Today’s world is an improvement from that of the past; however, the one aspect lacking is peace. Without peace, the world is an aggressive place where people have little or no respect for one another. The solution to this is the practice of nonviolence. Through this practice, society will have the ability to learn the importance of peacefulness and the value of their peers. As a result, society should learn the value of Ahimsa through the actions of Thich Nhat Hanh to understand its significance in today’s world.
Ahimsa is a concept, which many consider important to the Hindu religion. The idea of ahimsa is to refrain from violence. Hindus perform this act “not only to humankind but also to the animal world,” (Brown, 25). The cow, for example, holds a place of holiness and inviolability; therefore, it receives special protection. The idea of ahimsa eliminates abuse and simple hurt and replaces it with compassion towards all living creatures. According to Hindus, all living creatures have a destiny in which they must fulfill.
Killing a living creature interferes with its destiny and spiritual progression. Hindus believe “the act of killing is therefore a bad karma with unhappy consequences for those who indulge it,” (V, 2). Hindus believe the act of killing accompanies terrible consequences. They believe killing another living creature will bring them bad karma. This encourages the concept of nonviolence in the Hindu religion. Consequently, the ethical notion of ahimsa is beneficial to society as it expresses both compassionate behaviour and good karma.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a terrific Buddhist who strongly values the idea of ahimsa. He has used it throughout many parts of his life. Thich Nhat Hanh supports a movement recognized as engaged Buddhism, which united traditional meditation with civil disobedience. Furthermore, he founded peace magazine, and encouraged world leaders to use nonviolence as a tool to achieve peace. Hanh’s hard work to promote peace resulted in conflict resolution of the Vietnam problems. Moreover, Thich Nhat Hanh founded the School of Youth for Social Services in the 60’s.
This foundation helped set up schools and medical centers, assisted families resettle, and lastly organized agricultural cooperatives. The School of Youth for Social Services encouraged ahimsa as they “based [their] work on the Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassionate action,” . Due to the tremendous hard work of the school to reduce violence, they were successful in helping people refuse to accept violence in modern society. This is the reason why Thich Nhat Hanh put a great deal various efforts to promote ahimsa.
Thich Nhat Hanh is an ideal role model which humanity should have a high regard for and admire to consequently practice the same concept of nonviolence behavior which he influenced many to practice. Violence is present in today’s society through genocide and wars. Genocide is a deliberate slaughter of a national, racial, political or cultural group. This form of injustice still occurs in various countries today. It is most common in Darfur, Sudan where genocide “has claimed 400,000 lives and displaced more than 2,500,000 people,” (Darfur, 2).
This form of violence and injustice remains in today’s world as the government disregards the problems. If the government chose to practice the idea of ahimsa, the cruelty and unfairness would replace itself with peace and respect. In addition to the issue of genocide, the war in Iraq is another example of violence and injustice in today’s civilization. This war began in March of 2003 and is still taking place today. The war has taken many lives and scarred many others when they think about this painful war. In September of 2004, “the death toll for U. S soldiers in Iraq passed 1, 000”.