noun \ə-ˈhim-ˌsä\

Definition of AHIMSA

:  the Hindu and Buddhist doctrine of refraining from harming any living being

Origin of AHIMSA

Sanskrit ahiṁ noninjury
First Known Use: 1875


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

(Sanskrit: “noninjury”) Fundamental ethical virtue of Jainism, also respected in Buddhism and Hinduism. In Jainism ahimsa is the standard by which all actions are judged. It requires a householder observing the small vows (anuvrata) to refrain from killing any animal life. An ascetic observing the great vows (mahavrata) is expected to take the greatest care not to injure any living substance, even unknowingly. To do so interrupts that being's spiritual progress and increases one's own karma, delaying liberation from the cycle of rebirth. In the 20th century Mohandas K. Gandhi extended ahimsa into the political sphere as satyagraha.


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