As I have tripped over Gus or trodden on his paws or tail I have begun to slow my pace, adopting a sort of shuffling gait around the house. This is essential when small, fast moving animals are in the vicinity. I was shambling from cupboard to work top yesterday when I flippantly remarked that I should join the Poor Jains.
I have always referred to them as Poor Jains – maybe I was mixing them up with the Franciscan order of Poor Clares.
The Jains have always impressed me with their respect for all forms of life. I understood that they walked slowly and carefully in order not to harm any living creature, however small or insignificant. I thought they would not scratch an itch for fear of destroying life. Beyond that I knew very little so I researched . . .
Traditionally Jains are vegetarian and the strictest adherents will not eat root vegetables because pulling the root from the earth kills the plant and they believe that all living things have a soul.
Jains believe in reincarnation, aspiring to a release from the cycle of birth and death into a perpetual state of bliss for the soul. This is achieved by ridding the soul of all karma – in effect denying or resisting influences which affect purity of thought, word and deed.