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The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule is an ethical statement which is found in many religions and philosophies. It is also called the ethic of reciprocity.

A short list of statements of the golden rule, in chronological order(Wikipedia)

(Alphabetical Order)

African Traditional Religions

"One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."
Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)


"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
Udana-Varga 5,1

"Comparing oneself to others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I," he should neither kill nor cause others to kill."
Sutta Nipata 705

"One should seek for others the happiness one desires for himself"
Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, c. 563 - c. 483 B.C.)

"The Ariyan disciple thus reflects, Here am I, fond of my life, not wanting to die, fond of pleasure and averse from pain. Suppose someone should rob me of my life... it would not be a thing pleasing and delightful to me. If I, in my turn, should rob of his life one fond of his life, not wanting to die, one fond of pleasure and averse from pain, it would not be a thing pleasing or delightful to him. For a state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must also be to him also; and a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another? As a result of such reflection he himself abstains from taking the life of creatures and he encourages others so to abstain, and speaks in praise of so abstaining."
Samyutta Nikaya v.353

"Never do to other persons what would pain thyself."
Panchatantra (Buddhist Mythology c. 200 B.C.)


"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."
Matthew 7:1

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Leviticus 19.18

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets"
Matthew 22.36-40


"Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state."
Analects 12:2

"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

"Tsekung 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 do to others what you do not want them to do to you.""
Analects 15.23


"This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you."
Mahabharata 5,1517

"One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire."
Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8


"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."
40 Hadith of an-Nawawi 13


"In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self."

"A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated."
Sutrakritanga 1.11.33

"One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated."
Agamas Sutrakritanga 1.10.13


"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary."
Talmud, Shabbat 3id


"As thou deemest thyself, so deem others."


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


"That nature alone is good which refrains from doing 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


"Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others."
Socrates 436-338 BCE

"We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us."
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

"He sought for others the good he desired for himself. Let him pass."
Egyptian Book of the Dead (1580-1350 B.C.)

"Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself. But love him, for Moneto loves him also as he loves you."
Shawnees Indians

Contemplation and Application of the Golden Rule

Maybe, due to our past tendencies, we find ourselves acting cruelly and selfishly despite our intellectual understanding of the goodness and correctness of the Golden Rule. How may we strengthen our intellectual understanding of the Golden Rule and also increase our awareness and moment to moment application of the Golden Rule? Keep the rule in mind, that is, remember it often. Venerate the rule, silently praise it in your heart and mind joyfully. This will increase your attraction to the principle of the Golden Rule. Within your own nature, your attention will cleanse and deepen your understanding of the Golden Rule. Visualise the highest Love and Understanding of the rule as glorious light filling you and vibrating through you, cleansing, healing and blessing your motives, your thoughts, your speech, your actions and your circumstances. If you believe in God and/or positive higher powers then pray for help in this. If you are an athiest then make a rational decision to embody this rule in the best way possible.

"On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure. Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear."
Bhagavad Gita

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