Feb 14, 2020

Jainism view on Eggs Consumption

Q13. Are Eggs unfertile? Then why are eggs not considered vegetarian food and why are Jains not allowed to eat eggs? What are the facts about Eggs?
Let’s first look at some of the most commonly followed diets, including Vegan and Vegetarian:

Within Vegetarian diet following community, Eggs have been a controversial food. As many argue that eggs produced for commercial sale are unfertilized then why are they not considered part of a vegetarian diet, like dairy products?As you can see from the above listed visual chart that definition of Vegetarian diet changes as you go across different parts of the world. People follow several different types of vegetarian diets. Vegan diet across the globe is the only diet that is purely plant-based diet and does not include consuming any direct or by-products from Animals.
How do Hens produce Eggs? Are all Eggs Unfertile?
Just as Female humans, Hens ovulate for the same reason: to reproduce. Female human ovaries also contain developing eggs. In women, a mature egg is released from the ovary once a month. If the egg becomes fertilized by male sperm, then it attaches to the wall of the uterus and begins to form an embryo. If the egg is not fertilized, it is eliminated during monthly menstrual cycle 
In chickens, the ovary is a cluster of developing ova, or yolks. If Rooster mates with Hen before Hen lays eggs, then these eggs can be fertilized, otherwise Hens lay eggs which are unfertilized. Most commercially available eggs are unfertilized since Hens are kept separately on farms for breeding eggs only.
Even though commercially produced eggs are unfertile, why should we avoid consuming as part of our vegetarian diet?
Let’s understand how birds produce eggs in the wild vs. on commercial farms today:
Although Hens do not menstruate like Female humans, the cycle of creating and passing much larger eggs relative to their body size and weight is arguably even more physically taxing, especially in modern hens who have been genetically manipulated to force them to bred to produce such unnaturally high rates of eggs. 
In fact, the process of making and passing an egg requires so much energy and labor that in nature, wild hens (aka The Red Jungle Fowl - from whom domestic hens are descended) lay only 10 to 15 eggs per year. Their bodies could never sustain the physical depletion of laying hundreds of eggs that domestic chickens have been forced to produce through genetic manipulation. 
It is a common misconception that Hens are always just naturally “giving” eggs, because modern Hens have been intensively bred to lay between 250 to 300 eggs a year. But in the wild, chickens, like all birds, lay only during breeding season — primarily in the spring — and only enough eggs to assure the survival of their genes.
Egg harvesting from chicken does not require killing chicken, like caviar or fish eggs are obtained by killing fish. Not every product that comes out of an animal requires killing that animal, the best example being milk. However, it does not mean there is no animal cruelty or violence (Himsa) involved in the process of harvesting these products (Eggs, Milk) even if direct killing act is not conducted. Extreme cruelty is inflicted on cows for milk and all associated dairy products as outlined in this blog post.
When you look closely, it becomes clear how the entire process of harvesting eggs involves inhumane cruelty or violence against these animals 
Any animal food that is produced at a large scale for commercial purposes, brings many unwanted and often unknown (to mass population) violence. Many inhumane practices are carried out to increase and sustain high production of eggs. 
Hatcheries often breed chickens in an undesirable/inhumane way. For example, 
  • Female chicks are given hormone injections to boost their reproductive cycle earlier than nature intended. 
  • Chickens are kept in a very tight space, crawling on top of each other, not able to stand on ground, no outdoor space.
  • Chickens are poorly fed, which has many negative effects on chickens’ health. 
  • Female chickens are left to die or used as food (for animal consumption) once their reproductive cycle stops and are not producing eggs anymore. 
  • Most of the male chickens born are grounded up for food (while they are alive) as they do not have any reproductive value. 

Please refer to some of the highly viewed YouTube videos showing Egg production lifecycle, showcasing how much cruelty and violence is involved (Viewer discretion advised):

All this violence is inherently part of producing “Unfertile” eggs that some may consider as valid vegetarian diet. 
What about eggs from free-range or cage-free, farm raised birds? Are they cruelty free?
With recently raised awareness of commercially raised chickens, many people recognized ethical problems that arise from animal factories producing animal products. And so, to distance themselves from such inherent cruelty and harm done to these animals, they turned to free range birds’ eggs, farm raised organic chicken eggs or some using their own backyard chickens. 
So, what’s wrong with that? This non-commercial egg production happens almost without human manipulation or intervention, where is the ethical problem or Himsa involved in there? 
Well, if you just scratch little beneath the surface. Such as:
1.    How are these hens bred? All hens in small farms, big farms or in animal factories are bred in hatcheries. 
2.    What happens to these hens when they no longer produce eggs? 
3.    What happens to roosters (male chicken babies) in this type of farming? 
Just because they are kept in a pleasant open farm space, free of medicines and antibiotics does not free then from untimely, unnatural killing. Killing of under productive Hens or unproductive Roosters are done regularly by these farms that declare their hens happy or consider them free range animals. 
Some eye-opening facts:
  • Between 470 Million to 490 Million chickens are produced every year for eggs harvesting. Approximately, half of them are male babies. These male babies have no value in the egg production cycle and thus are killed through suffocation, maceration, carbon dioxide poisoning, electrocution, cervical dislocation etc.
  • There is no such thing as slaughter free animal agricultural system. Animal factories, farm raised, cage-free, however they are bred.
  • Even if one considers byproducts such as eggs as technically Vegetarian food, production/harvesting of eggs inherently involves violence and cruelty against these animals.
  • Many studies show that eggs are harmful for human consumption due to high saturated fat in yolk. Many alternative plant-based proteins are healthier options.
  • Animal farming and harvesting of animal by-products have much higher environmental impact compared to Vegetables/Fruits farming.
  • As learned above, consuming eggs conducts harm against five-sense living beings vs. one-sense living beings when you follow only plant-based diet.
  • As per https://unitedegg.com/facts-stats/, U.S. table egg production totaled 95.3 billion in 2018, up 3 percent from 2017. 
  • The U.S. has 328 million commercial laying hens (January 2018), up 3 percent from January 2017. The daily rate of lay averaged 79 eggs per 100 layers (January 2018). On average, each laying hen produces 289 eggs per year.
  • According to www.statista.com › Consumer Goods & FMCG › Food & Nutrition, In 2019, consumption of eggs in the United States was estimated at 289.5 per person.
  • Millions of male chicks and laying hens are slaughtered every year as they lose their reproductive value - https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/egg-industry/
  • Detrimental Environmental effects: In comparison to plant-based produce, the production of eggs, like other animal-based produce, generates negative effects on the environment, including the emission of greenhouse gases or the contamination of soil and water.

In short, even though immediate harvesting of animal byproducts such as MILK, EGGS are not killing them directly, if looked closely at the whole agricultural life cycle of its production, it comes to realization how much cruelty and violence is involved in every step of the way.
Lastly, we want to emphasis on why it is so important to stand by your compassionate choice and not make exceptions:
Many vegetarian diets following people in the modern world often make exceptions by allowing themselves to consume eggs as part of an ingredient of a food product, dish, while not consuming eggs directly as food. 
If you think - what harm do I really cause, what violence do I really conduct when I consume just one cookie, one piece of cake, a slice of bread, baked pie or a small chocolate bar once in a while… then
Think deeply and think broadly!  
1.    By saying YES to consuming products containing Eggs, you are promoting that industry at large. 
2.    You are participating in the cruel agricultural life cycle by consuming products made from eggs in any shape or form. Since the commercial industry is all about demand and supply. 
Think about the possibility if you decide to say NO to all products that contain animal products (e.g. Eggs) and instead ask for, demand for products made without animal products, byproducts. 
If enough of us choose to stay strong by our choice of being compassionate, we will help in creating demand for cruelty-free products of all kinds. Today we have so many Vegan options available in grocery stores, restaurants and shopping malls. 
Today, we are able to consume these cruelty-free products thanks to those before us who chose to stay strong by their choice of compassion. 

Jan 26, 2020

Is Ignorance Acceptable / Justifiable in Jainism...

Q12. There is so much violence in the preparation of commercial food items and products used on daily basis. Is it better to just remain ignorant about such violence or is it better to have knowledge/awareness about it?
This is an important overarching question. With so much violence around us, whether it is in the food items we eat, products we use, what we buy, where we buy from, environmental footprint or things we accumulate. All the choices we make have an impact.
There are situations in which violence is very apparent, for example using leather/wool/silk vs. cotton or eating meat vs. vegetables. And then there are situations when the violence is not very apparent but there is a high possibility of violence. For example,
  • Goods made in countries where ethical standards, labor laws, environmental laws are lax or non-existent
  • Food products, beauty products, cleaning products involving unethical or cruel treatment towards animals
  • Dairy products (milk, butter, ghee, ice cream, sweets and so on) that inflicts highest cruelty on cows – every milk producing cows are slaughtered after about 5 years and almost every male calf is slaughtered immediately after birth.  

The intent of this question is to address the situations where violence is not apparently visible. So, under this context:
Is it better to make our choices while remaining ignorant about such violence or have knowledge about it and do the best that we can by following the Jain principle of minimum violence?
Nonviolence is the highest principle of Jain Religion. If our principle/value is nonviolence towards all living beings, then remaining ignorant is not an option.
Jainism Perspective on Knowledge vs. Ignorance
The core principle of Jainism is the path of knowledge. Spiritual growth means continuous learning, seeking for information and then changing our actions based on that.
If we conduct our action keeping ourselves in a state of ignorance (in Mithyatva or wrong belief) then we cannot make spiritual progress.  In fact, the Jain principle firmly states that any action performed in a state of ignorance is always wrong from spiritual point of view even if the action may have helped many other people.
Let’s explore few examples:
-     We are aware of potential violence in food we consume or product we use, yet we choose to remain ignorant and not make the effort to gain or verify the information. In this case, we are conducting our action in ignorance, there is no hope for our spiritual growth or change, and we continue to acquire more bad karma.
-     The impact of our tax dollars by the government which we may not have bothered to learn about or tried to influence through our obligation to participate in civic affairs.
-     The impact of our 401K (retirement) and other stock market investments which may be encouraging and enabling corporations to commit violence to improve our returns. How many of us have made a conscious effect to divest?
-     We donate some funds to charity and then we make sure that we receive good recognition for our donation, and we take pride in it. In this case, there is subtle ignorance at bhav / intention level. Our “Ego” is satisfied which indicates that our action has increased our vices (Kashayas) and hence we acquire more bad karma even though many people are being helped.
If we are conducting actions in wrong belief, delusion or by choosing to remain ignorant then it is inexcusable (unjustifiable) from Jainism perspective. In fact, willfully ignoring the knowledge of suffering caused by our actions is not only inexcusable, but we have an obligation to understand the consequences of every action we take. Jainism considers conducting actions under Mithyatva (delusion or wrong belief) as of the highest forms of sin. Without knowledge and awareness, we are in either in false belief or blindly following someone else and that invariable results in higher form karma bondage and stagnates spiritual growth.
Proper knowledge is required before any action is carried out. Jain Agam scripture Das-vaikalik Sutra states that “Padhamam Jnanam Tao Daya” (First knowledge then Conduct or non-violent action).
Once we have any new information, we must also test it with our own reasoning and verify with our experience and only then, it becomes our own. We can then use that wisdom for our future actions.  
Depending on our circumstances, we might not be able to act on information right away but with proper knowledge and awareness, there is hope!
Following Path of Minimum Violence for Our Healthy Survival
Human life cannot exist without violence. For our existence we need food, clothing, and shelter. Hence Jain principle states that for our survival, we must follow the path of minimum violence.
It is important for us to understand the guidelines of practicing minimum violence.
Muni Shree Nyayvijaji (the undisputed scholar of Jain Logic) explains how to practice minimum violence in his book Jain Darshan. Here are the links to his article on “The Principle of Minimum Violence for Human's Survival” in HindiEnglish and Gujarati.
The Jain principle states that the degree of violence inflicted to any living being is proportional to the number of senses a living being possesses.
A living being who possesses more senses equate to more development of its faculty of knowledge.  Therefore, hurting or exploiting one five sense living being is worse than hurting many four sense living beings and three senses living beings and so on. Please refer to this blog post for details about five senses and their role from Ahimsa point of view.
The Order of Degree of Violence (highest to lowest) as per soul classification defined in Jiv-vichar book:
1.    Human Beings
2.    Five sensed Animals
3.    Four sensed Movable Beings such as flies, bees
4.    Three sensed Movable Beings such as ants, lice
5.    Two sensed Living Beings such as insects
6.    One sense Beings - vegetables, water, air, earth, and fire
Violence can be in any form such as killing, exploiting, verbal abuse, physical violence, emotional or mental abuse etc.
Since human life can healthily survive by consuming only one sense beings (fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, water etc.) we should not kill, hurt or exploit two to five senses living beings.  Hence Jainism propagates consuming only one sense being for healthy survival and no wastage. Any food we waste, or any clothing and shelter we do not use is also considered violence because we have killed more one sense beings than we need for our healthy survival.
In the past 100-200 years, our lifestyle has become part of a very complex and interconnected world of advanced technology, global economics, extreme specialization of labor, complex corporate and political dynamics, all of which lead to a disconnectedness between our personal actions and the resulting effects on the rest of the humanity and on the planet’s ecosystem. Hence, as conscious individuals we have an important moral obligation to become aware of these cause and effect dynamics, and to act in ways to reduce our role in it.
If our action cause the environmental degradation (such as using plastics plates, water bottles, bags, foams cups and glasses etc..) it should be considered the highest form of violence as it affects all of us living beings on the planet, causing death, displacement, disease, and other types of suffering. Also, our non-biodegradable waste (plastic, styrofoam etc.) destroys sea life significantly.

We must also make sure that we don't micro-manage our approach of minimizing violence to one sense so much that we lose the sight of the bigger picture of not hurting five sense living being. We need to always keep the highest goals of non-violence towards humans, other five sensed living beings and strive to minimize violence towards other four, three, and two sense movable living beings.
What can we do?
It seems like in our consumerist society, there is increasing amount of violence for companies to succeed and make money, and for consumers to get what they want and when they want it. In such situation, we must ensure that our actions are in in-sync with our values and principles.
When we buy something, we have a responsibility to understand how that product was produced and what violence may have been committed for it to be acquired. Similarly, when we throw something in the trash, we should understand the complete chain of events and set of consequences of the action. With the awareness, we can consciously avoid / limit actions that causes harm and we have an opportunity to choose an option with less violence rather than being ignorant and choosing the one that is most convenient / pleasurable in worldly sense.
We need to understand the principles and then apply them in current situation. We have been programmed certain way but when it comes to making our choices, we need to do the due diligence of gaining as much information as we can. Plus, nowadays given technology/internet, we can do the required research very efficiently to ensure that we have the knowledge and awareness.
Since life cannot exists without violence, we must strive towards minimizing violence. We are our own judge and jury when it comes to making our choices and determining our acceptable level of violence while simultaneously nurturing our spiritual growth.

Nov 17, 2019

Jainism view on Wars, Fighting for Injustice, Oppression, Freedom...

Q11. What is Jain view on wars - political, economic, religious or ethnic? How about fighting for injustice, oppression and freedom?
These are important question that we will address from various perspectives. We will look at it from Jain values/principles, scriptures, examples from history and logical reasoning so that we can use our own wisdom in any given situation and keep our spirituality intact and progressing. We are addressing this question from lay-people (shravak and shravikas) perspective.
We will talk about this in two parts. First Jainism views on spirituality to prevent situations like war, injustice, oppression or slavery and then what can we do if we are in any of such situations.
Jainism perspective on spirituality and war:
There are many references in Jain scriptures that all underpins the importance of living a spiritual, compassionate and peaceful life.
Jainism advocates and provides guidance on removing societal conditions that preludes the war, mainly reduce inequality and insecurity, overcoming our inner weaknesses and structuring our life based on spiritual awareness.
-    Ahimsa is at the core of Jainism. Ahimsa means to not hurt any living beings, through our thoughts, words or actions. It means to respect all living beings and have compassion towards all living beings, no exceptions.
-    In Sutrakritang, it is clearly mentioned that there is nothing higher than the sense of security, it says one should not fear from others and one should not cause fear to others. Accumulation of arms and weapons are considered a means of security yet these, instead of giving security, generate fear and a sense of insecurity in the party that doesn’t have them. These insecurities start a race for accumulation of superior weapon and eventually a war.
-    Lord Mahavira in Acharanga sutra proclaimed "Atthi sattham parenaparam, Natthi asattham parenaparam" i.e. There are weapons superior to each other, but nothing is superior to disarmament or non-violence. It is the selfish and aggressive outlook of an individual or a society that gives birth to war and violence.
-    Tattvartha sutra written by Acharya Umaswati (aka Umaswami) stated that mutual cooperation is the essential nature of human beings and the function of the soul is to help one another.
-    Uttaradhyayana Sutra underpins the importance of war with oneself to get rid of insecurities that runs as precursor for war and conflicts.
Ideally, we don’t want war, injustice, oppression or slavery. But what if we are in middle of any such situation? What is our responsibility and what are acceptable actions for lay people?
What can we do if we are any undesirable situations like war, injustice, oppression, slavery?
For lay people it is very important to understand the Jain principles and scriptures such that we maintain our spirituality, yet we don’t miss out on fulfilling any of our responsibilities.
Agams contains the vows (vrat) for Shravak/Shravika and for Sadhu/Sadhvis, and they are different for both.
Mahavrat is vows for Sadhu/Sadhvi and it includes complete non-violence. 
Ahimsa vow for Shravak and Shravika is called Anuvrat. Here’s the verse from yoga sastra that explains the ahimsa vow for laypeople:
સ્થૂલ પ્રાણાતિપાત વિરમણ વ્રત:-
નિષ્કારણનિરપરાધીત્રસજીવોની સંકલ્પપૂર્વકની હિંસાનો ત્યાગ

Sthuul pranaatipat viramaan vrat 
Nishkaran (without valid reason) Niraparadhi (not guilty)
Trasjeevai (2-5 sensed beings) Sankalp-Poorvani (premeditated/planned) Himsa (violence) Tyaag (avoid/give up)
At the core, it means laypeople should avoid/give-up premeditated/planned violence towards 2-5 sensed living beings, which are not guilty, and there is no valid reason.
So, for lay people, minimum violence for protection is acceptable. It is our responsibility as lay people to protect our self, family, religion, state and country and if needed we should use force or violence. None of our values/principles are meant to make us weak or prevent us from fulfilling our responsibilities. We must take the required action for protection but without any kashayas (anger, ego, greed, deceit) internally.
In history, we have many examples, such as historically very famous Acharya Shri Kalakacharya for the protection Sadhviji, King Bhamasha, Vastupal and Tejpal fought for protection of self and others. Contemporary times are very different from 2500 years ago, however, the application of Jain values/principles remains the same.
Little more recent example is of Gandhiji fighting for injustice, oppression and freedom.  During the British rule over India, British had a law that forbid Indians to mine their own salt.  On top of that, the British imposed a tax on salt which was coming from India’s own land.  Gandhiji felt this was wrong. But he did not go off in the middle of the night to break the law. His intention was not to cheat the law. Rather, he told the British that he was doing a salt march and will be mining the salt and he is willing to be arrested. He was protesting for the sake of the cause, not protesting for any other reason.
Let’s look at a more practical example.  If an intruder enters our house and we harm that individual in self-defense, then that is acceptable. But violence out of aggression or revenge is not acceptable.  If the intruder leaves and we yet go after him for the purpose of harming him instead turning him to the authority, then that is not acceptable.
Bottom line
Ideally, we don’t want war, oppression or any kind of injustice. And at an individual level, we should raise our spirituality such that we don’t introduce or escalate situations that starts the injustice or wars. However, if we are in any situation that requires us to protect self, family, religion, country then we must act but without aggression or any kashayas within.
We must follow the law of the land we reside in; we can protest the law but cannot violate the law.  We must be very mindful and honest in deciding if a war/fight is for a valid cause and not with an intention to hurt 2-5 sense living beings, personal gains or to gain more power over others.

Nov 1, 2019

Jainism view on Sallekhana, Suicide, Euthanasia and Death Penalty.

Q10. What is Sallekhana? What is Suicide & Euthanasia? Is Sallekhana considered Suicide? What are Jain views on Death Penalty?
We are addressing this question from the perspective of lay people
It is also known as Santhara, Samadhi-maranSamlehna.
Jain definition of Sallekhana is very explicit and clear.
Sallekhana is the religious practice performed with FULL AWARENESS & KNOWLEDGE of voluntarily fasting to death by gradually reducing/limiting one's movements, then gradually reducing the intake of solid food, and finally reducing the intake of fluids.
Jainism believes that the process of sallekhana at the end of one’s life, while being engaged in meditation, serves to prevent the accumulation of bad karmas as well as assisting the soul in spiritual purification.
Observing Sallekhana leads to Ahimsa as the person observing it detaches or reduces his/her Kashayas, which are considered the root cause of himsa.
Jain religion allows to perform Sallekhana to monks, nuns, shravaks, and shravikas. Sallekhana is rare, performed only when death is imminent.
Sallekhana should be performed only when a person:
-        Is terminally ill
-        With no hope of a cure or recovery
-        Is fully aware about his condition
-        Realizes that there is no usefulness of his life to be able to further his spiritual progress
In other words, a person is not capable of doing Nirjara of one’s karma and hence his human life is a burden to others. Then, and ONLY then, can he take a vow (pachhkhan) of Sallekhana from a Guru, and the Guru must agree with the decision before giving pachhkhan.
A person in a coma or in severe pain, who is not completely aware about his/her state of mind should not be given the vow of Santharo. The decision to take Sallekhana cannot be taken by relatives or society or disciples and must never be done for fame or prestige.
Sallekhana is a private event and it is taken with an intention of having a spiritual death. It should not be made a public affair and turn it into a celebration because person taking the vow needs privacy to remain in meditative state until the last breath.
Process of performing Sallekhana
The person who decides to take the vow of Sallekhana:
-        Makes the decision to end his/her life and family members are aware (unlike suicide)
-        Should discuss with a Guru and get Guru’s permission
-        Requests forgiveness from others and forgives all for any sinful acts in their life
-        Remains in the state of forgiveness & in Pratikraman 
-        Should eliminate all the fear, grief, hatred, regret, prejudice, attachment, etc. from his mind to the fullest extent
-        Remains in meditative state on the innermost self, the soul till the end
If after taking the Sallekhana vow, a person has doubts or second thoughts, then the process of Sallekhana must not be continued, and one should withdraw from it.
If after taking the Sallekhana vow, arta-dhyaan (sorrowful dhyaan) occurs in the person due to not drinking water, not consuming any food, or not taking any medicines, then the process of Sallekhana must not be continued, and one should withdraw from it. Then one should take appropriate steps to eliminate arta-dhyaan because in arta-dhyaan the person is immersed in thoughts of suffering, agony and anguish. Such mental state leads to very high negative karma bondage and defeats the purpose of having a spiritual death.
Sallekhana is not considered suicide, and unlike suicide, it is not spontaneous or immediate. On the contrary, it is a slow process and can take as many as 30+ days.  A person taking Sallekhana has to be fully aware to make the decision with his/her own will.
So, for a successful and rightful Sallekhana, the decision must be made VOLUNTARILY, with FULL KNOWLEDGE/AWARENESS, PROPER PLANNING, and undertaken CALMLY & PEACEFULLY, with a focus on SPIRITUALITY, FORGIVENESS, and reduction in one’s own Kashayas.

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. It is an immediate death. A person can decide to take his/her own life when he/she is depressed, when one is experiencing intense emotional pain, or generally thinks that life is not worth living. As far as Jain religion is considered, suicide is considered as committing a murder. Suicide is an instantaneous and purposeful killing hence one acquires Karmas equivalent of killing a five-sensed human being.
As per Jainism, from all the life forms (84 lakh yoni) where our soul can take birth, it is only this very human birth which is the most precious. This is because human life is viewed as a rare opportunity for the soul to reach enlightenment and ultimately Liberation.
So, to commit suicide, regardless of any circumstance/situation the person is in, is depriving one's self from the opportunity to reduce or eliminate kashayas/karmas and there by hindering their own spiritual growth or liberation. Therefore, Suicide is NOT ACCEPTABLE AND NOT ALLOWED in Jainism.

It is also known as mercy killing.
Euthanasia is an act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.
From Jain point of view, euthanasia is NOT considered as sallekhana.

Strictly from Jain principles point of view, we do not have any right to take some one’s life and hence Death penalty is NOT acceptable
However, we MUST obey the laws of the land that we reside in.  One can protest the law but cannot violate the law.

Oct 10, 2019

Jainism view on having a Pet...

Q9. Is it acceptable in Jainism to have a pet?
First, let’s talk about the basic tenets of Ahimsa relevant for this question. Once we understand and internalize the basic principles, we need to use our own wisdom to apply them in our current environment:
-        Ahimsa means to not hurt any living beings, including animals, through our thoughts, words and actions
-        Ahimsa means to respect all living beings and have compassion towards all living beings
-        Ahimsa means to let the living beings live in their natural habitat
-        Ahimsa means to not use animals, directly or indirectly, for our physical, emotional or any other needs
Jainism advocates following path of minimum violence for lay-people (Shravak and Shravikas), which implies using only one-sense living beings for our healthy survival and not hurting any movable two sense and higher living beings.
When it comes to having a pet, there are few basic questions: Why do you want a pet? How/where are you going to get the pet from? And other considerations like what would you feed the pet, environmental impact, companionship of same species?
Why do you want a pet?
The reasons for owning a pet can range from companionship, therapy, want to give a shelter to an animal, just because all my friends have it, it is becoming a trend now etc.
Whatever the reason might be, adopting a pet animal and bringing it inside a house restricts their freedom and deprives them of their natural habitat and companionship of its own species. Animals aren’t meant to be used by humans for their needs. Domestication of animals started only because of humans.
Buying a pet from a pet store / puppy mill
There is a lot of violence in pet breeding industries. For example, the state of Kansas is the largest puppy breeder in America. For every 1 puppy to put into market, 3-4 puppies are killed which are non-sellable.  
The pet industry also causes other kinds of violence to the animals that it sells. They separate the mothers from their litters shortly after birth, causing emotional anguish that may be out of sight to the pet owner, but very real, nonetheless. They also generally neuter or spay the animals. Even though this is done for the good intention of preventing more unwanted animals, it still causes violence and prevents them from having normal reproductive functions. As a result, if you buy animals from pet store, breeder or any commercial sources, then you are becoming a direct contributor towards such violence and this would be harmful to your spiritual growth even if you are treating that animal kindly with shelter, food, and companionship.
Rescuing a pet or using a pet as a guide/therapy/service animal
For Example, a neighbor is moving, he can’t find a home for his pet dog and he offers you to take care of it or he will put the dog to sleep. In this example, if you are willing, capable and you can take care of the pet then you are saving a pet’s life and you are having a pet out of compassion.
Another example is adoption of abandoned animal from shelter that in returns provides valuable companionship and possibly even support for an older or special needs person.
These are few such justifiable scenarios in which you may be saving a life and preventing violence.  However, you want to be mindful of directly/indirectly not promoting use of animals for human needs.
Feeding pet animals
Among the two most popular pets, dogs and cats, both are generally carnivorous. By keeping a pet, you obligate yourself to feeding the animal its preferred and natural diet. Often that will lead the owner to feed the pets non-vegetarian food, which, in turn, makes the owner complicit in supporting the entire meat industry, not just the portion eaten by the animals. This is because the meat industry uses the by-products of slaughter that are not suitable for human consumption for pet food, effectively subsidizing the cost of animal agriculture. By keeping a pet that requires non-vegetarian food, one is effectively engaging in the killing of cows, pigs, chickens, and fish to support their need for a pet.
If you decide to feed your pet vegan or vegetarian food, then it is very important to make sure your pet gets regular vet checkups to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need. For example, it is typically said that cats have to be carnivorous due to their need for taurine and arginine, which are not normally found in plant-based foods. Taurine and arginine aren’t just desirable for cats, but they are essentially because without enough taurine cats will go blind. Fortunately, Taurine and arginine can both be synthesized from vegan sources, and so these are typically found in vegan cat foods, including the brands WysongBenevo, and Ami. This is just one example but if you keep a pet, then you have to do the due diligence and research in determining their nutritional needs and alternatives.
Pets also have an adverse effect on the environment. A recent study by UCLA found that dogs and cats are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. Furthermore, they can also carry disease, pollute waterways, and coastal zones through runoff from areas with feces, and have adverse effects on wildlife.
Companionship of its own species
Most pet animals are social / pack animals and require the company of others of their own kind. However, few pet owners are able to adopt multiple animals to keep them company. In other cases, these animals are locked up in homes like prisons for long periods of time, at the mercy of their owners to come home and interact with them. The justification that they appear happy and lead materially more comfortable lives than they could in the wild, are not valid justifications for subjugating animals for the purpose of our entertainment, companionship, or functional support. 
What is the root cause? And how can we address the root cause?
If it weren’t for humans, animals would never have been domesticated. Humans mostly started domesticating animals for their needs and now we are in this vicious circle. Just because the need keeps on increasing, puppy breeder keeps on increasing the supply. And as noted earlier for every 1 puppy to put into market, 3-4 non-sellable puppies are killed.
If these domesticated animals were sent back to their natural habitat without preparing/training them, then they wouldn’t be able to survive in the new environment either.
We cannot change all the impacts of animal domestication overnight. But at an individual level, we can stop contributing towards increasing the demand. And we can also focus on our spiritual growth so that we aren’t depending on pet for our emotional needs.
Bottom line
We strongly suggest against buying a pet animal from a pet store or commercial sources. In specific scenarios, we must use our own wisdom to do what's right at the time.
If we can help any living being in any way, then we must do so. We should never miss an opportunity to help all different forms of life around us if we have the capacity to do it.
We should also work towards growing spiritually and becoming emotionally strong, so we can eliminate our dependence of our emotional well-being on any external factors.