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To Eat Meat , Or Not To Eat Meat , That Is The Question ?

1755 words - 8 pages

In the world today there are various dietary habits that people have adopted and follow religiously, some more than others. These dietary habits are seen as conscious decisions about what is to be consumed. A diet is a compilation of what an organism consumes and humans are naturally considered omnivores. An omnivore can acquire its energy and nutritional needs by eating various food sources. If we as humans have developed the body mechanics and evolutionary changes to consume meat then why have some religious groups decided to abstain from consuming animal food products? Historically, humans have consumed a wide range of food sources, including animal products. One religious group in ...view middle of the document...

This bliss can be obtained by removing karma from the soul. Jains believe in self help and do not have gods or spirits to aid them. The three principles that guide Jains are considered the three jewels, right belief, right knowledge, and right conduct. The precipice of Jainism and main reason for vegetarianism is the principle of ahisma, which is non violence. There are 5 vows that are followed by Jains, non-attachment to possessions, not lying, no stealing, and sexual restraint. Mahavira is regarded as the prophet who applied the Jain form seen in society today. The Agamas are the written texts of the Mahavira’s teachings. Jainism has professional religious representatives who are monks and nuns; they live their lives in a strict ascetic manner.

When looking at the general Indian region it is believed that there were no restrictions on food consumption by the inhabitants of India, except that the individual could make restrictions on a voluntary basis. After the advent of Jainism there was a vast dietary influence brought about by the Jain philosophy. The prophets preached about non-violence which would have social implications on diet for the followers of Jainism. Jainism can be seen back three centuries before Buddhism surfaced, this would be around 800 B.C.E. The Jain prophet Mahavira Varhaman who is a contemporary of Bhagwan Gautama Buddha, was the reason Jainism and its teaching about refraining from meat was spread about the region. Meat can be seen as muscles of animals, which are just wet protein tissue, this includes all vertebrates and invertebrates.

Jainism was derived from an early Yoga culture; it has always been portrayed as an animal respecting religion. There are records of early Indian ruins that possess artifacts which have depictions of animals on them found in the Indus Valley, circa 3500 B.C.E. These pictures showed animals being honored and garlanded in an early proto-yogan tradition. Furthermore, the early proto yogis had a pure relationship with animals because the images displayed a human-being among animals and the animals appear to have no fear of the human. These murals that were discovered began to show the attachment to nature and animals that was developed in Jainism. Since there are no written records of the attitudes towards animals Jainist have attested to the dominance of nonviolent ethics, which provides a respect for all life forces. The earliest writings of the Jainist tradition, take from the Acaranga Sutra , it had numerous passages that discussed the commitment to nonviolence, which provided the cardinal principles to Sramanic religious beliefs:

All of these passages express the non-violence focus of Jainism. They all renounce harm to living things and would require Jains to adhere to a vegetarian diet. The concept of Karma in Jainism also can be seen as a deterrent from consuming meat because the way one would acquire edible meat could cause negative black lesya karma. The following...

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