What is Sallekhana in Jainism?

Sallekhana is a type of vow that people take in Jainism, a type of ethical code that must be followed. It is a form of starvation, where a person will gradually consume less food and water, literally fasting to death. According to those that follow Jainism, it is a way of reducing human passions, and at the same time, reducing the body in size. It is thought to be a way of destroying the possibility of karma causing us to be reborn. The goal is to remove oneself from as many mental and physical activities as possible. According to those that practice Jainism, this is not suicide. They deem suicide to be an act of passion, whereas this is not. It is simply a way of breaking the cycle of rebirth.

Who Takes The Sallekhana Vow?

It is a vow that is taken by Jain ascetics, and is very uncommon in modern cities like Staten Island. It has actually led to people debating on whether or not this is defying a person’s right to live, contrasting that with religious freedom. There was actually a court case in 2015 where this practice was banned because it was considered an act of suicide. However, the Supreme Court of India at the final say where they lifted the ban, allowing people to pursue this thou in an attempt to purify their body and mind.

What Are The Conditions Of Taking The Sallekhana Vow?

Today, those that take the vow do so when conditions are appropriate. For example, if someone has a terminal illness, they can undertake this vow because their death is inevitable. It is one of five valves that you can take which also includes celibacy, and the duration of time can be a few weeks to several years. Archaeologists have actually found memorial statues to commemorate those that died using this ritual vow, one that actually translates to attaining enlightenment through wasting away.

Although this is not the first choice that many people make us they are pursuing enlightenment, it is a vow that is open to those that follow Jainism. In today’s society, it is often a measure of last resort, a vow that people will take to improve themselves in regard to the cycle of life and death. Although it is not considered to be suicide, it is an act that will certainly lead to the end of your life. This might be an ongoing debate for many decades to come in regard to its relationship to suicide, but for the devout, it is seen as a way of improving their soul and preventing rebirth once again.

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