The One Commandment

Vardhamana MahaviraThere are perhaps as many as 20 million Jains in the world. This is roughly twice as many adherents to Jainism as to Judaism—especially when you consider that a lot of “Jews” follow Judaism as much as I follow Catholicism. And Jainism is a hard road to brush. (Note: Jain joke!) But a beautiful one.

One of the greatest teachers of Jainism is Vardhamana Mahavira. More than that really. If you think of Christianity, Mahavira is at least Paul, if not Jesus himself.

Jainism, like all religions, has many wacky rituals and beliefs. This isn’t a bad thing; nerds have similar rituals and beliefs like debates about whether Kirk or Picard is the better starship captain. What’s most important is the core belief a religion. And for the Jains it is nonviolence.[1]

Here is a quotation from Vardhamana Mahavira:

All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.

Just imagine if our society were built on this rather than, say, the Ten (or so) Commandments! Not that I’m suggesting that you should covet thy neighbor’s house. Or wife. Or manservant. Or maidservant. Or ox. Or ass. (Not the ass!) Or any of that jerk’s stuff.

[1] I have no idea what it is for the nerds. Rationality, perhaps? It’s hard to say. Certainly not nonviolence. Being a wimp is not the same as being nonviolent. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide. Perhaps it is 42.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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