I’m seeking out a new route in life and it’s gonna be tough. Ahimsa, the principle tenet of Jainsim regarding non-violence, says that the path to mastering it is to eliminate all thoughts of ego, anger, hatred & jealousy. That’s a pretty tall order considering those very negative emotions have plagued me for years. Hatred exists because I have never forgiven my father for abusing me and my mother for not supporting my gayness. Hatred also exists when people insult me, beat me up, discriminate against me and try to make me look stupid. Ego comes about when I’m trying to get attention for the things I’ve done like writing books and producing albums. Ego comes about when I worked double shifts as a nurse and tried to impress people with the fancy restaurants I ate in. Anger arises when I see innocent people being abused and I can do nothing about it but shout at the top of my lungs. Anger arises when I don’t get my way and it feels like I’m gonna burst into flames until I calm down. Jealousy is when I see a good looking guy and think, “Wow. That guy has nice hair or a beautiful skin colour and I wish that was me.” Jealousy pops up its ugly rear end when I see shiny new BMW’s and Mercedes Benzes on the road. Jealousy plagues me when I notice others with their kids, houses in the suburbs, dogs, sailboats and passes to resort islands. I don’t know if meditation alone can strip me of these unnecessary evils. I’ve been taking a deep look at aparigraha, the principles of non-attachment and owning nothing, for achieving that goal. They say that the key to conquering fear is to face it head on. I wonder if I’d have to purposefully place myself in situations that would wring the four aforementioned emotions from my psych. That should be interesting. For jealousy : go up to a mall, watch the families walking by, and try not to covet what they have. For anger: walk on the same side of the street when a man with pitbulls strolls up and tolerate it. For hatred: go to places where homophobes are trying to bring down the wrath of heaven on gay people or racists are insulting minorities and tolerate it. For ego: personally remind people that I want no compliments for the things I do and volunteer for work where the only reward is the use of my time. I don’t expect to achieve these ideals. Mahavira and the Jain monks have, though. I think if I can at least get halfway to those goals it’ll be a thrust in the right direction. I still have a hard time remembering the various mantras of Jainism because they’re in Sanskrit or Gujarati. I can begin with this simplification, though: instead of anger, forgiveness; instead of hatred, love; instead of ego, humility; instead of jealousy, contentedness.
The above symbol might need some explanation for those who don’t understand it. The three dots at the top represent the three pillars of Jainism – Right Faith, Right Knowledge, Right Conduct. The swastika is in reference to the four types of people that practice Jainism – Laymen, Laywomen, Monks & Nuns. The wheel on the bottom is a symbol of how the world has no beginning and no end. There are 24 spokes in the wheel, a representation of the 24 Thirtankars, or prophets, that mark each age of Jainism. The thirtanker, or ford maker, of this millennium is Mahavira. The four arms of the swastika represent the four destinies of life -demon, animal, human or divine. The dot and semi-circle on the top of the symbol represents the realm that those who have achieved moksha, or liberation, reside in. The hand stays stop and observe before acting so you don’t fall into the trap of exhibiting ego, anger, hatred or jealousy. In this way you observe the practice of ahimsa non-violence. The Sanskrit writing on the bottom means “Live and let live.”