Jainism & Environmenta precursor to modern day ecology
A profound truth for all times“One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation, disregards his own existence which is entwined with them” - Lord Mahavir (599-527 BC)
The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism• Parasparopgraho Jivänäm – – Tattvärtha Sutra All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence (If one does not care for nature one does not care for oneself) – Refreshingly contemporary in its premise and in its promise. – Forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology.
Mahavir• His entire life was an example of how to live in perfect harmony with the environment.• His entire preaching is based on respecting the environment and ecology• The main theme of His teaching: – Ahimsä (Non-violence) – Aparigrah (Non-possession) – Anekantvad (Pluralism view points)
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Ahimsä (non-violence):• Not to cause pain to any living beings in words, in thoughts, and in actions.• Vegetarianism – To live a life with minimum violence and avoid all animal base products.• It is a compassionate living in harmony with nature.
Non-violence and Compassion• Ahimsä is disciplined behavior towards every living being - – Dashvaikalika Sutra (6/9)• Absence of violence of any sort towards all beings at all times is Ahimsä. – Yogasutra• In its absolute definition:‘Ahimsä is the absence of destructive thoughts, feelings or attitude’
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Non-vegetarian Living - Cruelty to Animals:• Animals Killed per Day in USA Cattle - 130,000 Calves - 7,000 Hogs - 360,000 Chickens - 24,000,000
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Cruelty exist Dairy Industry• Cows are kept pregnant continually• Slaughtering 70% to 80% of baby calves within six months by Veal industry or within five years by beef industry• Slaughtering the mother cows after five years of their fertile life (life expectancy is 15 years)• Everyday hormones or drugs are injected to increase milk yield.
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Ecology• Greenhouse effect – Worlds 1.3 billion cows annually produce 100 million tons of methane – Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas which traps 25 times as much solar heat as CO2• Water Consumption – Livestock (Cattle, Calves, Hogs, Pigs) production accounts for more than half of all the water consumed in USA.
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Ecology• Land Usage – A third of the surface of North America is devoted to grazing – Half of American croplands grow livestock feed for meat and dairy products – 220 million acres of land in the USA have been deforested for livestock production – 25 million acres in Brazil, and half the forests in Central America
What does Jainism teach about ecology?Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Health• Calcium and Protein Deficiency• High Cholesterol• High Saturated Fats• High incidence of Prostate Cancer
Practice of compassionate livingAhimsä means: • Respect for the lives of others and for the environment we live in. • Avoidance of Animal based foods and products (Be Vegetarian / Vegan). • Service to lift someone who is down trodden.
What does Jainism teach about ecology?• Non-Possession/Self-restraint is the second most important Jain principle – Reduce one’s needs and wants as far as possible. – Not to waste the gifts of nature – Nature provides enough for our NEED not enough for our GREED
The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism • “Aparigraha seve attai karanti prananam behanam” – Lord Mahavir • We kill other lives because of our greed and possessiveness. • This is the primary cause of all violence as well as imbalance in the environment.
Faith Action• Caring for the Earth and Environment is the way of Life of the Jain Community by following the principles of Jainism in their daily life – Be Compassionate – Be Vegetarian and avoid the use all types of animal based products – Reduce our needs and wants as far as possible.