Years ago, one of my history
professors told the class a story to illustrate
the concept of Jainism
. Although perhaps slightly hyperbolic
, it served to communicate the concept and entrench it in our memories. I will attempt to recreate it from memory
A Tiger was prowling about the forest one day, when he came upon a Jainist sitting underneath an apple tree. The Jainist's stomach was growling fiercely.
"You are hungry" The tiger observed. "Why don't you do as I do, and take nourishment from the creatures of the forest?"
"I cannot, for I am a Jainist. I cannot harm any living thing."
"Interesting" Murmured the tiger. "Why don't you pluck an apple from the tree behind you?"
"I could not do such a thing," The Jainist replied "for plants are living things as well, and so I must not harm the apple tree by tearing off one of it's fruits."
"There are fallen apples all around you, why don't you eat one of them?"
"Surely, I would, but they are out of reach. I cannot move for fear of harming the grass and insects beneath my feet."
The tiger replied: "Fear not, Jainist, for I believe I have the solution for both of our problems!"
The tiger then devoured the Jainist, and continued on his way.