Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word for “non-injury”; a central ethical principle in the religion of JAINISM. Many
Hindus and Buddhists also teach ahimsa.

Jains believe that any injury to another being produces KARMA and binds people to the world of rebirth. Therefore, Jains avoid injuring others as much as possible. As a result, they act out of a supreme respect for life.

At a minimum Jains adopt a vegetarian diet, because plants are thought to suffer the least injury of all living things. Jains also care for sick and dying animals in sanctuaries. Some Jains filter their water, wear a mask over their mouth and nose, and sweep their path as they walk to avoid accidentally injuring unseen creatures. The most
austere Jains end their lives by giving up food and water altogether.

In the early 20th century Mohandas GANDHI made ahimsa a central idea in his teachings.


The Encyclopedia of World Religions – Revised Edition – written by DWJ BOOKS LLC.
General Editor: Robert S. Ellwood – Associate Editor: Gregory D. Alles – Copyright © 2007, 1998 by DWJ BOOKS LLC

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