekantavada, or Many-Sidedness.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma_in_Jainism
Finally, this is Wikipedia's "Karma in Jainism."  Here is the Jain view in a nutshell:
...In Jain philosophy, karma not only encompasses the causality of transmigration, but is also conceived of as an extremely subtle matter, which infiltrates the soul—obscuring its natural, transparent and pure qualities. Karma is thought of as a kind of pollution, that taints the soul with various colours (lesya). Based on its karma, a soul undergoes transmigration and reincarnates in various states of existence—like heavens or hells, or as humans or animals....
I am including this link for those interested [note: Wikipedia's link to Lesya should also be read to get the full effect of this issue].  For myself, having guided many hundreds of people through pastlife experiences for nearly 40 years, I have to say that this kind of tech-manual discussion leaves me cold.  It's like dissecting the nutrients in my bread or wine.  Maybe the dissection is accurate, maybe it's just one more convenient hook upon which to hang someone else's "reality." Regardless, I don't care. It is what it is.  This measuring and weighing seems artificial and beside the point. If you believe your soul is tainted or polluted with "colors," your soul will probably oblige you and tint itself accordingly.  If you don't, just enjoy life's stunning colors and don't worry.
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