quarta-feira, 18 de janeiro de 2017
'Ahimsa' means non-injury or non-violence.
This precept of 'cause no injury' includes one's deeds, words, and thoughts.
Ahimsa is one of the basic virtues (often said to the greatest virtue) in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions.
It was made famous worldwide by Mahatma Ghandi in his uncompromising non-violent approach to political resistance and reform.
The emphasis on non-injury is not just due to fear of 'karmic consequences', it is - like the Christian guideline of treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated - part of a mature spiritual perspective where compassion and our inter-connectedness is the central theme.
The general theme of compassion is common to all spirituality and religion, although historically it has been obscured by unscrupulous religious and secular leaders for purposes of manipulating power, giving religion a bad name and leading many people nowadays to make a point of calling themselves "spiritual, not religious".
Ahimsa is also central to the Yoga tradition and is the first of the forms of 'self-restraint' ('Yamas') proscribed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as well as being one of the ten Yamas in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
The idea of the 'restraints' are emphasised in Patanjali's description of Raja yoga and Ashtanga yoga as an initial practice, while in traditional (not modern) Hatha Yoga, often the preparatory physical and energetic purification practices are considered to be the basis for practising the virtues without creating inner conflict.
After all, when we feel peaceful and clear, virtue manifests spontaneously.
It is easy to be selfless and compassionate when peace is in our hearts.
Peter Littlejohn Cook