"Ahimsa" And The Differences Between Jainism And Other World Cultures

1173 words - 5 pages

"Ahimsa" and the Differences Between Jainism and Other World Cultures A dog is being chased by 12 other dogs through the crowded streets of India. He is being chased because he had just found a bone and being as hungry as the rest of the dogs, he wants the bone for himself. Gazing upon this, a Jain monk was reminded of Aparigraha, the Jain principle of non-attachment. In the religion of Jainism, one must not be attached to material possesions because material possesions just possess their posessor. As long as one clings to their possessions, they, in turn, will bleed for them.Jainism is a religion of purity and they believe that there is life in everything so they spend their lives trying to be as harmless as possible to their surroundings. Jains believed that everything in the universe: humans, animals, plants, bodies of water, and even inanimate physical objects such as rocks possessed a soul. They are very careful in their movements, they also tried not to make any sudden moves, because they didn't want to harm any living thing or or physical object that may have a soul. They were strictly vegetarians and filtered their water using cloth to prevent harming the invisible souls and to unwittingly consume tiny animals.Originating in Eastern India, it is a religion that is very similar to Hinduism and Buddhism. A "Jina", or "those who overcome", was traditionally believed to have been a giant who lived about 8.4 million years ago. The world's 4 million Jains are almost entirely located in India but there are nearly 1000 practicing Jains in Canada. Like Hinduism, Jainism has the belief that everyone is bound within the universe by karma, or the accumulated good and evil that one has done, they also share the idea of reincarnation. How one conducts himself throughout life determines where they will be reincarnated. If a Jain stole, lied, or committed an act of violence frequently, he/she would have bad karma, which would result in their ending up in the lower worlds. If a Jain avoided falsehood, did not steal from others, remained sexually monogamous to one's spouse, and did not commit any acts of violence at all during their lifetime, he or she would have good karma, which would result in their ending up in the upper world.In comparison to other cultures, if one were to smash a bothersome fly, they are delighted to take the life of it. To them, the fly is of no value. It isn't seen as a living soul or a friend from a previous life. The fly, as far as other cultures are concerned, is merely a disease carrying nuisance and is not regarded as an equal whereas, in Jainism, it is considered a being of equality and value. If a Jain were to kill a fly, it would be bad karma for them but as it is not a human, its severity is far less. A Jain would, in many cases, brush the fly away slowly with a soft brush, while paying close attention not to crush any vegetation or even kick a pebble where the walk. To Jains, the pebble is alive but it is at...

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