Why Animals Matter:

A Religious and philosophical perspective

Jainism

 

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Return to Why Animals Matter: A Religious/Philosophical Perspective

Why Animals Matter: Jainism Quotations

For ease of reading all quotations appear in a Purple Font
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Page One Introduction and Brief History of Jainism
Page Two Basic Teachings
Page Three Ahimsa and Animal Rights
Page Four Jainism in the Modern World

Jainism in the modern world

In modern world Jain philosophy of ahimsa has had considerable influence. For example both Mahatma Gandhi and Albert Schweitzer were greatly influenced by the non violent ethical code of Jainism. The origins of vegetarianism are also credited to Jainism.

Below you may read more perspectives concerning the role of Jainism in the modern world regarding animal rights, which of course includes all beings humans too, ecology, world peace and so on:

The extract below best describes Jainism in the modern world:

"What are the views of Jains to the dilemma of the modern world?

Jain ethics are governed by their principles of ‘non-violence and reverence for all life.

They interpret dilemmas of the modern world below:

• Abortion is prohibited, as Jains believe that life starts at conception.
• Family planning: Jain texts advocate restraint in sexual activities and celibacy.  Some Jains use modern methods of contraception with regret.
• Addictive drugs like alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other hard drugs are prohibited.
• Eating out: only vegetarian food appropriate to the Jain diet.
• Euthanasia is prohibited, as it is a form of violence.
• Organ transplant is allowed, provided the donor is not harmed.
• Organ donation is allowed.

In conclusion, how does Jainism fit into the modern world?

Jainism lays stress on the individual and self-effort, equality, tolerance and respect to other faiths, philanthropy and non-violence and reverence for all life including the care for natural world, environment and animals. Its teachings are logical, scientific, and if followed properly lead to the path of peace, blissfulness and the spiritual liberation. It fits very well in the modern world and advocates a way of life that promotes the friendship to all and malice to none, and the law abiding citizens with human values."

jainnetwork.com/Jains-and-the-Community-Ajainism_5/

The next extract is quoted from the website of European Vegetarian and Animal News Alliance (EVANA) where you will also find more information about Jainism in the form of Q@As

Does this ancient religion have any relevance to the modern world?

Yes, surprisingly so. Jainism‘s, structure and practice is built upon compassion for all forms of life. Jainism is a living example to all of us that there can, and does exist a successful, ecologically responsible way of life, profusely non-violent in action, thought, and deed. We humans tend to misread our history, get carried away by pride and prejudice, and confusedly perpetrate other follies. Jainism offers a viable alternative.

Moreover, Jainism is unique in that its ancient theories of cognition, perception and about the nature of the cosmos are surprisingly accurate in the context of modern scientific thought and reasoning. Jainism has articulated the properties and qualities of animate and inanimate substances which make up the cosmos. It describes the relationship of these substances in terms of their mutual interactions, evolution and growth. This ancient religion was probably the first to describe concepts such as atoms, molecules, non-material continuums and souls.

We think of these as modern scientific theories, yet they have been taught in Jainism for thousands of years. The Jain way of life is rich with practices such as vegetarianism, yoga, meditation, periodic fasting, treating nature with reverence, etc. There is a growing realization that our planet now, more than ever, needs all its inhabitants to follow these practices. Disciplines such as ecology, psychology and medical sciences should take a fresh look at these ideas. It is possible that Jain scriptures could inspire more scientific discoveries.

Today, when suspicion and distrust are poisoning the atmosphere of international peace, when our planet is stressed with terrorism, fundamentalism, hatred, anger and fear, the world requires a workable, living philosophy to help us overcome these stresses. Jainism is such a practical, wholesome philosophy, bearing a message and practice of love and goodwill, ahimsa (non-violence), mutual respect, and peace. It stands for high and the noble values and offers a path toward personal and global peace and happiness.

EVANA JAINISM - Questions and Answers
 

In summary

Of all the world religions when it comes to the practice of non violence, compassion for all beings and concern for the environment Jainism is virtually faultless. The extremes of ascetissm may not be appropriate for everyone but even the less austere lifestyle of lay Jains if practiced universally would substantially transform the world into a place of less suffering, equality and non-violence. A Jain world would be free from discrimination of race, gender or species, free from greed and the exploitation of any being. If the people of world followed even the least severe of the codes of Jainism we would not be facing the threat of global warming, and billions of sentient beings would not be harmed in factory farms, or otherwise used and abused, or hunted and killed for their flesh, such as fish, or hunted for pleasure as is still the case for many wild animals.

If you kill someone, it is yourself you kill. If you overpower someone, it is yourself you overpower. If you torment some one, it is yourself you torment. If you harm someone, it is yourself you harm."
 Mahavir


Click the following internal link to read quotations from Jain scripture and contemporary writings advocating vegetarianism or veganism.

Why Animal Rights Matter: Jain Quotations

[A]ll breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.
Acharanga Sutra
 

Links

General information about Jainism

For an absolute wealth of information in 24 different languages about Jainism visit Jain world:

Welcome to Jainworld - Jainism Global Resource Center - Jain community, jainis

Articles in this website include a wide range of material from an explanation of ahimsa, Ahimsa-vrata, i. e., the vow of `Ahimsa', to a delightful account of Abraham Lincoln's compassion towards a pig . Also includes scholarly articles, clipart, radio lectures and much more. If you visit no other website than this you will find all you need to know about Jainism

Jainism and ecology

For a member of the Jain faith, the complex of ideas we now call ecological consciousness, environmentalism, green awareness et al, are far from being new discoveries or acute social observations. They have been part of the philosophy and practice of Jainism for millennia and are ‘givens’ of Jain life and thought. In other words, what is surprising to Jains is our surprise, in the West, at the effects of human behaviour on the environment, that our individual and collective actions have consequences for all of nature. And nature, a Jain takes for granted, includes ourselves, for humanity is part of the natural world rather than above or beyond it. How could a supposedly rational society such as the West’s have been so blind to the obvious for so long? Separation between humanity and the rest of nature is viewed by Jains as the cardinal human error, the delusion on which is based a false way of living that leads to pollution of the air and water, and climatic disruption.

 

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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