“All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt. What harm can you do?” Buddha
Today, November 2, would have been Jay Dinshah’s 83rd birthday. If you haven’t heard the name, Jay became a vegan advocate embracing the concept of dynamic harmlessness after touring a slaughterhouse in 1957. Subsequently in 1960, he founded the American Vegan Society (AVS). Unfortunately Jay passed away in 2000; however, his tireless dedication and commitment to educating people about the practice of nonviolence and the benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle are no less mirrored by his wife, Freya Dinshah, as the Executive Director of AVS, and his daughter, Anne Dinshah.
So, what exactly is dynamic harmlessness?
It is based in the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist tenet of Ahimsa, which is Sanskrit and reflects the practice of nonviolence. It has come to mean doing the most good and the least harm. In modern times, Mahatma Gandhi embraced these values when he successfully engendered the Indian people to campaign for independence from British rule through non-violent practices and peaceful disobedience.
The American Vegan Society* defines the AHIMSA in a way that absolutely resonates with me:
A – ABSTINENCE from Animal Products
H – HARMLESSNESS with Reverence for Life
I – INTEGRITY of Thought, Word, and Deed
M – MASTERY over Oneself
S – SERVICE to Humanity, Nature, and Creation
A – ADVANCEMENT of Understanding and Truth
*If you aren’t already a member of AVS, I would highly recommend doing so. For more information about AVS and membership, go to their website www.americanvegan.org. Their benefits are many, but the highlights, as least in my opinion, include an amazing magazine, “American Vegan” but also 20% discount on all books with free shipping. They also have a Speakers Bureau, which includes most of the luminaries in the vegan community. Throughout the USA, AVS has contact points, individuals who are members and vegan advocates, that are local to their area and one-the-ground resources regarding anything vegan.