What is anekantvada in Jainism



Anekantavada is the approach of the Jaina philosophy to approach a higher reality and truth with more than three dimensions. The rule here is that opposites must be viewed as complementary in the sense of well-understood Einsteinian relativity, i.e. truths no longer necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.

The complexity of reality and truth can never be grasped from just one point of view, which is why the fundamental principle of the anekantavada is tolerance of the perspectives, beliefs or beliefs of others, unless these are obviously based on assumptions which, on closer examination, prove untenable prove.

According to the anecantaphilosophy, it is useful to find the truth to consider those opposite to your own conclusions. The perception of complementary aspects leads to increased attentiveness in dealing with one another and expands one's own horizons to a holistic understanding.

As an illustrative example for everyone, showing that one cannot infer the whole from one part (non-absolutism):

  • The blind men and the elephant [Blind men and an elephant]

Translation according to Helmuth v. Glasenapp: Jainism. An Indian religion of salvation, Berlin: Alf H├Ąger Verlag, 1925 (reprint: Hildesheim: Olms Verlag, 1984): p. 145.

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