Positive Non-Violence


Appendix: Canonical quotes in support of positive non-violence (2)

1 Protecting the living is also dharma

2 Monk: epitome of kindness and compassion

3 Fearlessness


Jīvāṇaṁ rakkhaṇaṁ dhammo |

  • Kārtikeyānuprekṣā, 478.

That is, – To protect the living beings is dharma.

Tāio pariṇivvuḍe |

- Daśavaikālika sūtra, 3.15.

That is, – One who protects others gets liberated.

Tannāsti jīvaloke Jinendra-Devendra-Cakrakalyāṇaṁ |

Yatprāpnuvanti manujā na jīva rkṣānurāgeṇa |

  • Jñānārṇava, 8.57.

That is – There are no states like the ones of Jinendra (Lord Jina), Devendra (the king of heavenly gods) or Cakravartī (the king emperor) that the merciful cannot gain as a result of protecting the living.

Prāṇīndriyeṣvaśubhapravṛtairviratiḥ saṁyamaḥ |

Prāṇiṣvekendriyādiṣu cakṣurādiṣvindriyeṣu ca

aśubha-pravṛtterviratiḥ saṁyama iti niścīyate |

- Tattvārthavārtika, 6.12.6.

That is, – Refraining from inauspicious activities in respect of the living and the senses is restraint. Refraining from inauspicious activities in respect of one-sensed living beings and senses such as eyes, etc., is absolute restraint.

Jantukṛpārdritamanasaḥ samitiṣu sādhoḥ pravṛttamānasya |

Prāṇendriyaparihāraṁ saṁyamamāhurmahāmunayaḥ |

  • Padmanandī Pañcaviṁśatikā, 1-96.

That is, – The comported dispositions of the monks whose hearts melt with mercy for the living beings is called restraint by the great monks. This restraint results in getting away from violence towards the living and attraction for the sensory subjects

Tatra saṁyamaḥ prāṇidayā |

Prāṇātipātanivṛtirupaḥ saṁyamaḥ |

  • Yogaśāstra Svopajña Viva., 4-93.

That is, – Where there is mercy for the living, there is restraint there. Restraint is in the form of refraining from hurting or compromising the vital energies of the living.

Uḍḍhaṁ ahe ya tiriyaṁ disāsu,

tasā ya je thāvara je ya pāṇā |

Hatthehi pāṇeh ya sañjametā,

adiṇṇamannesu ya no gahejjā |

  • Sūtrakṛtāṅga, 1.10.2.

That is – (The monk) ought to restrain his hands and feet so that he does not hurt any immovable or moving creatures in upper, lower or middle universe and he ought not to accept anything that is not offered to him.

Ṇigganthe ṇigganthiṁ duggaṁsi vā, visamaṁsi vā,

pakkhalamāṇiṁ vā pavaḍamāṇiṁ vā,

giṇhamāṇe vā, avalambamāṇe vā, ṇātikkamati |

Ṇigganthe ṇigganthiṁ seyaṁsi vā, paṅgaṁsi vā,

paṅkasi vā, udagaṁsi vā, uvujjamāṇiṁ vā,

giṇhamāṇe vā, avalambamāṇe vā, ṇātikkamati |

Ṇigganthe ṇigganthiṁ ṇāvaṁ āruhamāṇiṁ vā, orohamāṇiṁ vā,

giṇhamāṇe vā, avalambamāṇe vā, ṇātikkamati |

  • Sthānāṅga sūtra, 5.2.

That is, – A monk who supports or holds a nun who slips or falls in a slippery or a difficult place does not flout the dictates of Lords Jina.

A monk who supports or holds a nun who is stuck in muddy place and drowning in water does not flout the dictates of Lords Jina.

A monk who supports or holds a nun who is climbing in or climbing out of a boat does not flout the dictates of Lords Jina.

Comments – The exceptions mentioned in the Sthānāṅga sūtra indicate that to save the life of a nun in difficulty or danger is more important than the flaw of touching her. It is so because the monk so saving her life is motivated by the feeling of saving a life rather than by his lust for touching her. Therefore, it is an acceptable exception in the monastic conduct. When even the monks have been permitted to save lives in such cases, there is no difficulty in saving lives for the householders. Such exceptions in respect of monks and nuns are also mentioned in other scriptures such as Kalpa sūtra, Vyavahāra sūtra, etc.,.

Ṇigganthassa ya acchiṁsi pāṇe vā, bīye vā, rae vā, pariyāvajjejjā, taṁ ca nigganthe no sañcāei niharittae vā visohettae vā | Taṁ ca niggnthī nīharamāṇī vā visohemāṇī vā nāikkamai | – Kalpa sūtra Uddeśaka 6.

That is, – If any fine creature like a mosquito, etc., or a seed or a dust-speck falls in the eye of a monk and the monk is unable to take it out and a nun takes it out or helps him take it out, she does not flout the dictates of Lords Jina.

Comments – In this aphorism of the Kalpa sūtra it has been said that under exceptional circumstances the touching of a monk by a nun in order to help him out of his pain or misery has not been considered as a flaw. It proves that the aphorisms after aphorisms in the scriptures are full of instances in support of positive non-violence.

Chavvihā appamāyapaḍilehaṇā paṇṇattā, taṁjahā –

Aṇaccāvitaṁ avalitaṁ aṇāṇubandhiṁ amosalimṁ ceva |

Chapurimā ṇavakhoḍā, pāṇīpāṇavosohiṇī |

  • Sthānāṅga sūtra, sthāna 6.

That is, – Non-negligent inspection of clothes and other monastic equipage is said to be of six types, such as –

  1. Anartitā – To inspect the clothes without turning them round and round and without going about them round and round.

  2. Avalitā - To inspect the clothes without inclining own body or the clothes.

  3. Anānubandhī - To inspect the clothes without undue haste or without jerking them violently.

  4. Amosalī - To inspect the clothes without rubbing the upper and lower parts of the clothes.

  5. ¬aṭpūrvā-navakhoḍā – To inspect the clothes by spreading them wide and inspecting carefully and to shake then, gently three times from each side is said to be ṣaṭpūrvā inspection and to gently sweep them three times and to carefully inspect thrice each time is called navakhoḍā inspection.

  6. Prāṇiprāṇaviśodhini – To carefully take any creature noticed during such inspections on one’s hand to carefully put it in a safe place.

Comments – To inspect the clothes and other monastic equipage twice a day is regular monastic chore. The sixth category of careful inspection – Prāṇiprāṇaviśodhini – it has been prescribed that any even the finest creature that is noticed during such inspection is to be protected and put in a safe place. Had the act of protecting the living creatures been deplorable and abandonable, such prescriptions would not find a place in the sacred scriptures.


Dayaṁ logassa jāṇittā pāīṇaṁ paḍīṇaṁ dāhiṇaṁ udīṇaṁ āikkhe vibhae kiṭṭae vedavī |

- Ācārāṅga sūtra, 1.6.5.

That is, – A learned monk in the know of canonical knowledge must go about in all directions – East, West, South and North – with merciful, kind and compassionate disposition towards the living beings of the universe. He should also preach the faith in similar vein; explain it in finer details in parts and whole and demonstrate the precepts so preached with his own practice of proper, merciful and compassionate monastic conduct.

Savvehi bhūehi dayāṇukampī,

khantikkhame sañjayabambhayārī |

Sāvajjajoggaṁ parivajjayanto, carejja bhikkhū susamāhiindie |

  • Uttarādhyayana sūtra, 21.13.

That is, – The forgiving, patient, restrained and celibate monk, with his senses well under control, must be merciful and compassionate towards all living beings, he must tolerate harsh speech with forgiveness, he must be restrained and he must practice celibacy. He must always move about by avoiding any violence what-so-ever towards any living beings that he comes across.

Savvesiṁ jīvāṇa dayaṭṭhayāe, sāvajjadosaṁ parivajjayantā |

Tassaṅkiṇo isiṇo Nāyaputtā, uddiṭṭhabhattaṁ parivajjayanti |

  • Sūtrakṛtāṅga sūtra, 2.6.40.

That is, – The monk-disciples of Jñātaputra (Mahāvīra) that refrain from and fear, any violent acts and for being merciful towards all living beings, they give up all kinds of foods specially prepared for them.


Esā sā bhagavaī ahiṁsā jā sā bhīyāṇaṁ viva saraṇaṁ, pakkhīṇaṁ viva gamaṇaṁ, tisiyāṇaṁ viva salilaṁ, khuhiyāṇaṁ viva asaṇaṁ, samuddamajjhe va poyavahaṇaṁ, caupayāṇaṁ va āsamapayaṁ, duhaṭṭhiyāṇaṁ va osahibalaṁ, aḍavīmajjhe va satthagamaṇaṁ eso visiṭṭhatariyā ahiṁsā jā sā puḍhavī-jala-agaṇi-māruya-vaṇassai-bīya-hariya-jala-yara-thalayara-khahayara-tasa-thāvara savvabhūya-khemaṅkarī |

- Praśnavyākaraṇa sūtra, 2.1.3.

That is, – This goddess ahiṁsā (non-violence) is the shelter for the frightened creatures of the world; for the birds it is like flying in the sky; for the thirsty it is like water; for the hungry it is like food; for the drowning it is like a ship; for the animals it is like their stables; for the sick it is like medicine; for those traveling through dense forests it is like moving with a caravan. Goddess ahiṁsā is more special than all these. It protects even the finest of the fine creatures of the earth-bodied, the water-bodied, the fire-bodied, the air-bodied and the vegetation-bodied creatures, it also protects the seed-borne creatures, the greenery-borne creatures, the water-borne life, the air-borne life and the earthly living beings of the immovable and the moving categories.

Comments – The fact that non-violence delivers all creatures from fear and provides them an assurance of protection can be discerned and appreciated from the abovementioned aphorism from the Praśnavyākaraṇa sūtra.

Abhao patthivā tujjhaṁ abhayadāyā bhavāhi ya |

Aṇicce jīvalogammi, kiṁ hiṁsāe pasajjasi? |

  • Uttarādhyayana sūtra, 18.11.

That is, – O king! I free you from fear and you, too, must provide freedom from fear to the others. What use is being violent in this ineternal world of the living?

Comments – In the eighteenth chapter of the Uttarādhyayana sūtra, we come across the story of the hunting expedition of king Saṁyatī. When the king wanted to shoot the arrows at the deer, they came and sought shelter at the feet of a meditating monk. The king was so intent on shooting the arrows at the deer that he did not notice the monk and shot the deer under his protection. When eventually he noticed the monk he was very frightened that the monk may curse him and he started to apologise for his trespass. The monk said that the king needed not to fear him, but he ought also to provide freedom from fear to other creatures that he came across. And he urged him to be compassionate towards all living beings in this world in which life was transient.

Dāṇāṇaseṭṭhaṁ abhayappayāṇaṁ |

  • Sūtrakṛtāṅga sūtra, 1.6.23.

That is, – Out of all forms of charity the gift of freedom from fear for life is the best.

Abhayaṁ yaccha bhūteṣu, kuru maitrīmaninditāṁ |

Paśyātmasadṛśaṁ viśvaṁ, jīvalokaṁ carācaraṁ |

  • Jñānārṇava, 8.52.

That is – O good man! Provide the gift of freedom from fear to all living beings; be an unreproachable friend to them; see all the immovable and the moving living beings of the entire world as you see yourself.

Kiṁ na taptaṁ tapastena kiṁ na dattaṁ mahātmanā |

Vitīrṇamabhayaṁ yena prītimālambhya dehināṁ |

  • Jñānārṇava, 8.54.

That is, – Which charity has not been given and which penance has not been done by the great man who, out of love for them, has given the gift of freedom from fear of life to the living beings?

Continued …

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