The activities of learning and studying in Terapantha order are given utmost importance. In the early years, stress was laid on studying the original canonical literature, and many monks and nuns engaged themselves in this activity. Many books in Rajasthani language were written by Acharya Bhikshu and Jayacharya (the fourth Acharya) for the monks and nuns who were the students and that tradition continued for a long time. During the period of Jayacharya, the study of Sanskrit was phased in. Jayacharya himself studied and also made his successor, Maghava, to adopt studies in Sanskrit. Venerable Kalugani (the eighth Acharya) focused his attention on the study of both Prakrit and Sanskrit. Acharya Tulsi ( the ninth Acharya) promoted the same tradition. As a result, a great number of monks and nuns became proficient in Prakrit and Sanskrit. Later on, in addition to the ancient languages, the ascetics started studying such contemporary languages as Hindi, Gujarati and English. Some of them became experts in "Avadhana" vidya i.e. a technique of extra- ordinary memory. They also started studying Indian and Western Philosophies.
In the beginning, the classical form of study for ascetics was in miscellaneous form, study of which remained confined to that between the guru and the disciples. However under the leadership of Acharya Tulsi, systematic graded courses with syllabi of several subjects were initiated. The courses were respectively called Yogya (which is equal to Matric), Yogyatara (equivalentto B.A.), and Yogyatama (equivalent to M.A). Completion of all the there degrees required a minimum of seven years. A Ph.D was awarded to those who wrote an original dissertation. At present, a number of monks and nuns have joined courses in university studies at the Jain Vishva Bharati Institute which is a Deemed University at Ladnun (Rajasthan). However the older courses are also in vogue.
Achievements in the Field Literature
The Terapantha order has made important contribution to the field of not only religious literature but also to that of other kinds of books. Acharya Bhikshu himself composed literature about 38,000 verses in Rajasthani language and Jayacharya created a new record by composing three hundred thousand verses. Under the patronage of Acharya Shri Tulsi, the work of producing critical editions of the Jain Agamas was started and many monks and nuns actively engaged in this work.
A historical synod under Acharya Shri Tulsi as tha Synod-chief took place for critically editing, translating and writing annotations on the Prakrit canonical texts. Acharya Mahaprajnaji (formerly named Muni Nathamal) is the chief Editor of the Series. The critical edition of all the 32 canonical texts have been published. The texts with Sanskrit equivalents and Hindi translation with critical annotations by Acharya Mahaprajna in a highly scholarly style have also been published. The number of such texts is about 15. The critical studies of the Uttaradhayana Sutra and Dasavaikalika Sutra speak highly of the author's erudition and have been greatly appreciated by the renowned oriental scholars.
In addition, many works have been written on the themes of Anuvrat, Preksha Dhyana, Jeevan Vigyan and other such current topics. About five hundred books written by Terapantha ascetics have been published on different subjects in different languages during the past three or four decades.
The Acharyas of Terapantha have been prolific writers (e.g., the abundant literature on the Anuvrat Movement by Acharya Tulsi, literature on Preksha Meditation by Acharya Mahaprajna). The nuns are also not lagging behind in this matter. For example, the narration of the "Foot Journeys of Acharya Shri Tulsi" by Sadhvi Pramukha Kanaka- prabhaji runs in several volumes.
These literary accomplishments remind us of the golden age of Jain Acharaya Hemachandra.
Development in the Field of Art
The Terapantha is well-known for its valuable contribution to the field of art and craft. Even foreigners are surprised by seeing the beautiful articles made by the ascetics. The Sangha has excelled in the spheres of drawing, painting, calligraphy, needlework, handicraft and the creation of miniature manuscripts which are considered unique. F or example, in a single piece of paper of the size 9”x4”, nearly 80000 alphabetical characters have been written with a pen made from a countryside shrub (called baru) and with naked eyes (i.e., with- out using any magnifying lens). When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (the then prime Minister of India) saw it, he remarked, "Howsoever western nations may go on developing mechanical efficiency, it seems difficult for them to surpass such microscopic manual writings."
Thousands and thousands of pages have been written in such miniature styles. In the same way, the magnificent utensils made from waste coconut-shell and wood make the spectators wonder struck.