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(3,998 words)

Ahiṃsā is a noun from the Sanskrit root hiṃs- meaning “to injure,” “to harm,” “to kill,” or “to destroy,” and the negative particle “a,” together meaning “noninjury.” Ahiṃsā as a central element of religious practice was promoted in the Śramaṇa tradition, from which Jainism and Buddhism developed in the 1st millennium before the Common Era, and by which the Hindu traditions have been strongly influenced. An important element in the doctrine of ahi…

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Jacobsen, Knut A., “Ahiṃsā”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 03 June 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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