Positive Non-Violence


Appendix: Canonical quotes in support of positive non-violence (11)

1 Non-violence and the vows

2 Non-violence and its causes

3 Killing is fearsome

4 Violence gives pain and misery

5 Sensitivity of vegetation

6 All creatures like life and pleasure

7 All creatures dislike pain


Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ |

  • Lāṭī saṁhitā, 2.1.

That is, – Non-violence is the supreme and the most important duty (dharma).

Dhammahiṁsāsamaṁ natthi |

  • Bhaktaparijñā, 91.

That is, – There is no duty (dharma) like non-violence; it is unique and incomparable.

Devatātithiprīyarthaṁ mantrauṣadhibhayāya ca |

Na hiṁsyāḥ prāṇinaḥ sarve ahiṁsā nāma tadvrataṁ |

  • Varāṅgacarita, 15.112.

That is, – One may not indulge in violence towards any creature even for pleasing the gods and the guests and not even on account of casting spells, medicine and fear. This is the vow of non-violence.

Trasahiṁsāparityāgalakṣaṇo’ṇuvratā’’haye |

  • Lāṭīsaṁhitā, 5-281.

That is, – The minor vow of non-violence is characterised by the renunciation of violence towards the moving creatures.

Comments – The householder cannot give up violence fully, therefore, it is for him that the minor vow of non-violence comprising giving up of deliberate violence towards the moving creatures has been prescribed. However, he, too, may not indulge in avoidable violence towards the immobile one-sensed creatures but only when it becomes unavoidable.


Pramattayogāt prāṇavyaropaṇaṁ hiṁsā |

  • Tattvārtha sūtra, 7.8.

That is – To deprive or to compromise the vitalities of the living beings due to negligence is violence.

Yatkiñcit saṁsāre śarīriṇāṁ, duḥkhaśokabhayabījaṁ |

Daurbhaāgyādi samastaṁ, taddhiṁsāsambhavaṁ jñeyaṁ |

  • Jñārṇava, 8.58.

That is, – In this world violence is the basic cause of misery, grief, fear and misfortune, etc.,.

Na haṇe pāṇiṇo pāṇe, bhayaverāo uvarae |

  • Uttarādhyayana, 6.7.

That is, – Those that have overcome fear and animosity do not indulge in violence towards any living beings.

Appege hiṁsisu me tti vā vahanti, Appege hiṁsanti me tti vā vahanti,

Appege hiṁsissanti me tti vā vahanti |

  • Ācārāṅga, 1.2.6.

Some indulge in violence thinking, ‘He hurt me’. Some indulge in violence thinking, ‘He hurts me’. Some indulge in violence thinking, ‘He will hurt me’.

Aṭṭhā haṇanti, aṇaṭṭhā haṇanti |

  • Praśnavyākaraṇa, 1.1.

That is, – Some kill on purpose, some kill without purpose.

Kuddhā haṇanti, luddhā haṇanti, muddhā haṇanti, |

  • Praśnavyākaraṇa, 1.1.

That is, – Some kill due to anger, some kill due to greed and some kill due to ignorance.

Sāyaṁgavesamāṇā parassa dukkhaṁ udīranti |

  • Ācārāṅga niryukti, 94.

That is, – Some inflict pain on others in the search of pleasure for themselves.


Pāṇavaho caṇḍo, ruddo, khuddo aṇāriyo, nindhiṇo, nisaṁso mahabbhayo |

  • Praśnavyākaraṇa, 1.1.

That is, – Violence (terminating, hurting or compromising the vitalities of living beings) is fierce, terrible, mean, ignoble, merciless, cruel and greatly frightening.

Pāṇavaho nāma esa niccaṁ Jiṇehiṁ bhaṇio ṇikkaluṇo |

  • Praśnavyākaraṇa, 1.1.3

That is, – The Lords Jina have termed the violent as merciless.


Se bemi –

Santie tasā pāṇā, tañjahā – aṇḍayā potayā jarāuyā rasayā saṁseimā samucchimā ubbhiyā uvavtāiyā |

Esa saṁsāre tti pavuccati |

mandassa aviyāṇao |

Ṇijjhāittā paḍilehittā pateyaṁ pariṇivvāṇaṁ |

Savvesiṁ ha pāṇāṇaṁ savvesiṁ bhūtāṇaṁ savvesiṁ jīvaṇaṁ savvesiṁ sattāṇaṁ assātaṁ apariṇivvāṇaṁ mahabbha-yaṁ dukkhaṁ tti bemi |

Tasanti pāṇā paviso disāsu ya |

Tattha tattha pāsa āturā paritāventi |

- Ācārāṅga,

I say that –

The moving creatures are these – Ones that are born from an egg, born with a skin-cover, born from womb, born from fermentation of liquids, born from sweat, born without conception, vegetation born from sprouts and creatures born through sudden manifestation. This is the world. This worldly transmigration is for the dull and the ignorant.

I say this after due thought and contemplation that everyone wants peace. Lack of peace and tranquility and lack of pleasure are fearsome and miserable for all creatures and for all living beings.

All these creatures feel miserable from all directions and in between and from all sides. Just see how the pleasure loving humans torment these creatures everywhere.

Comments – One can refrain from causing pain and misery to others only by feeling for their pain and misery. By such feelings alone can arise the feelings of mercy, kindness and sympathy and one can set about to mitigate their miseries. Thus, there is a need to feel for others.

Na ya pāṇavahaṁ aṇujāṇe, muccejja kayāi savvadukkhāṇaṁ |

Eyāriehiṁ akkhāyaṁ, jehiṁ imo sāhudhammo pannatto |

  • Uttarādhyayana, 8.8

That is, – Anyone that approves of violence or of terminating, hurting or compromising the vitalities of living beings can never liberate from all his miseries. This kind of Śramaṇa dharma has been propounded by the noble sages.


Se bemi –

Imaṁ pi jātidhammayaṁ, eyaṁ pi jātidhammayaṁ

Imaṁ pi vuḍḍhidhammayaṁ, eyaṁ pi vuḍḍhidhammayaṁ

Imaṁ pi cittamantayaṁ, eyaṁ pi cittamantayaṁ

Imaṁ pi chiṇṇaṁ milāti, eyaṁ pi chiṇṇaṁ milāti

Imaṁ pi āhāragaṁ, eyaṁ pi āhāragaṁ

Imaṁ pi aṇitiyaṁ, eyaṁ pi aṇitiyaṁ

Imaṁ pi asāsayaṁ, eyaṁ pi asāsayaṁ

Imaṁ pi cayovacaiyaṁ, eyaṁ pi cayovacaiyaṁ

Imaṁ pi vippariṇāmadhammayaṁ, eyaṁ pi vippariṇāma-dhammayaṁ – Ācārāṅga Cayanikā, Aph. 12.

(Comparing the human and vegetational lives) I say that –

  • These (humans) are also prone to be born, they (Vegetational creatures) are also prone to be born;

  • These are also prone to grow, they are also prone to grow;

  • These also have consciousness, they also have consciousness;

  • These also become sad when cut, they also become sad when cut;

  • These also need food to eat, they also need food to eat;

  • These are also prone to perish, they are also prone to perish;

  • These are also prone to be transient, they are also prone to be transient;

  • These are also prone to growth and decay, they are also prone to growth and decay;

  • These are also prone to change with time, they are also prone to change with time.

Comments – By comparing the human life and the vegetational life, the Lord has shaken our consciousness. He let us know that as human beings we must not consider the rest of the living world as meant for our enjoyment only. We must realise that they too are as endowed with consciousness as we ourselves are, and that we must refrain from being violent towards them. With various reasonings the Lord has tried to explain to us the equivalence between the two forms of life. These observations by the Lords, made more than two and a half millenniums ago have been proved true by the modern scientific research. Here, the message of the Lord is loud and clear – whereas the ordained ascetics are bound by their vows to refrain from any kind of violence – physically, mentally and verbally as well as by themselves, through others and by approval – towards these lesser forms of life, the householders must also be careful when dealing with this form of life and be minimally violent towards them and that, too, of necessity. This minimalism will be possible only by realising the pain that they too suffer when subjected to violence. On understanding the consciousness of the vegetational life, we must also realise that fire, air, water and earth also possess similar consciousnesses and that as far as possible we must be non-violent towards them also.


Savve pāṇā piāuyā, suhasāyā dukkhapaḍikūlā, appiyavahā piyajīviṇo, jīviukāmā | Savvesiṁ jīviyaṁ piyaṁ nāivāejja kañcaṇa |

  • Ācārāṅga, 1.2.3

That is, – All living beings love their lives, all like pleasure and dislike pain, they do not like to be killed or hurt and like life, and desire to live on; all creatures love life on all accounts. Therefore, no creature should be hurt or killed.

Savve jīva vi icchanti, jīviuṁ na marijjiuṁ |

Tamhā pāṇivahaṁ ghoraṁ, nigganthā vajjayanti ṇaṁ |

  • Daśavaikālika, 6.11

That is, – All living beings desire to live on, none wishes to die. Therefore, all knotless-detached monks forsake terrible violence towards all living beings.

Ajjhatthaṁ savvao savvaṁ, dissa pāṇe piyāue |

Na haṇe pāṇiṇo pāṇe, bhayaverāo uvarae |

  • Uttarādhyayana, 6.7

That is, – Considering the innermost desires of all living beings and looking at their love for life, one must give up all kinds of fear and animosities and not hurt or compromise any of their vitalities.


Savvesiṁ pāṇāṇaṁ savvesiṁ bhūtāṇaṁ savvesiṁ jīvāṇaṁ savvesiṁ sattāṇaṁ asāyaṁ apariṇivvāṇaṁ mahabbhayaṁ dukkhaṁ tti |

Tti bemi |

  • Ācārāṅga,

That is, – Lack of peace and tranquility and lack of pleasure are fearsome and miserable for all creatures and all living beings. I say so.

Comments – This emphasis on the liking for pleasure and dislike for pain by all living beings gives us the message that all living beings are equal and we must never torment them.

Savve akantadukkhā ya, ato savve na hiṁsayā |

  • Sūtrakṛtāṅga, 1.11.9.

That is, – All living beings dislike pain, therefore, (we) must never be violent towards them.

Continued …

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