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The "Golden Rule" (a.k.a. Ethics of Reciprocity)
Part 1: Passages in religious texts in 14
faiths from the Bahá'í Faith to Satanism
"Ethic of Reciprocity" passages from various religions: Bahá'í Faith to Taoism:
- "Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not
have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not." "Blessed
is he who preferreth his brother before himself."
"And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for
thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to
the Son of the Wolf. 1
- "This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would
cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517 "
- "...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I
inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
- Hurt not others in ways
that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
- "All men tremble at the rod, all men fear death:
Putting oneself in the place of others, kill not nor cause to kill.
All men tremble at the rod, unto all men life is dear;
Doing as one would be done by, kill not nor cause to kill."
- "One should seek for others the happiness one
desires for oneself."
- "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the
prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
- "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to
them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
- "...and don't do what
you hate...", Gospel of Thomas 6. The Gospel of Thomas is one of about 40
gospels that circulated among the early Christian movement, but which
never made it into the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).
He appears to have been the first person to record the Golden Rule in its negative form. This is sometimes referred to as the "Silver Rule."
- Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to
you" Doctrine of the Mean
- “What I do not wish men to do to
me, I also wish not to do to men." Analects 15:23
What a man dislikes in those who are over him, let him not display toward those who are under him; what he dislikes in those who are
under him, let him not display toward those who are over him! This
is called the standard, by which, as a measuring square, to regulate
one’s conduct. 6
"Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve
as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' --
reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine
of the Mean 13.3
He also expressed the Golden Rule in its positive form:
- "Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated
yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to
benevolence." Mencius VII.A.4
"There are four things in the moral life of man, not one of which I have been able to carry out in my life. To serve my father as I would
expect my son to serve me: that I have not been able to do. To serve
my sovereign as I would expect a minister under me to serve me:
that I have not been able to do. To act towards my elder brother, as I
would expect my younger brother to act towards me: that I have
not been able to do. To be the first to behave toward friends as I
would expect them to behave towards me: that I have not been able
to do. 6
"Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus
to do." The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B.
Parkinson. The original dates to circa 1800 BCE and may be the earliest version of the Epic of
- "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain
if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517
The religion of the Incas:
"Do not to another what you would not yourself experience." Manco Capoc, founder of the empire of Peru. 6
"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." 3
- Hadiths are writings by Muhammad. There do not appear to be any verses in the Qur'an that explicitly state the Golden Rule.
- "Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others
nor does he make others do so." Acarangasutra 5.101-2.
- "In happiness and
suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self."
Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara
- A man should wander about treating all creatures as he
himself would be treated. "Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
- "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.",
Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) Leviticus 19:18
- "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the
law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
"And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15 4
Native American Spirituality:
- "Respect for all life is the foundation." The Great Law of Peace.
- "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk
- "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself." Pima proverb.
Roman Pagan Religion:
Religio Romana is a modern-day Neo-pagan religion based on the religion of ancient Rome:
- "The law imprinted on the hearts of all
men is to love the members of society as themselves."
Satanism: Unlike the names of other religions, the term "Satanism" has many meanings. Some refer to groups that are non-existent. The Satanic Temple has elements of the Golden Rule divided among three of its Seven Tenets:
- #1. "Strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason."
- #4. "The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own."
#7. "Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word." 5
This list continues in the next essay with expressions of the
Golden Rule from eight other religions, and from other sources.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
an encyclopedia reference that lists many Golden Rules, sorted
Paul Halsall "Ancient History
Sourcebook: The Tale of The Eloquent Peasant, c. 1800 BCE," Internet Ancient
History Sourcebook at: http://www.fordham.edu
This is Number 13 of a collection of 43 sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that was compiled by the great
Islamic scholar Yahya bin Sharaf Ul-Deen An-Nawawi. It is is now known as "Al-Nawawi's
Forty Hadiths" See:
The Book of Tobit is
deuterocanonical, i.e. contained not in the Canon of Palestine but in that
of Alexandria. It was accepted by some Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant
traditions as part of the official canon but not by others.
Michael Stone, "Satanic Temple’s Seven Tenets Are Morally Superior To Ten Commandments," Patheos, 2016-JAN-22, at: http://www.patheos.com/
Harry Gensler, Earl W. Spurgin, James Swindal: "Ethics: Contemporary Readings," Routledge, (2003), Page 159 to 162. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store Available online at: http://books.google.ca/
"The Golden Rule Project," at: http://goldenruleproject.org/
Copyright © 1995 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2016-DEC-30
Author: B.A. Robinson