Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from

Nonviolence and Animal Advocacy: QnA with Arihanta Institute's Christopher Miller

From Lex Talamo,
April 2023

Following Jain principles the extreme peace and contentment that comes from living a life like that will far exceed any satisfaction you will get from any of those other things in excess.

Jain temple
Ranakpur, a famous Jain temple (Courtesy of Christopher Miller; Photo Credit: Harsh Shah Gowani)

If you ask Arihanta Institute’s professors, there’s no question about whether compassion, nonviolence, and advocates who embrace ahimsa — or non-harming — can lead to powerful and long-lasting change.

Those ancient principles helped topple a dictatorial regime in India during Mahatma Gandhi’s life and the Jim Crow South in the United States while Martin Luther King Jr. lived.

They also can help today’s animal advocates be part of compelling, change-making advocacy while also helping advocates take care of themselves and live aligned with their own highest values, said Professor Christopher Miller, the Institute’s vice president of academic affairs.

Miller teaches courses on animal advocacy and Jain dharma — a Sanskrit word that he said translates loosely to law, virtue, or responsibility — as well as Jain responses to climate change, both of which recognize the interconnectedness of all things, at Arihanta Institute.

The online, nonprofit educational institute encourages nonviolence toward all forms of life to the highest degree humanly possible, with courses designed to empower people to align their daily actions and lifestyle choices with their highest values.

Miller spoke with LFT about his own journey toward a compassionate and vegan lifestyle, how Jain principles can inform effective advocacy for animals, and why — when we exist in a fast-paced and often cruel and unforgiving world — nonviolence must be the path forward. Answers have been edited for length.



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