In the early 1980s I took Ahimsa vows which means I respect all life in all it's forms. It doesn't mean you don't believe in self defense however. Taking these vows is one of the best things I ever did in life. My life changed in amazing ways of Grace and all beings help me now, especially everything that lives on earth. All know I am trying to help all beings and to not kill anything.
Because I have been clairvoyant all my life often I watched as I killed spiders when I was young in anger the spider often after it was dead would come back as an astral ghost form bigger than me and bite me astrally and this would sometimes freak me out as an intuitive. After I gave this vow and stopped killing things the opposite happened. OFten I will telepath with a spider or fly and tell them "if you want to go outside let me take you there." The creatures you save often help you.
But, no matter the time of year they are going to go outside unless it is a male daddy long legs (1) OF THEM THAT I OFTEN KEEP IN MY BATHROOM that might wander into my bedroom to dispatch spiders in my bedroom or bathroom.
So, being harmless makes a big difference in your karma, and also makes a big difference in your wealth and health as well. If you had experienced what I have since the early 1980s you would understand.
There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that if I hadn't taken these vows in the early 1980s I likely would have been dead by 1998. And here we are 20 years later almost now.
Another thing I always do is to pray for road kill so the spirit goes to a heaven realm. Most of the time (if the animal wasn't in too much pain and anger when it died) the animal says "Thank you for sending me to a heaven realm!"
So, as you help all life all life helps you in ways you actually might not believe.
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.
https://www.ananda.org › Yogic Encyclopedia
|Part of a series on|
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. 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.
EtymologyThe word Ahimsa—sometimes spelled as Ahinsa—is derived from the Sanskrit root hiṃs – to strike; hiṃsā is injury or harm, a-hiṃsā is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence.
There is a debate on the origins of the word Ahimsa, and how its meaning evolved. Mayrhofer as well as Dumot suggest the root word may be han which means kill, which leads to the interpretation that ahimsa means do not kill. Schmidt as well as Bodewitz explain the proper root word is hiṃs and the Sanskrit verb hinasti, which leads to the interpretation ahimsa means do not injure, or do not hurt. Wackernagel-Debrunner concur with the latter explanation.
Ancient texts use ahimsa to mean non-injury, a broader concept than non-violence. Non-injury implies not killing others, as well as not hurting others mentally or verbally; it includes avoiding all violent means—including physical violence—anything that injures others. In classical Sanskrit literature of Hinduism, another word Adrohi is sometimes used instead of Ahimsa, as one of the cardinal virtues necessary for moral life. One example is in Baudhayana Dharmasutra 2.6.23: वाङ्-मनः-कर्म-दण्डैर् भूतानाम् अद्रोही (One who does not injure others with words, thoughts or acts is named Adrohi).
Ancient Vedic textsAhimsa as an ethical concept evolved in Vedic texts. The oldest scripts, along with discussing ritual animal sacrifices, indirectly mention Ahimsa, but do not emphasise it. Over time, the Hindu scripts revise ritual practices and the concept of Ahimsa is increasingly refined and emphasised, ultimately Ahimsa becomes the concept that describes the highest virtue by the late Vedic era (about 500 BC). For example, hymn 10.22.25 in the Rig Veda uses the words Satya (truthfulness) and Ahimsa in a prayer to deity Indra; later, the Yajur Veda dated to be between 1000 BC and 600 BC, states, "may all beings look at me with a friendly eye, may I do likewise, and may we look at each other with the eyes of a friend".
The term Ahimsa appears in the text Taittiriya Shakha of the Yajurveda (TS 220.127.116.11), where it refers to non-injury to the sacrificer himself. It occurs several times in the Shatapatha Brahmana in the sense of "non-injury". The Ahimsa doctrine is a late Vedic era development in Brahmanical culture. The earliest reference to the idea of non-violence to animals ("pashu-Ahimsa"), apparently in a moral sense, is in the Kapisthala Katha Samhita of the Yajurveda (KapS 31.11), which may have been written in about the 8th century BCE.
Bowker states the word appears but is uncommon in the principal Upanishads. Kaneda gives examples of the word Ahimsa in these Upanishads. Other scholars suggest Ahimsa as an ethical concept that started evolving in the Vedas, becoming an increasingly central concept in Upanishads.
The Chāndogya Upaniṣad, dated to the 8th or 7th century BCE, one of the oldest Upanishads, has the earliest evidence for the Vedic era use of the word Ahimsa in the sense familiar in Hinduism (a code of conduct). It bars violence against "all creatures" (sarvabhuta) and the practitioner of Ahimsa is said to escape from the cycle of rebirths (CU 8.15.1). Some scholars state that this 8th or 7th-century BCE mention may have been an influence of Jainism on Vedic Hinduism. Others scholar state that this relationship is speculative, and though Jainism is an ancient tradition the oldest traceable texts of Jainism tradition are from many centuries after the Vedic era ended.
Chāndogya Upaniṣad also names Ahimsa, along with Satyavacanam (truthfulness), Arjavam (sincerity), Danam (charity), Tapo (penance/meditation), as one of five essential virtues (CU 3.17.4).
The Sandilya Upanishad lists ten forbearances: Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Daya, Arjava, Kshama, Dhriti, Mitahara and Saucha. According to Kaneda, the term Ahimsa is an important spiritual doctrine shared by Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It literally means 'non-injury' and 'non-killing'. It implies the total avoidance of harming of any kind of living creatures not only by deeds, but also by words and in thoughts.
The EpicsThe Mahabharata, one of the epics of Hinduism, has multiple mentions of the phrase Ahimsa Paramo Dharma (अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः), which literally means: non-violence is the highest moral virtue. For example, Mahaprasthanika Parva has the verse:
The above passage from Mahabharata emphasises the cardinal importance of Ahimsa in Hinduism, and literally means: Ahimsa is the highest virtue, Ahimsa is the highest self-control, Ahimsa is the greatest gift, Ahimsa is the best suffering, Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice, Ahimsa is the finest strength, Ahimsa is the greatest friend, Ahimsa is the greatest happiness, Ahimsa is the highest truth, and Ahimsa is the greatest teaching. Some other examples where the phrase Ahimsa Paramo Dharma are discussed include Adi Parva, Vana Parva and Anushasana Parva. The Bhagavad Gita, among other things, discusses the doubts and questions about appropriate response when one faces systematic violence or war. These verses develop the concepts of lawful violence in self-defence and the theories of just war. However, there is no consensus on this interpretation. Gandhi, for example, considers this debate about non-violence and lawful violence as a mere metaphor for the internal war within each human being, when he or she faces moral questions.अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मस तथाहिंसा परॊ दमः।
अहिंसा परमं दानम अहिंसा परमस तपः।
अहिंसा परमॊ यज्ञस तथाहिस्मा परं बलम।
अहिंसा परमं मित्रम अहिंसा परमं सुखम।
अहिंसा परमं सत्यम अहिंसा परमं शरुतम॥
Self-defence, criminal law, and warThe classical texts of Hinduism devote numerous chapters discussing what people who practice the virtue of Ahimsa, can and must do when they are faced with war, violent threat or need to sentence someone convicted of a crime. These discussions have led to theories of just war, theories of reasonable self-defence and theories of proportionate punishment. Arthashastra discusses, among other things, why and what constitutes proportionate response and punishment.
Alternate theories of self-defence, inspired by Ahimsa, build principles similar to theories of just war. Aikido, pioneered in Japan, illustrates one such principles of self-defence. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, described his inspiration as Ahimsa. According to this interpretation of Ahimsa in self-defence, one must not assume that the world is free of aggression. One must presume that some people will, out of ignorance, error or fear, attack other persons or intrude into their space, physically or verbally. The aim of self-defence, suggested Ueshiba, must be to neutralise the aggression of the attacker, and avoid the conflict. The best defence is one where the victim is protected, as well as the attacker is respected and not injured if possible. Under Ahimsa and Aikido, there are no enemies, and appropriate self-defence focuses on neutralising the immaturity, assumptions and aggressive strivings of the attacker.
- Criminal law
Other scholars conclude that the scriptures of Hinduism suggest sentences for any crime must be fair, proportional and not cruel.
Non-human lifeThe Hindu precept of 'cause no injury' applies to animals and all life forms. This precept isn't found in the oldest verses of Vedas, but increasingly becomes one of the central ideas between 500 BC and 400 AD. In the oldest texts, numerous ritual sacrifices of animals, including cows and horses, are highlighted and hardly any mention is made of Ahimsa to non-human life.
Hindu scriptures, dated to between 5th century and 1st century BC, while discussing human diet, initially suggest kosher meat may be eaten, evolving it with the suggestion that only meat obtained through ritual sacrifice can be eaten, then that one should eat no meat because it hurts animals, with verses describing the noble life as one that lives on flowers, roots and fruits alone.
Later texts of Hinduism declare Ahimsa one of the primary virtues, declare any killing or harming any life as against dharma (moral life). Finally, the discussion in Upanishads and Hindu Epics shifts to whether a human being can ever live his or her life without harming animal and plant life in some way; which and when plants or animal meat may be eaten, whether violence against animals causes human beings to become less compassionate, and if and how one may exert least harm to non-human life consistent with ahimsa precept, given the constraints of life and human needs. The Mahabharata permits hunting by warriors, but opposes it in the case of hermits who must be strictly non-violent. Sushruta Samhita, a Hindu text written in the 3rd or 4th century, in Chapter XLVI suggests proper diet as a means of treating certain illnesses, and recommends various fishes and meats for different ailments and for pregnant women, and the Charaka Samhita describes meat as superior to all other kinds of food for convalescents.
Across the texts of Hinduism, there is a profusion of ideas about the virtue of Ahimsa when applied to non-human life, but without a universal consensus. Alsdorf claims the debate and disagreements between supporters of vegetarian lifestyle and meat eaters was significant. Even suggested exceptions – ritual slaughter and hunting – were challenged by advocates of Ahimsa. In the Mahabharata both sides present various arguments to substantiate their viewpoints. Moreover, a hunter defends his profession in a long discourse.
Many of the arguments proposed in favor of non-violence to animals refer to the bliss one feels, the rewards it entails before or after death, the danger and harm it prevents, as well as to the karmic consequences of violence.
The ancient Hindu texts discuss Ahimsa and non-animal life. They discourage wanton destruction of nature including of wild and cultivated plants. Hermits (sannyasins) were urged to live on a fruitarian diet so as to avoid the destruction of plants. Scholars claim the principles of ecological non-violence is innate in the Hindu tradition, and its conceptual fountain has been Ahimsa as their cardinal virtue.
The classical literature of Hinduism exists in many Indian languages. For example, Tirukkuṛaḷ, written between 200 BC and 400 AD, and sometimes called the Tamil Veda, is one of the most cherished classics on Hinduism written in a South Indian language. Tirukkuṛaḷ dedicates Chapters 26, 32 and 33 of Book 1 to the virtue of Ahimsa, namely, vegetarianism, non-harming, and non-killing, respectively. Tirukkuṛaḷ says that Ahimsa applies to all life forms.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi promoted the principle of Ahimsa, very successful by applying it to all spheres of life, particularly to politics (Swaraj). His non-violent resistance movement satyagraha had an immense impact on India, impressed public opinion in Western countries, and influenced the leaders of various civil and political rights movements such as the American civil rights movement's Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Bevel. In Gandhi's thought, Ahimsa precludes not only the act of inflicting a physical injury, but also mental states like evil thoughts and hatred, unkind behavior such as harsh words, dishonesty and lying, all of which he saw as manifestations of violence incompatible with Ahimsa. Gandhi believed Ahimsa to be a creative energy force, encompassing all interactions leading one's self to find satya, "Divine Truth". Sri Aurobindo criticised the Gandhian concept of Ahimsa as unrealistic and not universally applicable; he adopted a pragmatic non-pacifist position, saying that the justification of violence depends on the specific circumstances of the given situation. Sri Aurobindo also indicated that Gandhi's Ahimsa led to partition of India as it blocked the forceful action that the Indian people were engaged in during the 1920s and 30s, which caused delay in independence, allowing other forces to take root, including those who wanted India divided.
Gandhi stated that he viewed "Ahimsa is in Hinduism, it is in Christianity as well as in Islam." He added, "Nonviolence is common to all religions, but it has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism (I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism)." When questioned whether violence and non-violence is both taught in Quran, he stated, "I have heard it from many Muslim friends that the Koran teaches the use of non-violence. (... The) argument about non-violence in the Holy Koran is an interpolation, not necessary for my thesis."
A historical and philosophical study of Ahimsa was instrumental in the shaping of Albert Schweitzer's principle of "reverence for life". Schweitzer praised Indian philosophical and religious traditions for ethics of Ahimsa as, "the laying down of the commandment not to kill and not to damage is one of the greatest events in the spiritual history of mankind", but suggested that "not-killing and not-harming" is not always practically possible as in self-defence, nor ethical as in chronic starving during a famine case.
YogaAhimsa is imperative for practitioners of Patañjali's eight limb Raja yoga system. It is included in the first limb and is the first of five Yamas (self restraints) which, together with the second limb, make up the code of ethical conduct in Yoga philosophy. Ahimsa is also one of the ten Yamas in Hatha Yoga according to verse 1.1.17 of its classic manual Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The significance of Ahimsa as the very first restraint in the very first limb of Yoga (Yamas), is that it defines the necessary foundation for progress through Yoga. It is a precursor to Asana, implying that success in Yogasana can be had only if the self is purified in thought, word and deed through the self-restraint of Ahimsa.
The Jain concept of Ahimsa is characterised by several aspects. It does not make any exception for ritual sacrificers and professional warrior-hunters. Killing of animals for food is absolutely ruled out. Jains also make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. Though they admit that plants must be destroyed for the sake of food, they accept such violence only inasmuch as it is indispensable for human survival, and there are special instructions for preventing unnecessary violence against plants. Jains go out of their way so as not to hurt even small insects and other minuscule animals. For example, Jains often do not go out at night, when they are more likely to step upon an insect. In their view, injury caused by carelessness is like injury caused by deliberate action. Eating honey is strictly outlawed, as it would amount to violence against the bees. Some Jains abstain from farming because it inevitably entails unintentional killing or injuring of many small animals, such as worms and insects, but agriculture is not forbidden in general and there are Jain farmers.
Theoretically, all life forms are said to deserve full protection from all kinds of injury, but Jains recognise a hierarchy of life. Mobile beings are given higher protection than immobile ones. For the mobile beings, they distinguish between one-sensed, two-sensed, three-sensed, four-sensed and five-sensed ones; a one-sensed animal has touch as its only sensory modality. The more senses a being has, the more they care about non-injuring it. Among the five-sensed beings, the precept of non-injury and non-violence to the rational ones (humans) is strongest in Jain Ahimsa.
Jains agree with Hindus that violence in self-defence can be justified, and they agree that a soldier who kills enemies in combat is performing a legitimate duty. Jain communities accepted the use of military power for their defence, there were Jain monarchs, military commanders, and soldiers.
BuddhismIn Buddhist texts Ahimsa (or its Pāli cognate avihiṃsā) is part of the Five Precepts (Pañcasīla), the first of which has been to abstain from killing. This precept of Ahimsa is applicable to both the Buddhist layperson and the monk community.
The Ahimsa precept is not a commandment and transgressions did not invite religious sanctions for layperson, but their power has been in the Buddhist belief in karmic consequences and their impact in afterlife during rebirth. Killing, in Buddhist belief, could lead to rebirth in the hellish realm, and for a longer time in more severe conditions if the murder victim was a monk. Saving animals from slaughter for meat, is believed to be a way to acquire merit for better rebirth. These moral precepts have been voluntarily self-enforced in lay Buddhist culture through the associated belief in karma and rebirth. The Buddhist texts not only recommended Ahimsa, but suggest avoiding trading goods that contribute to or are a result of violence:
These five trades, O monks, should not be taken up by a lay follower: trading with weapons, trading in living beings, trading in meat, trading in intoxicants, trading in poison.Unlike lay Buddhists, transgressions by monks do invite sanctions. Full expulsion of a monk from sangha follows instances of killing, just like any other serious offense against the monastic nikaya code of conduct.
— Anguttara Nikaya V.177, Translated by Martine Batchelor
WarViolent ways of punishing criminals and prisoners of war was not explicitly condemned in Buddhism, but peaceful ways of conflict resolution and punishment with the least amount of injury were encouraged. The early texts condemn the mental states that lead to violent behavior.
Nonviolence is an overriding theme within the Pali Canon. While the early texts condemn killing in the strongest terms, and portray the ideal king as a pacifist, such a king is nonetheless flanked by an army. It seems that the Buddha's teaching on nonviolence was not interpreted or put into practice in an uncompromisingly pacifist or anti-military-service way by early Buddhists. The early texts assume war to be a fact of life, and well-skilled warriors are viewed as necessary for defensive warfare. In Pali texts, injunctions to abstain from violence and involvement with military affairs are directed at members of the sangha; later Mahayana texts, which often generalise monastic norms to laity, require this of lay people as well.
The early texts do not contain just-war ideology as such. Some argue that a sutta in the Gamani Samyuttam rules out all military service. In this passage, a soldier asks the Buddha if it is true that, as he has been told, soldiers slain in battle are reborn in a heavenly realm. The Buddha reluctantly replies that if he is killed in battle while his mind is seized with the intention to kill, he will undergo an unpleasant rebirth. In the early texts, a person's mental state at the time of death is generally viewed as having a great impact on the next birth.
Some Buddhists point to other early texts as justifying defensive war. One example is the Kosala Samyutta, in which King Pasenadi, a righteous king favored by the Buddha, learns of an impending attack on his kingdom. He arms himself in defence, and leads his army into battle to protect his kingdom from attack. He lost this battle but won the war. King Pasenadi eventually defeated King Ajatasattu and captured him alive. He thought that, although this King of Magadha has transgressed against his kingdom, he had not transgressed against him personally, and Ajatasattu was still his nephew. He released Ajatasattu and did not harm him. Upon his return, the Buddha said (among other things) that Pasenadi "is a friend of virtue, acquainted with virtue, intimate with virtue", while the opposite is said of the aggressor, King Ajatasattu.
According to Theravada commentaries, there are five requisite factors that must all be fulfilled for an act to be both an act of killing and to be karmically negative. These are: (1) the presence of a living being, human or animal; (2) the knowledge that the being is a living being; (3) the intent to kill; (4) the act of killing by some means; and (5) the resulting death. Some Buddhists have argued on this basis that the act of killing is complicated, and its ethicization is predicated upon intent. Some have argued that in defensive postures, for example, the primary intention of a soldier is not to kill, but to defend against aggression, and the act of killing in that situation would have minimal negative karmic repercussions.
According to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, there is circumstantial evidence encouraging Ahimsa, from the Buddha's doctrine, "Love all, so that you may not wish to kill any." Gautama Buddha distinguished between a principle and a rule. He did not make Ahimsa a matter of rule, but suggested it as a matter of principle. This gives Buddhists freedom to act.
LawsThe emperors of Sui dynasty, Tang dynasty and early Song dynasty banned killing in Lunar calendar 1st, 5th, and 9th month. Empress Wu Tse-Tien banned killing for more than half a year in 692. Some also banned fishing for some time each year.
There were bans after death of emperors, Buddhist and Taoist prayers, and natural disasters such as after a drought in 1926 summer Shanghai and an 8 days ban from August 12, 1959, after the August 7 flood (八七水災), the last big flood before the 88 Taiwan Flood.
People avoid killing during some festivals, like the Taoist Ghost Festival, the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, the Vegetarian Festival and many others.
- 建构的节日：政策过程视角下的唐玄宗诞节. Chinesefolklore.org.cn (2008-02-16). Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
- Alsdorf, Ludwig (1962). Beiträge zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung in Indien. Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur; in Kommission bei F. Steiner Wiesbaden. OCLC 4388049.
- Bartholomeusz, Tessa In Defense of Dharma. RoutledgeCurzon 2002 ISBN 0-7007-1681-5
- Jindal, K.B.: An epitome of Jainism, New Delhi 1988 ISBN 81-215-0058-3
- Laidlaw, James: Riches and Renunciation. Religion, economy, and society among the Jains, Oxford 1995 ISBN 0-19-828031-9
- Lamotte, Etienne: History of Indian Buddhism from the Origins to the Śaka Era, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988 ISBN 90-6831-100-X
- McFarlane, Stewart (2001). Peter Harvey, ed. Buddhism. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4411-4726-4.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: Manas: History and Politics, 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948)
- Sarao, K.T.S.: The Origin and Nature of Ancient Indian Buddhism, Delhi 1989
- Schmidt, Hanns Peter: The Origin of Ahimsa, in: Mélanges d'Indianisme à la mémoire de Louis Renou, Paris 1968
- Tähtinen, Unto: Ahimsa. Non-Violence in Indian Tradition, London 1976 ISBN 0-09-123340-2
- Jain, Vijay K. (2012), Acharya Amritchandra's Purushartha Siddhyupaya: Realization of the Pure Self, With Hindi and English Translation, Vikalp, ISBN 978-81-903639-4-5,
This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
English: Unto Tähtinen (1964), Non-violence as an Ethical Principle, Turun Yliopisto, Finland, PhD Thesis, pages 23–25; OCLC 4288274;
For other occurrence of Ahimsa in Rigveda, see Rigveda 5.64.3, Rigveda 1.141.5;
For other occurrences of Ahimsa in Vedic literature, see A Vedic Concordance Maurice Bloomfield, Harvard University Press, page 151
- Sanskrit Original with Translation 1: The Yoga Philosophy TR Tatya (Translator), with Bhojaraja commentary; Harvard University Archives;
- Translation 2: The Yoga-darsana: The sutras of Patanjali with the Bhasya of Vyasa GN Jha (Translator), with notes; Harvard University Archives;
- Translation 3: The Yogasutras of Patanjali Charles Johnston (Translator)
English Translation: 1.1.17, CHAPTER 1. On Âsanas THE HAṬHA YOGA PRADIPIKA
Sarao, p. 49; Goyal p. 143; Tähtinen p. 37.