Saturday, April 11, 2015

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Jainism

I recently watched a documentary on Jainism in India. Many Jain villages there have an animal sanctuary but this documentary was about a particular village where the people live so strictly by Jain principles that they welcome wild animals into the village. They are fed and those that are injured in any way cared for. As a result even timid animals like deer show no fear and wander wherever they want.

The main principles followers of Jainism live by are:

1. Non-violence. Jains believe as far as possible in avoiding harm to all living creatures in a descending order from humans through animals and insects and even including plants. Violence or war in self defence is allowed as is use of plants when they are essential for food but they must be harvested with care so as to cause the least harm. Some even avoid eating root vegetables because other organisms may be injured when they are harvested and even if such injury is caused by carelessness it is not an acceptable excuse. As a result most Jains are lacto-vegetarians - that is they eat vegetable and dairy based foods but not eggs or flesh - although some take it even further and are vegan, eating only vegetable foods.

2. Non-absolutism. This means open-mindedness and recognition of different perspectives including tolerance of other beliefs.

3. Non-possessiveness. This means avoiding greed and therefore using only what you need and sharing what you can.

While I don't agree with all Jain beliefs, it seems to me that, no matter what our faith system, following these principles would only improve the world.


Sheila said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It would do us no harm to incorporate many or most of these beliefs into our own lives.

Helen V. said...

Nice to hear from you, Sheila.