The Role of Harmlessness in Spiritual Activism ~ Author Archive: hhteam

The principal the Harmlessness is very close to the Hindu concept of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a religious-ethical principle adopted presently in Hinduism, but widely accepted by Jainism and Buddhism. Ahimsa is the constant rejection of violence and absolute respect for all life: non-violence is inspired by universal love.

Ahimsa is therefore a waiver of any intention to kill or injury, to input suffering to another by cause of violence. Ahimsa is the opposite of selfishness, hence is absolute love, purity and straight action. Ahimsa is nonviolence in thought, word and deeds. Ahimsa can be expressed by the respect for the ideas of others, or respect for all religions, schools of thoughts, sects, organizations, and the respect for other’s spiritual sovereignty and freedom to live their lives.

But, through the observation of these two concepts, one has to query, when is it correct to interfere in someone’s else life in order to help them, meaning when is it righteously our deed to do, and when it can only aggravate the karmic load of the other, stealing the opportunity of the karmic learning experience? But how one distinguishes the limits of these situations and not incur in a personal karmic overload when just genuinely trying to help?

Harmlessness is a view that does not limit itself through the general intention of “not harm”, to vow itself to adhere be a code of non-violence, but also means to not accept any fruits of violence, meaning not engaging in commercial activities that cause direct or indirect suffering to other sentient beings, either actuality using diamonds from Congo, for example, or either accepting animal-based food, that causes suffering and death of innocent lives. To embody true harmlessness, one has to be rid of everything that can maculate its purity principles. Harmlessness or ahimsa also rejects violent principals as entertainment, such as allowing oneself to accept the banalization that violent movies bring to our immediate reality. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, regards the acceptance of the trivialization of violence as passive evil and warns us that prolonged exposure to viciousness can damage the core of our soul.

But harmlessness has also to be practiced in our normal daily interaction with others. In these occasions, we do not tend to keep mindful of our opinions, judgments or thoughts and its repercussions on other’s lives. If we create an impact as a result of our actions in someone’s life that is adverse, the negative effect will also weight on us. Even if the action or thought were motivated by good intentions, but the end result end up being undesirable, we still altered a path and somewhat overruled the weaving of the circumstances: hence the old adage, “The way to hell is paved with good intentions”.

A spiritual activist, or world server, should keep in mind one’s own responsibilities and limitations with the same vivacity they should also consider other’s sovereignty. In no circumstances should one forget the limitation on acting upon other’s problems and challenges. By no means judge this article as an apologetic essay on Non-action, but just the opposite, we promote action with consciousness, with awareness. To exemplify this, remember how one of the precepts of the Healing Code of Ethics: the energetic healer is allowed to take the pain, but never overrule or take away the lesson which is manifested through the painful situation.

A true spiritual activist differs greatly from an individual that professes to be a simply a humanitarian per se. The difference mainly resides not in the actions that both may come to perform, but in the underlining intent that engenders the call for action. Both may assist the emergency needs of others, but only the Spiritual Activist will act with the purpose to empower the helped being to take charge on his situation and create change in his life; therefore keeping him aligned with the purpose of his soul and not affecting his karmic contracts. Spiritually, the intention is to bring a hand up, not a hand out. Ideally, spiritual activists can be seen as facilitator of life transforming experiences. To illustrate this thought, we share the Sufi tale of the Seventeen Camels.

The Seventeen Camels

Once upon a time that was a compassionate and wise merchant that owned seventeen camels. Despite of his good relations to many prominent members of his town, the camels were all his had as his prized possession. When he died he left behind three sons.

In his will, he wrote expressed orders that his valuable property should be divided as follows:

He bestowed 1/2 of his property to his eldest son, 1/3 of his property to his second son and 1/9 of his property to his youngest son.

The sons were in a predicament wondering how to divide seventeen camels into one-half, one-third and one-ninth parts. They decided to visit another merchant, a very successful business man to ask for his interpretation on their dilemma. The man looked at the will and said that he was sure the father meant camel meat instead of the camels themselves. He suggested them to slaughter the camels and divide the meat among themselves. They were not satisfied by his answer.

They continue to ponder and then they decided to visit yet another of their father’s friend. The young man, also a merchant, suggested them to sale the camels and to share among themselves the sum of money from the sale. The three sons were not content with his answer either and decided to leave.

Feeling that they were running out of options, they decided to visit an old holy wise man said to live outside of the city walls, to ask for his insight and advice.

The old sage patiently heard the story with half of his eyes closed. After they finished, the old man finally spoke:

“I am on old man; I only have one possession which is my own camel. Even needing it for my daily activities, I will gladly give it to the three of you. “

“Add my camel to yours and now how many camels do you have?”

“Eighteen camels,” they all said.

“Good,” the Wise Man said.

He looked at the eldest son and said, “Your share is half the total camels – half of eighteen works out to be nine – so take your nine camels and go.”

Then he looked at the second son, “Your share is one third the total camels – one third of eighteen works out to be six – so take your six camels.”

Finally he looked at the youngest son, “Your share is one ninth the total camels – one ninth of eighteen works out to be two – so take your two camels.”

When finally the youngest son took his share of two camels, the old wise man asked the three of them at the same time. “Now that you all resolve this problem without dishonoring the will of your late father, I will ask you a favor. One camel was left behind, I am old and weak, may I take the last camel that happens to be the one I gifted you. The three sons agreed gladly and gave the wise man his camel.

The Wise Man took his camel, having successfully divided the seventeen camels amongst the three sons as per the share decreed in their father’s will, diverting what could have been a pit of karmic resentment among the brothers.

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