This I Believe

Allie - Vail, Arizona
Entered on September 10, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

This I believe…

I believe in Peace for my religion. Peace, just like Christianity or Jainism, requires a faith and my faith is Ahimsa.

I have been struggling over my religion for several years. When I was younger, in elementary school, I remember being asked about religion several times, because none of the other kids had me in their Sunday school classes. I always felt the need to defend myself by saying that I believed in God but that I prayed at home. Only up until a few years ago did I really think about what I was saying; did I really believe in the same Christian God as most of my southern friends did? The answer came as a relieving “no.” At that point I was living in Japan. I was saturated in Eastern culture and quickly found a place among a few inviting concepts of Buddhism. I do not consistently practice Buddhism although it has opened a new world to me; a world of peace and acceptance. While I was living in Japan I became a vegetarian because I realized that I viewed eating meat as an act of violence towards a living, breathing creature, an act vividly against Ahimsa.

My faith in Ahimsa began on August 15 of this year. I had learned about the partition of India and had dedicated the day to non-violence, or Ahimsa. On the same day I learned more about the non-violence resistance movements of Gandhi, Satyagraha, and asked myself why I was only dedicating one day to peace. At that moment I vowed to learn how to be at peace with the world for one month, just to see if I could do it. Five minutes later I caught myself doing just the opposite. Every day so far has been a difficult challenge trying to discontinue “harboring uncharitable thoughts” and learning to love my so-called ‘enemies.’

“Ahimsa or non-injury, of course, implies non-killing. But, non-injury is not merely non-killing. In its comprehensive meaning, ahimsa or non-injury means entire abstinence from using any pain or harm to another living being, either by thought, word or deed. Non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth and hand.” Mahatma Gandhi has continually inspired me through his actions and words leading me in the direction of a religion I hadn’t previously thought of; peace. This could be my toughest challenge yet, but with my faith in Ahimsa, the whole world could one day be at my feet.