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The "Golden Rule" (a/k.a. Ethics of Reciprocity)

Passages from various religious texts

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"Ethic of Reciprocity" passages from various religions: Bahá'í Faith to Judaism: 

bulletBahá'í Faith: 
bullet"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." Baha'u'llah

bullet "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
bulletBrahmanism: "This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you". Mahabharata, 5:1517 "
bullet "...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
bullet Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
bullet "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.

bullet"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.

bullet"...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).
bullet "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23

bullet"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

bullet"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

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bullet Ancient Egyptian: "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 Reciprocity ever written. 2

bullet Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517
bullet 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." 3
bullet Jainism
bullet "Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others nor does he make others do so." Acarangasutra 5.101-2.
bullet "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self." Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara

bullet "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. "Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
bullet Judaism
bullet "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
bullet "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

bullet "And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15 4
bullet Taoism

"“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

bullet "To those who are good to me, I am good; to those who are not good to me, I am also good. Thus all get to be good."

bullet Zoroastrianism

"That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself." Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

bullet "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29 5

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This list continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. has an encyclopedia reference that lists many Golden Rules, sorted chronologically at:

  2. Paul Halsall "Ancient History Sourcebook: The Tale of The Eloquent Peasant, c. 1800 BCE," Internet Ancient History Sourcebook at:

  3. 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:

  4. 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.

  5. "The Golden Rule Project," at:

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Copyright © 1995 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2015-JUN-09
Author: B.A. Robinson
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