Ahimsa and its role in overcoming the 'ego': From ancient indic traditions to the thought and practice of mahatma Gandhi

Ahimsa is an ancient concept that began in India about 3600 years ago. The roots of ahimsa are found in the Vedas, i.e., the sacred scriptures of the Hindu tradition. However, the concept spread to Jainis and then to Buddhism. It culminated in the thought and practice of Mahatma Gandhi. For Gandhi, the basic meaning of ahimsa was no harm to any living being by thought, word or deed and the greatest love (compassion) for all creatures. Given Gandhi's belief in and practice of ahimsa, one is able to achieve the 'softening the boundaries of the self'. This softening is necessary if one is to overcome the ego which is formed by the tight boundaries.
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