On the ecological culture of Ahiṃsā

Kim, Chi-on / Research Professor

of Jin-Gak Buddhist Order

This paper treats on ahiṃsā(不殺生, non-violence) in Indian philosophy and Buddhism from a view of ecological culture. The crisis of ecological system of today originates from the human-oriented prejudice. As the countermeasure, the human-oriented view must be substituted for the ecological culture in basing the view of ecology-centered. Ahiṃsā and the prohibition of meat-eating can be the first step for settling ecological culture.

This research is an attempt to grasp its actual state to unravel the origin and formation of the ahiṃsā and the prohibition of meat-eating in Indian philosophy and Buddhism. This work shows that the motive forces of ahiṃsā are the fear of retribution, the sympathy of pain and great compassion. It has very important significance in Mahāyāna Buddhism that all living beings have the nature of Buddha. Taking life is the killing seed of the innate Buddhahood of living beings. Therefore, it is most difficult for killer to join Buddha’s way. That’s why we must not take life and meat-eating.

However, It must be practiced without remaining on religious commandments and doctrine in the form of hypocrisy. We must realize that we are beings who possess Buddha nature, the same as all living beings. Moreover, considering all living beings as innate and potential Buddha must be practiced.

Key Words

ecological culture, ahiṃsā, the prohibition of meat-eating, the fear of retribution, the sympathy of pain, the seed of the innate Buddhahood of great compassion.