Common Ground – The Golden Rule

I am a big fan of Karen Armstrong’s novels and Charter of Compassion, the latter of which is built upon a fundamental principle of all religions: The Golden Rule.

Rabbi Hillel, the older contemporary of Jesus, said that when asked to sum up the whole of Jewish teaching, while he stood on one leg, said, “The Golden Rule. That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the Torah. And everything else is only commentary. Now, go and study it.”

In her most recent work, The Case for God, she explores the source and development of the world’s major religions, seeking to identify common ground and illustrate that religion is always changing.

For example, in our modern period many of the great religious texts are read in literal matter, as if there is an underlying rational or scientific explanation.  Prior to the mid-18th century, Armstrong argues, no one ever thought to interpret Genesis as a literal description of how human life came into being.  Rather, it was an allegory or, as the old Buddhist saying goes: “A finger pointing at the moon.  Don’t mistake the finger for the moon.”  It is up to us to tassel over its deeper meaning, which can only be uncovered through reflection, practice, and community.

Why write about this?  Because I like to find common ground.  And, more importantly, we have a rich, beautiful set of texts that shape our existence and relationships.  It’s almost overwhelming to think about really – the Holy Bible, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Ramayana, I Ching, the Koran, the Diamond Sutra…  Combined with their unique practices, it’s simply a fascinating world to explore regardless of your particular religious affiliation (or lack thereof).

The Golden Rule Hinduism
‘Never do to others what would pain you’
Panchatantra 3.104
‘Hurt not others with that which hurts yourself.’
Udana 5.18
‘Do not to others what is not well for oneself.’
Shayast-na-shayast 13.29
‘One who neglects existence disregards their own existence’
‘Do not impose on others what you do not yourself desire.’
Analects 12.2
‘Regard your neighbour’s loss or gain as your own loss or gain.’
Tai Shang Kan Ying Pien
‘Desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.’
Baha’Ullah 66
‘What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour.’
Talmud, Shabbat, 31a
‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.
Matthew 7.12
‘Do unto all people as you would they should do to you.’
‘Treat others as you would be treated yourself.’
Adi Granth



~ by responsiblenomad on February 11, 2011.

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