1. Ahimsa: An ascetic must most anxiously try not to kill or to injure any living being even unintentionally.
2. Astaya: He has to examine all his words most accurately so that he does not say anything false even unintentionally or in joke.
3. Asteya: He should not only take anything that is not given to him but he must ask for permission to take it when something is offered to him.
4. Brahmacharya: He should not only observe complete celibacy, but he should also avoid all thoughts and con-sexual things and avoid everything that could lead him into temptation.
5. Aparigraha: He should give up all possessions and be indifferent to everything that is worldly, both persons and things.
Each one of these vows is supported by each of the five others. Constantly remembering them and heeding them enables an ascetic to observe the "Mahavratas".
Asceticism, no doubt, demands renunciation of all possession, but Swetambara Sect, allows ascetics to wear particular clothes consisting of a white upper and lower garment. The monk is usually provided with a few wooden dishes and pots which he uses to collect food and drink, a piece of cloth with which he filters water before drinking it another piece of cloth which he often (Sthanakavasis do it constantly) wears in front of the mouth to obstruct gulping of air-creatures, a broom or a brush with which he sweeps the insects on his way so that he does not harm them and a (walking) staff.
An ascetic must renounce all comforts. He begs for his food from Jain laymen; he should not take alms from those who are not Jains. Begging should be done only once a day and has to follow certain rules.
According to the strict doctrine of Lord Mahavira, ascetics should live in a village only for one day and only five days in a city; later this rule was extended in such a way that they could stay at the most for a week in a village and a month in a city. But during rainy season they must give up their wandering life and stay at one place so that they do not do any harm to living beings.
The life of ascetics and nuns is regulated to the minutest detail by a great number of precepts which, are meant to protect them from immodesty and worldly disposition and to keep them to a life of abstinence which is dedicated to the exercise of penance and studies.