Ahimsa

Ahimsa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

Ahimsa (Ahinsa) (ahiṃsā, avihiṃsā) means ‘not to injure‘ and ‘compassion‘ and refers to a key virtue in Hinduism and Jainism. 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—in ancient Indian religions.

Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues and an important tenet of Jainism and Hinduism, and in Buddhism where it is the first of the five precepts. 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.

– From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

Google search –

For Gandhi, ahimsa means: non-injury, nonviolence, non-harm, the renunciation of the will to kill and the intention to hurt any living thing, the abstention from hostile thought, word or deed, and compassion for all living creatures.

– Google search

Albert Schweitzer strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa.

http://www.schweitzerfellowship.org

excerpt –

Reverence for Life is a translation of the German “Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben”, and the word “reverence” is really not quite adequate. It lacks the German word’s overtones of awe before an overwhelming force. “Ehrfurcht” is respect carried to ultimate lengths. It holds reverberations of the feelings we experience on the tops of high mountains, in a storm at sea, or in a tropical tornado. This was the element that the African jungle gave to Schweitzer’s thinking―the acknowledgement of immensity and of overwhelming power―the force of continuing life and ever-present death in the vastness of nature.

– excerpt

For months on end, I lived in a continual state of mental agitation. Without the least success I concentrated – even during my daily work at the hospital – on the real nature of the affirmation of life and of ethics, and on the question of what they have in common. I was wandering about in a thicket where no path was to be found. I was pushing against an iron door that would not yield….In that mental state, I had to take a long journey up the river . . . Lost in thought, I sat on deck of the barge, struggling to find the elementary and universal concept of the ethical that I had not discovered in any philosophy. I covered sheet after sheet with disconnected sentences merely to concentrate on the problem. Two days passed. Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase : “Reverence for Life”. [lang|de| Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben] The iron door had yielded. The path in the thicket had become visible. Now I had found my way to the principle in which affirmation of the world and ethics are joined together!” — Albert Schweitzer

“He [Albert Schweitzer] is the only Westerner who has had a moral effect on this generation comparable to Gandhi’s. As in the case of Gandhi, the extent of this effect is overwhelmingly due to the example he gave by his own life’s work.” Albert Einstein

reverence noun:
deep respect for someone or something.
ARCHAIC
a gesture indicative of respect; a bow or curtsy.
a title given to a member of the clergy, or used in addressing them.

reverence verb:
regard or treat with deep respect.
Origin: from Latin reverentia, from revereri ‘stand in awe of’ (see revere).

Andrew Harvey in The Way of Passion –

One day Rumi asked one of his young, snotty disciples to give him an enormous amount of rich and delicious food. This young disciple was rather alarmed because he thought Rumi was living an acetic lifestyle. Rumi used to pray all night and hardly eat anything. The disciple thought, “Aha, now I’ve really got the master – what he really wants is to go off somewhere secretly and eat all this food!” So he decided to follow Rumi. He followed him through the streets of Konya, out into the fields, out into yet further fields. Then he saw Rumi go into a ruined tomb. “I am finally going to unmask his pretensions,” the young disciple thought. But what he found was a totally exhausted bitch with six puppies, and Rumi was feeding the dog with his own hands so that she could survive to feed her children. Rumi knew that the disciple was following him, of course, and turned to him smiling and said, “See?” The disciple, extremely moved said, “But how on earth did you know that she was here? How did you know that she was hungry? This is miles away from where you are!” Rumi laughed and laughed, “When you have become awake your ears are so acute that they can hear the cries of a sparrow ten thousand miles away.”

– Andrew Harvey in The Way of Passion

 

Modern man rarely has a reverence for life, because it requires humility as a lifestyle; not feeling superior to any other life.

This concept of reverence for life started to develop in Animism, was refined by certain types of Shamanism, and was carried forward into some of the old classical religions like Taoism, Hinduism, Shinto, Buddhism, and Judaism.

Ahimsa is the first precept in Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Taoism is the first (religious?) practice where dualism shows up. Daoists hold that this is not an essential duality, but rather two mutually constituting and intricately linked parts of a whole, both of which are at all times present in all things and either may only achieve temporary dominance.

Hinduism has deep roots and a well documented history about it’s development.

In 539 BCE Persian king Cyrus the Great allowed Exiled Judeans to return to Judah, temple worship was restored, the scriptures were revised from a Judean perspective, and other worship practices like Shamanism were declared strictly forbidden idol worship.

Animism
Description: Animism is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive. – Wikipedia

The basic original duality:

Light – presence of all visible energy – represented by the color white.

Darkness – absence of all visible energy – represented by the color black.

Key concepts of duality:

White – wholeness – good – love – nonphysical reality – extrasensory

Black – separateness- evil – fear – physical reality – sensory

I list duality just to show you that all choice is basically between light or darkness.

There are wide extremes in the practice of ahimsa:

The small practice is non-violence; just do no harm.

The wholeness practice of ’cause no injury’ includes one’s deeds, words, and thoughts; such as compassion when someone or something is hurting, action is required.

Reflect on this:

Rumi laughed and laughed, “When you have become awake your ears are so acute that they can hear the cries of a sparrow ten thousand miles away.”