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Spiritual Accounting: The Role of the Kalyāṇaka Patra in the Religious Economy of the Terāpanth Śvetāmbara Jain Ascetics

Flügel, Peter (2003) 'Spiritual Accounting: The Role of the Kalyāṇaka Patra in the Religious Economy of the Terāpanth Śvetāmbara Jain Ascetics.' In: Qvarnström, O., (ed.), Jainism and Early Buddhism in the Indian Cultural Context: Festschrift in Honour of P.S. Jaini. Fremont, Cal.: Asian Humanities Press, pp. 167-204.

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Abstract

Max Weber stated a universal tendency for originally strictly anti-economic monastic asceticism, practised as a means for individual salvation, to become organised and transformed into an asceticism which motivates mendicants at the same time to work in the service of the hierocratic authority. The ways in which this tendency manifests itself varies. The monastic economy of the Terāpanth Śvetāmbara Jain order, once a radical ascetic Jain reform movement, is nowadays mediated by a form of money of accounts based on personalised merit-books, or kalyāṇaka patras, and bonus-points, or kalyāṇakas, which allow the calculation of the value of the individual contribution of each mendicant to the common good, and an indirect trade-off between the allocation of rewards for good deeds and of penances for bad deeds through the additing or deducing of points by the head of the order. By tracing its history and analysing the current function of the kalyāṇaka patra, the article shows that, for Jain monastic jurisprudence, group service poses doctrinal problems similar to dāna, or gift-giving, for the laity, since it involves not only self-restraint but also material benefits, despite the fact that the Terāpanth explcitly rejects the doctrine of merit-making expounded by the majority of the Jain traditions. Through its innovative method of spiritual accounting the 'ideal economy' of the Terāpanth seeks to centrally coordinate individual and corporative purification, though the putative karmic value and the offical value of an act remain incomensurable, not unlike the substantial value of labour and its market price in modern economics.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Jainism, monasticism, asceticism, monastic jurisprudence, service, atonement, Śvetāmbara Terāpanth, Ācārya Bhikṣu, Ācārya Jayācārya, Ācārya Tulsī, kalyāṇaka patra, dāna, tapas, vaiyāvṛttya, puṇya, pāpa, prāyaścitta, gāthā system, pariṣṭhāpana system, theory of value, Padmanabh S. Jaini, John E. Cort, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Karl Polanyi, Émile Durkheim, Mary Douglas,
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of the Study of Religions > Centre of Jaina Studies
ISBN: 0895819562
Copyright Statement: With permission of the publisher.
Depositing User: Peter Flugel
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2009 08:52
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7454

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