Ahimsa: Triple A’s of Jainism
Jainism as not a religion but a way of life with three core principle: Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Anekantvad (Non-Absolution) and Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness). Jainism states that all souls can reach Moksh, a state of complete bliss, through its own efforts. It shows how we can solve the problems of our world. It shows a vision for an environmentally sound, cruelty – free and a peaceful world.
“There is no end to mad race of weapons. There are number of weapons superior to each other, but nothing is superior than Ahimsa (Non-Violence)”– Tirthankar Mahavir
One of the primary principles of Jainism is Ahimsa, which is non-violence. It means giving respect or reverence to all form of life. All life formations, including human beings, animals, plants, trees, insects etc have the same life source of energy. This energy is available even in invisible creatures in air, water, wind and earth. Non-Violence is equated with 60 virtuous qualities like peace, harmony, welfare, trust, fearlessness etc. The direct principle of living is not ‘living for others’ or ‘living by killing’ but ‘living with and for others’.
Every act committed by a human being that directly or indirectly supports injuring someone is himsa or violence. This himsa creates an attraction of karma that is harmful to our soul. The primary aim of ahimsa is that the accumulation of such negative karma should be prevented. This goal is shared by Jains, Buddhists, and Hindus, but our approach is much more comprehensive. Their views and ways of applying this concept of nonviolence to daily activities and consumption of food influence their lives.
The central theme for ahimsa is vegetarianism, which is not only abstinence from eating meat. It is also not being greedy about your food, eating your last meal of the day much before sunset, sharing your food, and eating food that is grown according to the season and local conditions. This discipline of food consumption should be applied to other areas of one’s life.
However Ahimsa means more than being vegetarian; it means to treat all living beings that come in our path with kindness, compassion and forgiveness. It is relatively easy to be vegetarian, but these other aspects of Ahimsa require us to be watchful of our thoughts, speech and action. Ahimsa is as much mental as it is physical.
Ahimsa is neither a rule nor a ritual. It is a discipline, not only for an individual at a certain time but for all people at all times.
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