Monday, March 31, 2008

Ahimsa Shoes

Ahimsa Shoes.

Nope, not yoga shoes, just old friends made new again.

In our modern disposable economy, when things go bad we're supposed to "GO SHOPPING!"

But hiring a professional from my community to repair a well-made pair of old shoes gave me an opportunity to make a mindful choice toward non-violent foot-wear.

These particular old friends were a conscious buy from the start. They were well-made shoes in a classic style that never gets old. But more importantly, they're the flat, hard, thin-soled shoes that Alexander teachers and yoga teachers alike, both recommend. Yes, I paid a little extree for them at the time, but it was worth it to know they weren't made by child-laborers in Thailand. And that all that is difficult to find in today's current fashion market.

By choosing to repair old shoes instead of buying new, I:
--opted out of an industry that depletes our resources and puts children to work in sweatshops over-seas.
--strengthened my community by giving my money to a local professional who takes pride in his work.
--helped my feet by stepping into a comfortable pair of shoes that are already broken-in, and perfect for my feet.
--made 1 happy cow.

And all for the low price of $45! That's a huge savings! And now they look more beautiful than ever for the careful, hand-care they received--it's quality that shoes, I mean shows.

A new pair of shoes has never made me so happy, not to mention my community, my planet and my feet.


Anonymous said...

And of course that's Walden there n the pics.

Confusion Say said...

I was surprised how good some of their designs for shoes are online.

Funny that you brought up eco-friendly attire. Paul and I were just discussing going to the Green Festival again this year.

However, I believe we will be bringing our own lunch this time ...

Confusion Say said...

Hmmm ... looking at the insides and how they are worn out, I'd say these shoes ain't vegan. I could be wrong but then they really wouldn't be Ahimsa then.

Luckymortal said...

That is a good point, but I disagree.

The main point I'd make is this:

As a practical matter, far more than any SUPER DEE DUPER GREEN COMPANY or product, the most ecologically friendly clothing purchase will be to:


That's what experts from Dr. Jones (better world shopper) to Mother Jones, to Mother Earth news have all said.

Reuse is one of the most eco-friendly and yes, non-violent choices we can make.

While the next purchase of NEW shoes I make will likely be BLACK SPOTS, as they are, to my way of thinking, the most radically non-violent footwear you can own, I consider repairing these old shoes to be an even better choice.

So if you want truly "ahimsa shoes," first try to reuse. If you can't do that, buy black spots.

As for the philosophical point:

As a proponent of the most theosophical approaches to permaculture and biodynanics, I don't believe that vegan models of world agriculture are necessarily less violent.

I am not a Vegan, as I believe it is not a good model for establishing permaculture systems. And so I believe it is a "least best" approach to making our agricultural system "less violent" or more humane, which may actually perpetuate industrial models that are ultra violent to living ecosytems.

Besides that, advocating a Vegan approach does not appeal widely to Americans as it seems like to great a sacrifice. Because of that, it may actually make Americans more resistant to meaningful change to our industrial Animal husbandry system.

Luckymortal said...

To add: I plan on writing more about conscious dietary choices too, such as CSAs and buying local.

Confusion Say said...

I think what you've done contributes to Ahimsa.

But it seems the overall thought is nonviolence and Ahimsa is a rule of conduct that bars the killing or injuring of living beings.

So if they are made of animal then they aren't truely Ahimsa.

Luckymortal said...

I see your point, but again I disagree.

What we're really talking about is what kind of observance of Ahimsa is right for an individual, no?

Perhaps this is related to the idea of "effort" that I've been practicing lately. If someone is moved toward strict Veganism as an observation of "Ahimsa," while I disagree with it, I respect it.

But for me, that interpretation of "Ahimsa" wouldn't be an appropriate effort. My philosophical disagreement with that interpretation would make Veganism a poorly placed effort for me, and for many Americans.

But the interpretation of "Ahimsa" is controversial and not so ridged as you say. And the "right effort" regarding Ahimsa for many people might be found in a different interpretation than the strictly Vegan one you advocate for.

Although I don't think it's that important, to be clear, "Himsa" is the word for violence. "Non-violence" is the best literal translation for ahimsa (unless you'd prefer "a-violent, which would be the cognative formation (Sanskrit is closely related to English through the Germanic family of languages.)

The rule of conduct "ahimsa" differs greatly between the three main Indian traditions that observe it (Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism) and it exists on a continuum.

Radical Jains represent one end of this continuum and they consider eating, breathing and moving to destroy living beings. They famously even prohibit clothing, as beings may get caught in it and suffer.

Other traditions, such as Tibetan and Korean Buddhism emphasize the human place in earth systems and do not require vegetarianism. A quick search on google images will render pictures of Trungpa Rinpoche, who's famous "NO" teaching was a radical observance of "Ahimsa," wearing leather shoes and other animal products. Even the Dali Lama can be found wearing animal products, and he's certainly a prime advocate of non-violence.

For my personal observance, I'm drawn to the traditions of biodynamics and permaculture, which place humans as members of living systems. Not only do I believe this is the "right effort" for building a less violent America, but it's the right effort for me personally.

If you want to become a Vegan, I respect that, but I hope to get some more of that chicken risotto thing you make first....

Franco Pietropaoli said...

It is nonsense what u r saying, Ahimsa means non-violence,of course. So those who adhere to this principle established very vehemently by Lord Buddha would naturally be vegetarian. What u r saying is a deviation.Just like Christians give some interpretation of "Thou shalt not kill" directive, so they can carry on with crucifying Lord Jesus by their heinos acts of wholesale slaughter of other living entities!

!-- Site Meter -->