Samadhi in Jainism: Conscious Departure

syndu | Oct. 28, 2023, 6:54 a.m.

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Samadhi in Jainism: Conscious Departure

In the vast and diverse world of spiritual practices, the concept of Samadhi holds a unique and profound place. While it is commonly understood as a deep, meditative state of intense concentration and self-realization in many traditions, Jainism offers a slightly different perspective. In Jainism, Samadhi is not just a meditative state, but also refers to the act of consciously leaving one's body at the time of death.

The Jain tradition, one of the oldest religions in the world, has always emphasized the importance of consciousness and awareness in every aspect of life, including death. The concept of Samadhi in Jainism is deeply intertwined with the philosophy of non-attachment and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

In Jainism, the act of consciously leaving one's body at the time of death is known as 'Sallekhana' or 'Santhara'. It is considered the ultimate form of Samadhi, where the individual, usually a monk or a nun, voluntarily gives up food and water, leading to gradual physical weakening and eventually, death. This practice is undertaken only after deep contemplation and under the guidance of a spiritual mentor.

The purpose of Sallekhana is not to hasten death, but to embrace it with full awareness and equanimity. It is a process of purifying the soul, shedding karmic bonds, and attaining liberation. The individual in Sallekhana remains in a state of meditation, focusing on spiritual truths and reciting mantras, as they consciously depart from their physical form.

This unique interpretation of Samadhi in Jainism underscores the tradition's emphasis on consciousness, non-attachment, and liberation. It invites us to view death not as an end, but as a significant spiritual event, a conscious departure that can lead to ultimate liberation.

In our journey across traditions exploring Samadhi, the Jain perspective offers a profound understanding of life, death, and beyond. It encourages us to embrace every moment with awareness and equanimity, whether in meditation or in the face of death.

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