2009 is now nearly a day behind us and we're forging full speed ahead into 2010. In reflecting on the year of 2009 I am struck by the undercurrent of an inordinate level of suffering and pain; In the world, in my community, in my circle of friends, and in my own life. One blazing, bright beacon of calm, hope and peace was my choice to become vegetarian and, subsequently, to become vegan. It was a complex process which I will delve into in another thread on this website/blog at some point (most likely, when I understand it a bit better as I'm still processing this life change, now 7 months to the day I undertook this amazing process.)
I am calling this Blog VEGAN AHIMSA. Ahimsa (अहिंसा) is a Sanskrit term meaning to do no harm (literally: the avoidance of violence - himsa). It is an important tenet of the religions that originated in ancient India (Hinduism, Buddhism and especially Jainism). Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living beings. It is closely connected with the notion that all kinds of violence entail negative karmic consequences.
The concept of Ahimsa/ non-violence extends beyond our physical actions. It also includes our thoughts and our feelings. The more violent thoughts or feelings we have, the more likely it becomes that we will engage in violent acts. So it's important to monitor these thoughts. Make no mistake- violent acts have a massive, cumulative effect both in our own selves as individuals as well as among groups of individuals and across societies. Though we see violent acts everywhere in our modern world, violence remains contrary to the way of this world and to our innate nature. When we indulge these impulses, we act in a way that is contrary to our True Selves and the world falls more out of disorder.
It is meaningful to me that so many prominent thinkers and leaders are/have been non-meat eaters. Isaac Bashevis Singer, great Jewish/Yiddish Poet of the 20th Century and a Nobel Prize Winner (1978) once said, "In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought." Albert Einstein, physicist and Nobel Prize Winner (1921) said, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." Mahatma Ghandi, great Indian Statesman and scholar has said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated" and "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being." The great and talented Leonardo da Vinci once said, "The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men." And the great Greek mathematician and scholar, Pythagoras, once said, "For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
I truly believe we are now at a crucial point in the evolution of the human race where a critical mass of people alive today on this planet have experienced enough of a consciousness-raising, that we are finally beginning to understand the visionary insights of these great thinkers. It is my great hope that just one other human will read this blog at some point in the next year and that she or he will decide to investigate The Truth of Ahimsa and choose non-violence as a way back to their true heart and true nature. If I can have that impact on one other person in the coming year, then this endeavor will be of great success and joy to me.
In Peace and Love, Ethan