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Religious Tolerance logo

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

Part 2: Passages from eight more
religious texts and other sources

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This list is continued from the previous essay.

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"Ethic of Reciprocity/Golden Rule" passages from more religious texts (Continued):

  • Shinto:
    • "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form" Munetada Kurozumi

    • "Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God." Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

  • Sikhism:
    • "Compassion-mercy and religion are the support of the entire world". Japji Sahib

    • "Don't create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone." Guru Arjan Devji 259

    • "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299

  • Sufism, the inner mystical dimension of Islam:
    • "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 neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss." Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

    • "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."

    • "The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful." Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49.

  • Unitarian Universalism (referred to as Unitarianism in some countries):
    • "The inherent worth and dignity of every person;"

      "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.... "

      "The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;"

      "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Unitarian principles. 1,2

  • Wicca: A modern Neo-pagan religion derived largely from Celtic sources. Their Wiccan Rede states:
    • "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt" (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). This is called the Wiccan Rede
  • 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."
  • Zoroastrianism:
    • "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself." Dadisten-I-dinik, 94:5

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

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Some philosophers' statements are:

  • Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." (Greece; 5th century BCE).

  • Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." (Greece; 4th century BCE)

  • Aristotle: "We should behave towards friends, as we would wish friends to behave towards us." (This is a restricted version of the golden rule limited only towards friends. (Greece; 4th century BCE).

  • Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors," Epistle to Lucilius 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE

  • Epictetus: "What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others." (Turkey, Rome, Greece; circa 100 CE)

  • Thomas Hobbs: (England; 17th century CE)
    • "Do not that to another which thou wouldst not have done to thyself."

    • "When any one questions whether what he plans to do to another will be done in accordance with the law of nature or not, let him imagine himself in the other man’s place."
  • Kant: "Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature." (Germany; 18th century CE)

  • John Stuart Mill: "To do as you would be done by, and to love your neighbor as yourself, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality." (Britain; 19th century CE)

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Examples from moral/ethical systems are:

  • Humanism:
    • "...critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled." Humanist Manifesto II; Ethics section.

    • "(5) Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity."

    • "(11) Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings." 3

    • "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you, British Humanist Society.

  • Scientology:
    • "20: Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you." This is one of the 21 moral precepts that form the moral code explained in L. Ron Hubbard's booklet "The Way to Happiness." 4

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Other sources:

  • The Yorubas of West Africa: "He who injures another injures himself." The Yoruba people in southwestern Nigeria and surrounding areas of West africa. Santería, Umbanda, and Candomblé evolved from the Yoruba religion.

  • Moroccan tribesmen:
    • "He who has done something will have it done to him."

    • "He who sows good will reap peace."

    • "What you desire for yourself you should desire for others."

  • Bakongo (a.k.a. Kongo people; an ethnic group found in West Africa from the Repubilc of Congo to Angola):
    • "If you see a jackal in your neighbor's garden, drive it out. One might get into yours one day, and you would like the same done for you."

    • "O man, what you do not like, do not toy our fellows."

  • From the Upanishads -- the foundational document for Indian Brahmanism (circa 700 BCE):
    • "Let no man to do another that which would be repugnant to himself; this is the sum of righteousness. A man obtains the proper rule by regarding another's case as like his own." 5

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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. "Our Principles," Unitarian Universalist Association, at:
  2. "My Seven Principles: A child's booklet," (The seven principles in a form easily understood by children), Unitarian Universalist Association, at:
  3. "Principles of Humanism," Humanist Association of Canada, at:

  4. book cover L. Ron Hubbard, "The Way to Happiness," Bridge Publications, Inc. (2007). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

  5. book cover Harry Gensler, Earl W. Spurgin, James Swindal: "Ethics: Contemporary Readings," Routledge, (2003), Page 159 to 162. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store Available online at:

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Latest update: 2016-JAN-30
Author: B.A. Robinson
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