Jainism and Ecology

Christopher Key Chapple

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Jainism and Ecology

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This article examines the Jaina faith in light of its commitment to environmental values. After providing an overview of Jaina history and principles, it discusses contemporary Jain environmentalism, concentration on the elements and senses as vehicle for ecoawareness, and water in Jainism. This article also includes the author's reflections on his own practice of the Jain principles as interpreted through the tradition of classical yoga. At the time of its inception and until recent decades, the protection of ecology and environment did not play a significant role in the Jain way of life beyond a care to minimize any harm that one might inflict on others that would harm one's own soul. In contemporary times, Jainism has been reinterpreted as enhancing human-earth relations. The precepts of Jainism, particularly non-violence and non-possession, generally associated in their most rigorous forms with monastic men and women, have now been refigured and recast in an ecological mold.

Keywords: Jainism; ecology; environmentalism; water; ecoawareness; classical yoga; violence; possession

Article.  5502 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Jainism

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