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Jainism &
     Environment
a precursor to modern day ecology


                                          JAINA Education Committee
                      Federation of Jain Associations in North America
                    509 Carriage Wood Circle, Raleigh NC 27607 USA
                                                         www.jaina.org
                                          eMail – education@jaina.org
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)
                 Lord Mahavir is the 24th and Last
                 Tirthankar (Prophet) of Jain Religion
The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism

• Parasparopgraho Jivänäm –
           – Tattvärtha Sutra (2000 year old Scripture)
  All life is bound together by mutual support and
  interdependence
• Environment is imbued in every living beings
• If we harm “ONE”, we harm “ALL” living beings
  – Refreshingly contemporary in its premise and in its promise.
  – Forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology.
Mahavir

• Lord Mahavir’s entire life was an example of how
  to live in perfect harmony with the nature.
• His entire preaching is based on respecting the
  environment and ecology
• The main theme of His teaching:
  – Ahimsä (Non-violence)
  – Aparigrah (Non-possession / Non-possessiveness)
  – Anekäntväd (Pluralism view points / Open
    Mindedness)
Non-violence and Compassion

Jainism recognizes sanctity in all life forms.
• 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’
Environment Possesses Life
• Jainism believes that all Five basic Elements of the Universe
  which makes our environment possess life
   – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Vegetation
• It also believes that every living being possesses one to five
  senses
   – Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Hearing
• Vegetation, Earth, Air, Water etc. possesses one sense (touch)
  while Animals and Humans possess all five senses.
• Also human beings alone are blessed with the sixth sense of
  advanced developed thinking. Therefore,
   – Humanity is responsible for achieving oneness and harmony with all
     life by being careful, compassionate, loving and nonviolent.
What does Jainism teach about ecology?

• Survival of Life is not possible with absolute non-
  violence. Hence the destruction of one or the other
  form of life is essential for our survival.
• However destruction of higher sense living being is
  more cruel act because of higher development of
  their senses, which inflicts more pain in them.
• It also has a greater impact on Environment
• Hence Jainism advocates Vegetarianism against
  Raising Animals for Food.
Compassionate Living

Ahimsä (non-violence):
• Not to cause pain to any living beings in words, in
  thoughts, and in actions. We do not have right to
  harm, abuse, or exploit animals, birds, fish etc.
• It is a compassionate living in harmony with
  nature.
• Vegetarianism – To live a life with minimum
  violence and avoid animal base products.
What does Jainism teach about ecology?

Non-vegetarian Living - Cruelty to Animals:
• Raising animals for Food involves significantly higher use
  of natural resources than vegetarian food
• It creates significant environmental unbalance
• Animals Killed per Day in USA
       Cows          - 130,000
       Calves        - 7,000
       Hogs          - 360,000
       Chickens - 24,000,000
What does Jainism teach about ecology?

Cruelty in 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.
Non-vegetarianism Impacts Ecology

Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Ecology
• Greenhouse effect
  – World's 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.
Non-vegetarianism Impacts 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
Non-vegetarianism Impacts Ecology

• To produce 1 lb. of meat, an average of 40 lb
  of vegetation is used.
 (This calculation takes in to consideration, the land clearing, as well as food for the
 live-stock till slaughter - food cattle are generally slaughtered prior to 2-years-old,
 dairy cattle may live 4 years before being turned into burgers).

• To produce 1 lb. of meat, an average of 2500
  gallons of water is used.
 (1 lb. of wheat requires 108 gallons of water, 1 lb. of rice needs 229 gallons of
 water, 1 lb. of potatoes require just 60 gallons of water).

 *Source: USDA 2001.
Non-vegetarianism Impacts Health


Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Health
•   High Cholesterol
•   High Saturated Fats
•   High incidence of Prostate Cancer
•   Calcium Deficiency (recent study)
•   Less Hygienic
Practice compassionate living

In Summary Ahimsä means:
 – Respect for the lives of others and for
   the environment we live in.
 – Service to lift someone who is down
   trodden.
 – Avoidance of Animal based foods and
   products (Be Vegetarian / Vegan).
What does Jainism teach about ecology?

• Non-Possessiveness / Self-restraint is the second
  most important Jain principle
  – Minimizing consumption provides respect for other’s
    life and Environment
  – Reduce needs and wants as far as possible.
  – Reuse / Recycle Products - Not to waste the gifts of
    nature
  – Share resources
  – 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.
Jainism in Action – Eco friendly
Caring for the Earth and Environment is the way of Life for
  the Jain Community by following the two key principles
  of Jainism in every day life
• Ahimsä
   – Be Compassionate
   – Minimize injury to all forms of life including Air, Water, Earth,
     Plants and Animals
   – Be Vegetarian / Vegan and avoid the use of Animal based
     products
• Non-possessiveness / Self-restraint
   – Reduce our needs and wants as far as possible
   – Reuse / Recycle products, Eliminate Waste
   – Share Resources

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Jainism and environme~0004

  • 1. Jainism & Environment a precursor to modern day ecology JAINA Education Committee Federation of Jain Associations in North America 509 Carriage Wood Circle, Raleigh NC 27607 USA www.jaina.org eMail – education@jaina.org
  • 2. 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) Lord Mahavir is the 24th and Last Tirthankar (Prophet) of Jain Religion
  • 3. The ancient Jain scriptural aphorism • Parasparopgraho Jivänäm – – Tattvärtha Sutra (2000 year old Scripture) All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence • Environment is imbued in every living beings • If we harm “ONE”, we harm “ALL” living beings – Refreshingly contemporary in its premise and in its promise. – Forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology.
  • 4. Mahavir • Lord Mahavir’s entire life was an example of how to live in perfect harmony with the nature. • His entire preaching is based on respecting the environment and ecology • The main theme of His teaching: – Ahimsä (Non-violence) – Aparigrah (Non-possession / Non-possessiveness) – Anekäntväd (Pluralism view points / Open Mindedness)
  • 5. Non-violence and Compassion Jainism recognizes sanctity in all life forms. • 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’
  • 6. Environment Possesses Life • Jainism believes that all Five basic Elements of the Universe which makes our environment possess life – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Vegetation • It also believes that every living being possesses one to five senses – Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Hearing • Vegetation, Earth, Air, Water etc. possesses one sense (touch) while Animals and Humans possess all five senses. • Also human beings alone are blessed with the sixth sense of advanced developed thinking. Therefore, – Humanity is responsible for achieving oneness and harmony with all life by being careful, compassionate, loving and nonviolent.
  • 7. What does Jainism teach about ecology? • Survival of Life is not possible with absolute non- violence. Hence the destruction of one or the other form of life is essential for our survival. • However destruction of higher sense living being is more cruel act because of higher development of their senses, which inflicts more pain in them. • It also has a greater impact on Environment • Hence Jainism advocates Vegetarianism against Raising Animals for Food.
  • 8. Compassionate Living Ahimsä (non-violence): • Not to cause pain to any living beings in words, in thoughts, and in actions. We do not have right to harm, abuse, or exploit animals, birds, fish etc. • It is a compassionate living in harmony with nature. • Vegetarianism – To live a life with minimum violence and avoid animal base products.
  • 9. What does Jainism teach about ecology? Non-vegetarian Living - Cruelty to Animals: • Raising animals for Food involves significantly higher use of natural resources than vegetarian food • It creates significant environmental unbalance • Animals Killed per Day in USA Cows - 130,000 Calves - 7,000 Hogs - 360,000 Chickens - 24,000,000
  • 10. What does Jainism teach about ecology? Cruelty in 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.
  • 11. Non-vegetarianism Impacts Ecology Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Ecology • Greenhouse effect – World's 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.
  • 12. Non-vegetarianism Impacts 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
  • 13. Non-vegetarianism Impacts Ecology • To produce 1 lb. of meat, an average of 40 lb of vegetation is used. (This calculation takes in to consideration, the land clearing, as well as food for the live-stock till slaughter - food cattle are generally slaughtered prior to 2-years-old, dairy cattle may live 4 years before being turned into burgers). • To produce 1 lb. of meat, an average of 2500 gallons of water is used. (1 lb. of wheat requires 108 gallons of water, 1 lb. of rice needs 229 gallons of water, 1 lb. of potatoes require just 60 gallons of water). *Source: USDA 2001.
  • 14. Non-vegetarianism Impacts Health Non-vegetarian Living - Impact on Health • High Cholesterol • High Saturated Fats • High incidence of Prostate Cancer • Calcium Deficiency (recent study) • Less Hygienic
  • 15. Practice compassionate living In Summary Ahimsä means: – Respect for the lives of others and for the environment we live in. – Service to lift someone who is down trodden. – Avoidance of Animal based foods and products (Be Vegetarian / Vegan).
  • 16. What does Jainism teach about ecology? • Non-Possessiveness / Self-restraint is the second most important Jain principle – Minimizing consumption provides respect for other’s life and Environment – Reduce needs and wants as far as possible. – Reuse / Recycle Products - Not to waste the gifts of nature – Share resources – Nature provides enough for our NEED not enough for our GREED
  • 17. 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.
  • 18. Jainism in Action – Eco friendly Caring for the Earth and Environment is the way of Life for the Jain Community by following the two key principles of Jainism in every day life • Ahimsä – Be Compassionate – Minimize injury to all forms of life including Air, Water, Earth, Plants and Animals – Be Vegetarian / Vegan and avoid the use of Animal based products • Non-possessiveness / Self-restraint – Reduce our needs and wants as far as possible – Reuse / Recycle products, Eliminate Waste – Share Resources