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Embodiment of Ahimsa (Non-Violence)

Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and refers to a general philosophy of abstention from violence based on moral, religious or spiritual principles.

Ahimsaahiṃsā, Pāli: avihiṃsā) means ‘not to injure’ and ‘compassion’ and refers to a key virtue in Hinduism. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. cause no injury, do no harm. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence, and it applies to all living beings—including all animals.

Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues and an important tenet of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Ahimsa is a multidimensional concept, inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself (Tat Twam Asi+You are me). Ahimsa has also been related to the notion that any violence has karmic consequences. While ancient scholars of Hinduism pioneered and over time perfected the principles of Ahimsa, the concept reached an extraordinary status in the ethical philosophy of Jainism. Most popularly, Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

Ahimsa’s precept of ’cause no injury’ includes one’s deeds, words, and thoughts. Classical literature of Hinduism such as Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as modern scholars debate principles of Ahimsa when one is faced with war and situations requiring self-defence. The historic literature from India and modern discussions have contributed to theories of Just War, and theories of appropriate self-defence.

Ahimsa is paramodharma: Non-violence is the highest dharma

 The meaning of Ahimsa is that either in thought, word or deed, you should not cause harm to anybody. What does Ahimsa signify? It is not merely refraining from causing harm or injury to others. It implies also refraining from causing harm to himself. One who harms oneself cannot avoid harming others. How is this to be ensured? By constantly examining whether his conduct is right or wrong. For instance, in the matter of speech, one must examine whether the words are causing pain to others. One must see that the looks are not tainted by evil intentions or thoughts. One should not listen to evil talk. Hence everyone should see that they give no room for bad looks, bad hearing, bad speech, bad thoughts and actions.

You should also be careful with regard to your food. Excessive eating does violence to the body. Moderation is conducive to happiness. Ahimsa is thus what confers happiness on you. When you realize that God is in everyone, you will practice non-violence.

Ahimsa Paramo Dharma” – Ahimsa is the most meritorious deed. Non violence is an alternate name for Truth and Love. By following Non-violence, one achieves Love. To follow the path of non-violence, it is necessary to change the mental attitude. Nobody should be harmed by mind, body or speech. By purity of thought, word and deed, one should serve even one’s enemies. Overwhelm the bad and jealous by your goodness. Humility is the main quality of those who want to don the mantle of non-violence.

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama explained that the well-being and fate of people across the world were interlinked despite the differences in their national boundaries and other kinds of differences. “We (therefore) need to take a more human approach to conflict and seek to resolve it through dialogue instead of resorting to military force,” he said.

On ‘ahimsa’ the Dalai Lama explained, responding to a question from the audience, that it could be realized from cultivating a warm heart within oneself.

Asked if there were situations when ‘ahimsa’ was inappropriate, he replied that non-violence and non-harm were the proper solution to any human problem.

 

 

 

 

 

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