Concept of Ahimsa

  • Ahimsa is one of the most important moral concepts and requirements adopted by almost all schools of Indian philosophy, including Jainism where it is treated with the great rigor. It is understood as a renunciation of causing injury and damage to any living individual, not only a human, but also different microorganisms and big animals. In yoga and Jainism, Ahimsa is one of five elementary moral and behavioral self-restraints necessary for further improvement. Therefore, the concept of Ahimsa and karma play a great role in Jainism.

    The followers of Jainism are convinced that the only way to save the human soul is to defend every soul and being; therefore, the central doctrine of the Jains, and the essence of Jain ethics is to adhere to Ahimsa. Modern Jainism adds to the concept certain elements of work regarding peace, and liberation if it is not associated with violence. Jains consider the life as a sacred creation regardless of the features of faith, race or caste. Therefore, the followers of Jainism are restricted to harming or insulting any creature or living being. Following such order and belief, Jain monks have to sweep the floor with the great care and attention in order to avoid accidental murder of the insects.

    Jains developed the concept of karma and distinguished eight different kinds of karmas that are the basis of two fundamental qualities. The evil karma adversely affects the main properties of the soul, which, are acquired by it, being perfect in its natural form. Good karma holds the soul in the cycle of rebirth. When a person gradually gets rid of the bad and good karma, it will release the soul from the shackles of samsara. Jains believe that a person using the spiritual essence can control the material nature. The liberation of the soul from the influence of karma and samsara is only possible by means of austerity and making good deeds. Therefore, Jainism places great emphasis on the development of ethics traditionally called the three jewels of Jainism (Triratna) that help to get rid of karma.

    In order to attain Siddhashila, the peak of the world where the arihants (people who obtained infinite knowledge) live, the followers of Jainism should strive to achieve Moksha. It is the liberation from the cycle of birth and death (samsara), and all the suffering and limitations of material existence. Moksha, however, is not a posthumous award for being pious because the liberation should be achieved during the life by overcoming selfishness, or false ego and the disclosure of the true, profound essence of the individual as a pure spirit and soul. In Jainism, when the soul (atman) attains moksha, it is released from the cycle of birth and death and is becoming siddha, which literally means the one who reached the ultimate goal and attained the infinite knowledge. In Jainism, in order to achieve moksha, one must get rid of any karma, both good and bad, because there is a belief that if the karma remained, it would bring the unnecessary complications.

    To conclude, Ahimsa means to cause no harm to all forms of life from people to microorganisms. It is the way of life that obligates every single Jain to follow it. Jains developed the concept of karma and claimed that when a person gradually gets rid of the bad and good karma, it will release the soul from the shackles of samsara. To attain Siddhashila, which, according to Jainism, is the peak of the world, the followers of Jainism should strive to achieve Moksha.

    About the author: 
    Arianna Palmer is working as a freelance writer at Top-Papers If you are interested in such topics and want to read more you can visit our website. If you want to order an essay (or any other type of  writing work) you can also visit our site and order there. 

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