An ethic is a set of honorable standards, or a moral code, which governs a particular group’s behaviors based on opinions about what is morally acceptable within that society. Ahimsa is an ethic which existed initially within Hinduism, or the Sanatana Dharma. Himsa is a Sanskrit word meaning to do harm or to inflict injury. An “a” is added at the beginning of the word to counteract the meaning, creating the word ahimsa, meaning to do no harm. Ahimsa refers to doing no harm physically, mentally, as well as emotionally to any living being (“Ahimsa: To Do No Harm,” 359). This idea suggests that by doing harm to another living creature, you are actually doing harm to yourself. This idea is formed as a result of the belief of karma. Karma, if accumulated, is the force that fuels the continuance of life’s cycle of birth, old age, disease, and death, or samsara. The more karma one accumulates, the less successful one’s samsara will be; that one consciousness may not be given an opportunity for a human birth again. Instead, the consciousness may be given the life of a rock, a tree, an ant, or even water. Not practicing ahimsa is a way to accumulate karma, and therefore,...
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...quiring independence for India. Ghandi’s actions and teachings influenced American, Martin Luther King Jr. in his efforts to alleviate the African-Americans of harm in their quest to achieve civil rights in the United States in the twentieth-century. Vegetarianism around the world is influenced by the ethic of ahimsa, in disapproval of animal cruelty. The victories achieved in these movements have greatly affected the world in the twenty-first century. African- Americans obtained civil rights, India has become a power nation free from English control, and vegetarianism has promoted the formation of animal rights groups, in large part because of the ideology behind the ethic of ahimsa.
Ahimsa: To Do No Harm,” Chapter 45 in What is Hinduism: Modern Adventures Into A Profound Global Faith. New Delhi: Himalayan Academy Publications, 2007. 358-363. Print.
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