Non-Violence : Religion And Nonviolence

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Many religions have doctrines that preach towards non-violence. Christians can look towards the Ten Commandments and see phrases such as “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal. The Buddha also believed in nonviolence seen through verse 130 of the Dhammapada when he was quoted as saying “Putting oneself in another's place, one should not beat or kill others.” However, the religion of Jainism considers non-violence paramount in order to achieve enlightenment. In the teachings of Mahavira from the Acaranga Sutra, “all the omniscients of all times, state... that nothing which breathes... should be destroyed or ruled over, or subjugated, or harmed, or denied of its essence or potential.” Through the practice of nonviolence one will be rid of karma already gained and stop new karma from being gathered, which leads to a reincarnation into a higher status.

In order to practice the values of nonviolence or ahimsa, one must first realize that all things have souls. Everything from a microscopic cell to a human being has a soul and they must be protected, even elements are thought to have souls. Thus the killing of all types of life is considered violence, also known as himsa, and this will give a person karma. In order to avoid this Jain’s are not only are pacifists, but have extreme dietary restrictions. Meat is not allowed in any form as it involved the slaughter of an animal. Root plants are considered sacrilege as they contain an infinite number of souls within them,
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