The Jain concept of Nirjara refers to destroying karmas.

Nirjara Bhavana

Thinking of destroying karmas.
By performing austerities, we can destroy our Karmas. There are such twelve kinds of austerities. Therefore, we should think of when can we perform such austerities to destroy our karmas so that we can be liberated.

Nirjara Bhavna

Shedding of karma
Under this reflection, one thinks about the evil consequences of karma, and striving to destroy the previously acquired karma by austerity and meditation.

Meditation

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This concept is part of the 12 Bhavnas (Reflections or Thoughts). Some people believe that there are 16 Bhavnas. The following explains what the Bhavnas are. (Taken from http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/jainedu/12bhavna.htm)

Jain religion puts a significant emphasis on the thought process of a human being. A person’s behavior and his actions are the reflection of his internal thoughts, day in and day out. It is not the action but intention behind the action results in the accumulation of Karma. Hence, one should be very careful about his thoughts, how he thinks, and the subject matter of his thought.

To make room for pure thoughts, and to drive out the evil ones, Jainism recommends to reflect or meditate the following twelve thoughts or Bhavnas.

The twelve Bhavnas described here are the subject matters of one’s meditation, and how to occupy one’s mind with useful, religious, beneficial, peaceful, harmless, spiritually advancing, karma preventing thoughts. They cover a wide field of teachings of Jainism. They are designed to serve as aids to spiritual progress, produce detachment, and lead the aspirants from the realm of desire to the path of renunciation. They are reflections upon the fundamental facts of life, intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion.

The reflections are also called Anuprekshas, longings, thoughts, aspirations, or Bhavnas.

Pravin K. Shah
Jain Study Center of North Carolina

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