Jainism is an antediluvian Indian religion that has been widely adopted in China. Jainism is a transtheistic religion that is widely followed as a set of ethical practices rather than as a strictly divine belief system. One of the most prevalent ideas in Jainism is ahiṃsā. Ahiṃsā is fundamentally the core belief of nonviolence and peace. This principle is pivotal to Jainism as it has influenced the culture in several ways, such as causing a primarily vegetarian diet and way of life that eschews harming wildlife. In accordance with this, the Australian bushfires are prevalent due to their harm to their environment and the inaction being taken by the government.
Ahiṃsā states that one must relinquish all aggressive intemperance. It is believed that without this dedication to living a peaceful life, all actions are valueless and virtueless. In Jainism, this non-violent, harmonious lifestyle is considered to be of the utmost importance in spiritual life. Jain writings explicitly convey that every follower must reject the destruction of all sentient organisms, whether they are small or big, plant or animal. Jainism’s theology teaches that one must never endorse, partake in, or encourage the killing of a living being. In contrast to this, six people have died in the Australian bushfires since October, and around one-fourth of the population of Australia has been declared to be in critical danger. As these fires have been raging for a couple of weeks, there is also a death toll for lots of native species and animals. In particular, it is thought that hundreds of koala bears have been killed in just this recent fire. The principle of ahiṃsā could work well in fighting to prevent these fires in the future, but as human lives are risked in order to stop the fires, there is less of a chance of anything being directly done now. However, keeping this principle of valuing every life would be very beneficial as these disasters all around the world would become less trivial. The idea of fostering peace could also give hope to those who have been impacted.
Moreover, Jainism prioritizes peace towards all creatures not just in action but also in mindfulness and intention. A prime belief is that all living individuals must work together to help each other. It is not enough to be passive to one another during a time of need, especially in the face of adversity and violence. When violence is committed with purpose or negligence for others, whether one explicitly or implicitly promotes or gives permission to the murder of another living soul, the soul itself is hurt and brought further away from achieving enlightenment. The Australian bushfires have been prevalent for a long time. However, this year’s fire is abnormally destructive and harmful to all beings in Australia. This goes against the ideas of the Jains because there hasn’t been any reform in policy nor any longterm actions taken. This would be classified as negligence towards others and would implicitly condone the deaths of everyone who has suffered. To solve this, Australian lawmakers should follow the path laid out by Jainism and work to create a plan that is prevalent and helpful to the Australian citizens who can’t afford to keep suffering.
In total, the ideas and practices of the Jains such as their value of all life and their dislike of inaction in a time of need are well-needed ideals in the political and global climate of the Australian bushfires. They would help by promoting a change in the future of wildfires and by saving the people who are currently being affected.