Guidance on Non-Violence

 

Ahimsa

There are several aspects of non-violence to consider. The most obvious is non-violence to other human beings, non-violence in thought, word and deed. We should hurt no one, hate no one, and speak ill of no one. We should respect all forms of life within reason. We know that in nature there is a food chain, the network of predators and prey which enables life to continue on this earth. Therefore it cannot be considered to be wrong to eat the flesh of other animals. There are countries in the world where plants hardly grow at all and it would be impossible to survive without depending on the flesh of animals and fish.

There are large numbers of people who do feel it is wrong to eat meat for all sorts of reasons, including non violence. This decision must remain a personal one. However, if animals are to be consumed, their lives should be peaceful and comfortable. If they are kept inhumanely, or killed inhumanely, then should we be willing to eat them? Should put we pleasing our taste buds above the suffering of creatures we keep to eat?

Another aspect to look at is non-violence towards ourselves. We are here on this earth to learn. Of course we will make mistakes, of course we will have our weaknesses. How could we learn if we could never experience situations that are not ideal? It might be difficult to decide ‘No, that is not for me’, or simply “Well, I won’t do that again!” This means that if we do make mistakes or if we cannot quite live up to our high hopes and aspirations, we should not punish ourselves for it. Instead be patient and try again. Guilt complexes and self-damaging behaviour are all the results of mental violence to ourselves. Forgive and let go. This applies to ourselves as well as to others. We all need to learn to love ourselves and respect the divinity which is a part of us all.