Dik Vrata

Definition - What does Dik Vrata mean?

Dik vrata is one of the guna vratas, or "merit vows," that are part of Jainism's 12 vows of a layperson. Dik vrata is a vow to limit how far one travels from home, and by so doing, limit the area in which harm may be done. The term comes from the Sanskrit dik, meaning “direction”; vr, meaning “conduct”; and rta, meaning “oath.”

The guna vratas are also known as the three vows of self-discipline, and all involve an oath to avoid or limit certain behaviors.

Yogapedia explains Dik Vrata

When a Jain takes a vow of dik vrata, he/she agrees to limit their travel in all directions, which include up and down, as well as all compass points. Jain philosophy is based on doing no harm; therefore, by limiting the scope of worldly activities, this vow serves to curtail internal passions such as greed, further limiting the amount of harm that can be done.

The three guna vratas vary by the tradition or teacher from which they are learned, but, in addition to dik vrata, the two more common ones are:

  • Bhoga-upbhoga – this vrata, called the vow of simplicity, requires that food, clothing, etc., be limited to only what is necessary.
  • Anarthadanda – this vrata is known as the vow of piety and limits such unnecessary sins as spreading rumors and self-indulgence.
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