The Golden Rule: treat others as you would wish to be treated

The Golden Rule, or the ethic of reciprocity, appears in the writings of every serious religion, including both those that are God-given and the secular. The Golden Rule is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion.  Here, in alphabetical order, is how many religious leaders have applied the wisdom of the ages – summing up the Golden Rule in a single sentence:

Ancient Egyptian

“Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” from The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 1970 BCE, translated by R.B. Parkinson.

Baha’i Faith

“Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.” Bah’u’llah, Gleanings

Brahmanism

“This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” Mahabharata, 5:1517

Buddhism

“Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga, 5:18

Confucianism

“One phrase which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving kindness: do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” Confucius, Analects 15.23

Christianity

“In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you, for this is the law and the prophets.” Jesus, Matthew 7.12

Hinduism

“This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Mahabharata: 5:1517

Humanism

“Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity…don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.” British Humanist Society

Jainism

“One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.” Mahavira, Sutrakritanga

Judaism

“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour: this is the whole Torah – all the rest is commentary.” Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Islam

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”Number 13 of Imam Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths

Native Spirituality

“We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.” Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia, Canada.

Roman Pagan Religion

“I give that you might give…the law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”

Shinto

“The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form”. Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

Sikhism

“I am a stranger to no one and no one is a stranger to me: indeed, I am a friend to all.” Guru Granth Sahib, pg 1299

Sufism

“The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven’t the will to gladden someone’s heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone’s heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this.” Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order

Taoism

Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’len, 213-218

Unitarianism

“We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Unitarian principle

Yoruba (Nigeria)

One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.” Traditional proverb

Zoroastrianism

“Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself.” Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

 

The Golden Rule is generally accepted as the most concise, universal principle of ethics. It compresses into a single principle all longer lists of ordinances such as the Ten Commandments.

Over the millennia many different thinkers, teachers, practitioners and prophets have applied its principles to a wide range of human activities, including: care for the environment, business ethics, economics and government policy and judges’ interpretation of the law.

Does everybody follow it? The English writer G K Chesterton put it this way: “Christianity [for which read any of the religions referenced on this website] has not been tried and found wanting: it has been found difficult and left untried.”

That’s where Kindness Connects aims to make a difference.

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The Golden Rule