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The aim of the Buddha’s teachings is bringing happiness not only to humankind but also to all living beings in the world. In order to achieve this aim, The Buddha had conveyed his compassionate massage by many ways and in various aspects. Ahimsa or the principle of non-violence is such an illustration.

The concept of Ahimsa appeared in Vedic leterature for a long time. The Buddha advocated it because according to him it can be regarded as an incomparable moralprinciple.

Ahimsā means harmlessness or non-violence. It refers to a loving kindness or respect for life, a compassion or sympathy to suffering of others.

In the scope of this composition, some teachings on Ahimsā found in Buddhism and its practical values are going to be discussed, and firstly, let us hear the Buddha speaks of Ahimsā:

“You should be harmless to everybody,

Those who do not harm anybody through body, speech and mind,

These who do not harm any living beings,

Will be truly a Harmless One (Ahimsako)”

It can be said that the above verse summarizes fully the meaning of Ahimsa in Buddhism. It means that Ahimsa is harmless actions that are done through body, speech and mind of person ; is truly called “A Harmless One”.

We live in a world of mutual injury where life can only be sustained by marginalizing others. In a situation such as this, violence in one form or the other is unavoidable. In order to live, one must eat, and their food is usually through the capture of various kinds of animal and aquatic life. Some take to vegetarianism to escape such a killing. Ahimsa to living beings, which is the first precept in Buddhism, is based upon the principle of mutual attraction and rightness common to all nature. To willfully take life means to disrupt and destroy the inherent wholeness and to blunt feelings of reverence and compassion that form the basic of humaneness.

The Buddhaclearly states that all living beings hold their own self dearest. If one loves his own self do not harm the self of others. In Lord Buddha’s view, everybody yearns for happiness. To harm others in order to serve one’s own happiness is totally inappropriate. Not to harm others is the most appropriate way to find one’s own happiness. He said: “Living beings yearn for happiness. Those who weapons to harm other people so as to seek their own happiness, will never find happiness.”

In his personal life, Lord Buddhahas a special respect for life, even that of an insect or of a plant. He sets himself as example, not to throw his remaining food on green vegetation or in the water where there are small insects living. He advises his lay-disciples not to kill living beings to offer food to him and his Sangha. “I will observe the principles not to kill living beings” and “all living beings are not to be harmed” He said, because in so doing, they store up much merit. He criticizes all animal sacrifices.

The Buddhamakes it very clear that, killing beings will bring up fear and hatred in the present, in the future, and pain and suffering in mind. Moreover, it will lead to hell to the animal kingdom, and to the world of the ghost. He advises everyone not to kill, because all sentient beings tremble at the stick, to all life is dear. In other words, a Buddhistis expected not only to shun killing but also avoid inciting others to kill. The first precept to be taken by a Buddhistis this respect of life, this refrains from killing beings.

The Lord Buddha encourages a way of life in peace and harmony, condemns all actions leading to quarrel, conflict, violence and war.

To Sum up :

The basis of the practice of Ahimsā is compassion, mercy and a feeling of shame of the cruelty of killing and injuring life. Ahimsā is considered a noble act because it is not only the object of the act, but it also results in happiness to the one who practices it. On the other hand, those who harbor hatred not only injure others but also bring unhappiness to themselves. The killing of living beings is a shameful act and is wrong because it opposes the spirit of compassion. Moreover, when Ahimsā is practiced one comes to know the true feeling of love and attains happiness.

Today, with the dangerous increase on violences, terrorisms, wars, conflicts…etc everywhere in the world, humankind is facing with many universal troubles. It seems that the principle of Ahimsa is the best solution to political, social…. in the world. And one of great contribution of Buddhism to mankind is the doctrine of Ahimsa.

Not to do evil,

To perform good,

To purify one’s mind,

This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

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