The Nazarene Way of Essenic Studies
The Sanctity of Nature and Reverence for All Life
 The doctrine of refraining from harming any living thing

All religions prescribe an ethic proper to the sanctity of nature and reverence for all life. All living things are God's sacred creations, each endowed with spirit, and each with its own purpose and end. Reverence for life begins with the recognition that man is but one of many species of living beings which share and inhabit this world.

The first principle of ahimsa is the doctrine of refraining from harming any living thing. Vegetarianism is also motivated by this ethic. It is through this understanding that the intent of dominion is realized as proper stewardship, and that the natural world has been created for all life as a means for the spirit to experience the diversity of the physical.

All are under heaven. Regard heaven as your father, earth as your mother, and all things as your brothers and sisters.

Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Atsuta

The mode of living which is founded upon a total harmlessness towards all living creatures is of the highest morality.

Hinduism. Mahabharata, Shantiparva

One should not injure, subjugate, enslave, torture, or kill any animal, living being, organism, or sentient being. This doctrine of nonviolence is immaculate, immutable, and eternal. Just as suffering is painful to you, in the same way it is painful, disquieting, and terrifying to all animals, living beings, organisms, and sentient beings.

Jainism. Acarangasutra

A horse or a cow has four feet. That is Nature. Put a halter around
the horse's head and put a ring through the cow's nose, that is man.
Let man not destroy Nature. Let not
cleverness destroy the destiny of the natural order."

Taoism. Chuang Tzu

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, they who partake of benefits which are gotten by wronging one of God's creatures cannot be righteous: nor can they touch holy things, or teach the mysteries of the kingdom, whose hands are stained with blood, or whose mouths are defiled with flesh.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

According to Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of God said, "A man traveling along a road felt extremely thirsty and went down a well and drank. When he came up he saw a dog panting with thirst and licking the moist earth around the well. "This animal," the man said, "is suffering from thirst just as much as I was." So he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, and taking it in his teeth climbed out of the well and gave the water to the dog. God was pleased with his act and granted him pardon for his sins."

Islam. Hadith of Bukhari

If one is trying to practice meditation and is still eating meat, he would be like a man closing his ears and shouting loudly and then asserting that he heard nothing... Pure and earnest bhikshus, when walking a narrow path, will never so much as tread on the growing grass beside the path. How can a bhikshu, who hopes to become a deliverer of others, himself be living on the flesh of other sentient beings? Pure and earnest bhikshus will never wear clothing made of silk, nor wear boots made of leather for it involves the taking of life. Neither will they partake from milk or cheese for these are not intended for man.

Buddhism. Surangama Sutra

This is the quintessence of wisdom: not to kill anything. Know this to be the legitimate conclusion from the principle of reciprocity with regard to non-killing. He should cease to injure living beings whether they move or not, on high, below, and on earth. For this has been called the Nirvana, which consists in peace....

A true monk should not accept such food and drink as has been especially prepared for him involving the slaughter of living beings. He should not partake of a meal which contains but a particle of forbidden food: this is the Law of him who is rich in control. Whatever he suspects, he may not eat. A man who guards his soul and subdues his senses, should never assent to anybody killing living beings.

Jainism. Sutrakritanga

And all the creatures, which are under heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know and obey their Creator better than you. · And even the demons did not crucify Christ, but you together with them have crucified Him and even now you crucify (Him) by delighting in vices and sins.

Saint Francis of Assisi

A man should not breed a savage dog, nor place a shaking ladder in his house.

Judaism. Talmud, Ketubot

And none shall hurt or destroy in my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Holy One even as the waters cover the bed of the sea. And in that day I will make again a covenant with the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea and with all created things. And will break the bow and the sword and all the instruments of warfare will I banish from the earth, and will make them to lie down in safety, and to live without fear.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Psalm 24.1

Without doing injury to living beings, meat cannot be had anywhere; and the killing of living beings is not conducive to heaven; hence eating of meat should be avoided.

 Hinduism. Laws of Manu 5.48

May no living creatures, not even insects,
Be bound unto samsaric life; nay, not one of them;
But may I be empowered to save them all.

Buddhism. Milarepa

Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying, "Woe, woe is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?" And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying, "O Lord, wilt Thou not have compassion upon the earth?"

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pearl of Great Price, Moses

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 11.6-9

Buy captive animals and give them freedom.
How commendable is abstinence that dispenses with the butcher!
While walking be mindful of worms and ants.
Be cautious with fire and do not set mountain woods or forests ablaze.

Do not go into the mountain to catch birds in nets, nor to the water to
poison fishes and minnows.
Do not butcher the ox that plows your field.

Taoism. Tract of the Quiet Way

God's hand has touched even every small blade of grass which grows in the field.... All creatures we see contain God's deep heart and tell the story of God's deep love.

Unification Church. Sun Myung Moon

This earth is a garden,
The Lord its gardener,
Cherishing all, none neglected.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Mahj Ashtpadi

They in every nation who defile not themselves with cruelty, who do righteousness, love mercy, and reverence all the works of God, who give succour to all that are weak and oppressed—the same are the Israel of God.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

Even in a single leaf of a tree, or a tender blade of grass, the awe-inspiring Deity manifests Itself.

Shinto. Urabe-no-Kanekuni

The stream crosses the path, the path crosses the stream:
Which of them is the elder?
Did we not cut the path to go and meet this stream?
The stream had its origin long, long ago.
It had its origin in the Creator.
He created things pure, pure, tano.

African Traditional Religions. Ashanti Verse

Have you considered the soil you till?
Do you yourselves sow it, or are We the Sowers?
Did We will, We would make it broken orts, and you will remain bitterly
"We are debt-loaded;
nay, we have been robbed."

Have you considered the water you drink?
Did you send it down from the clouds, or did We send it?
Did We will, We would make it bitter; so why are you not thankful?

Have you considered the fire you kindle?
Did you make its timber to grow, or did We make it?
We Ourselves made it for a reminder,
and a boon to the desert-dwellers.

Islam. Qur'an 

Not by shedding innocent blood, therefore, but by living a righteous life, shall ye find the peace of God.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

No creature is there crawling on the earth,
no bird flying with its wings,
but they are nations like yourselves.
We have neglected nothing in the Book;
then to their Lord they shall be mustered.

Islam. Qur'an

I say, "Just as the consciousness of a man born without any sense organs [i.e., one who is blind, deaf, dumb, crippled, etc. from birth] is not manifest, likewise the consciousness of beings of earth-body [e.g., atoms, minerals] is also not manifest. Nevertheless such a man experiences pain when struck or cut by a weapon, and so also do the beings of earth-body. Likewise for water-beings... fire-beings... plants... animals... air beings: their consciousness and experiences of pain are [actual though] not manifest."

Jainism. Acarangasutra

Tao gave them birth;
The power of Tao reared them,
Shaped them according to their kinds,
Perfected them, giving to each its strength.
Therefore of the ten thousand things there is not one that does not
worship Tao and do homage to its power. Yet no mandate ever went forth
that accorded to Tao the right to be worshipped, nor to its power the
right to receive homage. It was always and of itself so.

Therefore as Tao bore them and the power of Tao reared them, made them
grow, fostered them, harbored them, brewed for them, so you must
Rear them, but do not lay claim to them;
Control them, but never lean upon them,
Be their steward, but do not manage them.
This is called the Mysterious Power.

Taoism. Tao Te Ching

Yea, I am in all creatures and all creatures are in me. In all their joys I rejoice, in all their afflictions I am afflicted. Wherefore I say unto you: Be ye kind one to another, and to all the creatures of God.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

Come back, O Tigers!, to the woods again,
and let it not be leveled with the plain.

For without you, the axe will lay it low.
You, without it, forever homeless go.

Buddhism. Khuddaka Patha

And whosoever careth for one of the least of these, and giveth it to eat and drink in its need, the same doeth it unto me, and whoso willingly suffereth one of these to be in want, and defendeth it not when evilly entreated, suffereth the evil as done unto me; for as ye have done in this life, so shall it be done unto you in the life to come.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

They gave the sacrifice to the East,
the East said, "Give it to the West,"
the West said, "Give it to God,"
God said, "Give it to Earth, for Earth is senior."

African Traditional Religions. Idoma Prayer

The solid sky, the cloudy sky, the good sky, the straight sky.
The earth produces herbs. The herbs cause us to live. They cause long
life. They cause us to be happy.
The good life, may it prevail with the air. May it increase. May it be
straight to the end.
Sweet Medicine's earth is good. Sweet Medicine's earth is completed.
Sweet Medicine's earth follows the eternal ways. Sweet
Medicine's earth is washed and flows.

Native American Religions. Cheyenne Song

Blessed are they who keep this law, for God is manifested in all creatures. All creatures live in God, and God is hid in them.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all My holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible

As a mother with her own life guards the life of her own child, let all- embracing thoughts for all that lives be thine.

Buddhism. Khuddaka Patha, Metta Sutta

Have benevolence towards all living beings.

Jainism. Tattvarthasutra 

The Exalted One was entering Savatthi when he saw some youths ill-treating a snake with a stick. Then he uttered these verses of uplift,

Whoso wreaks injury with a rod
On creatures fain for happiness,
When the self hereafter he seeks happiness,
Not his, it may be, happiness to win.

Buddhism. Udana 

At the openings of ant hills
Please have trustworthy men
Always put food and water,
Sugar and piles of grain.

Before and after taking food
Offer appropriate fare
To hungry ghosts, dogs,
Ants, birds, and so forth.

Buddhism. Nagarjuna, Precious Garland 

"He that is wise, wins souls" (Proverbs 11.30). The rabbis said, "This refers to Noah, for in the Ark he fed and sustained the animals with much care. He gave to each animal its special food, and fed each at its proper period, some in the daytime and some at night. Thus he gave chopped straw to the camel, barley to the ass, vine tendrils to the elephant, and glass to the ostrich. So for twelve months he did not sleep by night or day, because all the time he was busy feeding the animals."

Judaism. Midrash, Tanhuma, Noah 15a

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Genesis

Never does a Muslim plant trees or cultivate land, and birds or men or beasts eat out of them, but that is a charity on his behalf.

Islam. Hadith of Muslim

For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield; but in the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the wild beasts may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Exodus 

A certain priest had been killed by the bite of a snake, and when they announced the matter to the Blessed One, he said, "Surely now, O priests, that priest never suffused the four royal families of snakes with his friendliness. For if that priest had suffused the four royal families of the snakes with his friendliness, that priest would not have been killed by the bite of a snake....

Creatures without feet have my love,
And likewise those that have two feet,
And those that have four feet I love,
And those, too, that have many feet.

May those without feet harm me not,
And those with two feet cause no hurt;
May those with four feet harm me not,
Nor those who many feet possess.

Let creatures all, all things that live,
All beings of whatever kind,
See nothing that will bode them ill!
May naught of evil come to them!"

Buddhism. Vinaya Pitaka

I am come to end the sacrifices and feasts of blood, and if ye cease not offering and eating of flesh and blood, the wrath of God shall not cease from you.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

The cows have come and brought us good fortune,
may they stay in the stall and be pleased with us;
may they live here, mothers of calves, many-colored,
and yield milk for Indra on many dawns....

They are not lost, nor do robbers injure them, nor
the unfriendly frighten, nor wish to assail them;
the master of cattle lives together long
with these, and worships the gods and offers gifts.

The charger, whirling up dust, does not reach them,
they never take their way to the slaughtering stool,
the cows of the worshipping man roam about
over the widespread pastures, free from all danger.

To me the cows are Bhaga, they are Indra,
they [their milk] are a portion of the first-poured Soma.
These that are cows are Indra, O people!
the Indra I long for with heart and spirit.

Ye cows, you fatten the emaciated,
and you make the unlovely look beautiful,
make our house happy, you with pleasant lowings,
your power is glorified in our assemblies.

Hinduism. Rig Veda 

When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field men that they should be besieged by you?

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Deuteronomy 

The destruction of vegetable growth is an offense requiring expiation.

Buddhism. Pacittiya 

There is a type of man whose... aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief.

Islam. Qur'an 

Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai used to say, "If there be a plant in your hand when they say to you, 'Behold the Messiah!', go and plant the plant, and afterwards go out and greet him."

Judaism. Talmud

Rajah Koravya had a king banyan tree called Steadfast, and the shade of its widespread branches was cool and lovely. Its shelter broadened to twelve leagues.... None guarded its fruit, and none hurt another for its fruit. Now there came a man who ate his fill of fruit, broke down a branch, and went his way. Thought the spirit dwelling in that tree, "How amazing, how astonishing it is, that a man should be so evil as to break off a branch of the tree, after eating his fill. Suppose the tree were to bear no more fruit." And the tree bore no more fruit.

Buddhism. Anguttara Nikaya

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

Jainism. Sutrakritanga

Verily I say unto you, for this end have I come into the world, that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men.

Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve

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