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What is Ahimsa?

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word for non-killing and non-harming. It is not mere passiveness, but a positive method of meeting the dilemmas and decisions of daily life. In the western world, we call it dynamic harmlessness which encourages nonviolent action to create positive changes. The six pillars of this dynamic philosophy for modern life (one for each letter of A-H-I-M-S-A) are:

ABSTINENCE FROM ANIMAL PRODUCTS
HARMLESSNESS WITH REVERENCE FOR LIFE
INTEGRITY OF THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED
MASTERY OVER ONESELF
SERVICE TO HUMANITY, NATURE, AND CREATION
ADVANCEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING AND TRUTH

ABSTINENCE FROM ANIMAL PRODUCTS
This is a meaningful, positive, highly practical manifestation of the inward attitude of kinship for all life. It brings positive benefits to the abstainer and to the animals, and the fellow humans one contacts.

HARMLESSNESS WITH REVERENCE FOR LIFE
Humans, being the most powerful creatures on Earth, must use that power ethically and benevolently, not as some mindless creature running amuck, killing and destroying, creating fear and hatred, and leaving degradation and death in its wake. This is another “negative-seeming” pillar with highly positive results.

INTEGRITY OF THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED
In ahimsa, we work toward the state wherein there is truth, justice, and kindness, in all that we think, say, and do. We should not condone dishonesty, corruption, or hypocrisy in ourselves, as when we do something that we know to be cruel or wrong merely because it seems expedient or profitable at the moment. This is a pillar of obviously positive values, with right thinking and right speaking laying the solid foundation for right action.

MASTERY OVER ONESELF
Ahimsa guides us in transcending our egocentric lower “brute nature” and bringing forth our finer, higher self. Instead of materialism and selfishness, have enlightenment and understanding. A measure of self-control is necessary for the achievement of every other pillar.

SERVICE TO HUMANITY, NATURE, AND CREATION
The path of ahimsa opens new doors to creative service, altruistic and unselfish living, and devoting oneself to helping make this world a better, saner, more harmonious place in which to live.

ADVANCEMENT OF UNDERSTANDING AND TRUTH
To “know” is not enough; knowledge must be understood. It should not just be swallowed, but digested, assimilated, and put to good use. Further, our perception of “facts” may change in time, as with the good old flat-Earth concept. We may not know absolute truth about all things. For practical purposes, we apply Gandhi’s measure that truth is for each individual; one’s “small, still voice” within says in guidance, according to the individual’s respective development. We must size it up also against the eternal measure of The Golden Rule, before translating our relative truth into action.

AHIMSA, ethics, The Golden Rule, Reverence for Life, ethical dilemmas, and dynamic harmlessness, and more are discussed in detail in the book Powerful Vegan Messages by H. Jay Dinshah and Anne Dinshah.

 
 
     
 
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