From proclaiming the equality of all life forms to the stringent emphasis placed upon nonviolent behavior (ahimsa
), and once more to the pronounced intention for limiting one’s possessions (aparigraha
), Jainism has often been pointed to for its admirably ecofriendly example. Incorporating some of this eco-friendliness into its design for ethical vow taking, the Jain-inspired Anuvrat Movement, founded in 1949 by Acharya Sri Tulsi, today offers some arguably vital relevance for the urgent modern task to live eco-consciously. While such relevance includes, most explicitly, Anuvrat’s final vow (vow eleven) which calls for practitioners to “refrain from such acts as are likely to cause pollution and harm the environment,” and to avoid the “cutting down of trees” and the “wasting of water,”1
it also includes several of Anuvrat’s other vows as well, which carry significance on a more implicit level. Hence, presenting some of the basic history and philosophy behind Anuvrat, this article also analyzes its potential for ensuring ethical (and eco-conscious) behavior via its hallmark mechanism of vow restriction—a modality of arguably potent strategic and motivational value. Altogether, while first providing a brief inventory of Jain ecological practice in general, the article will then turn its attention to Anuvrat, arguing that when it comes to the modern eco-conscious imperative to “live simply so that others may simply live” (as the popular adage has it), there is indeed much that Anuvrat has to offer.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited