Sunday 10 June 2007

The central tenet of all major religions

Treat others as you would like to be treated.

To research and create this list was on my to-do list. Then I found what I wanted (and possibly better than I would have done myself) on page 68-69 of "Me to We: Turning Self-Help On Its Head" (by Craig Kielburger & Marc Kielburger, 2004) - highlighting with bold was done by me:

"In fact, the duality of caring for both the self and others is present in virtually all religions, and despite their differences, all come together in one central tenet: Do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. The following is a list of world religions and their interpretations of this Ethic of Reciprocity.
  • Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do not to others what would cause pain if done to you." (Mahabaratha 5:1517)
  • Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien, 213-218)
  • Native spirituality: "We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive." (Chief Dan George)
  • Buddhism: "Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." (Udana-Varga 5.18)
  • Islam: "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself." (The Prophet Muhammad, Hadith)
  • Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary." (Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
  • Christianity: "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (Jesus, Matthew 7:12)
  • Sikhism: "I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all." (Guru Granth Sahib, p.1299)
  • Baha'i Faith: "Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself." (Baha'u'liah, Gleanings)
  • Janism: "One should treat all creatures in the world aas one would like to be treated." (Mahavira, Sutravitanga)
  • Unitarianism: "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependence of all existence of which we are a part." (Unitarian principle)
  • Zoroastrianism: "Do not unto others what is injurious to yourself." (Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29)"
Added to this list is the very gist of Confucius' teaching: "Do not do to others what you don't want others to do to you."

What listed above, I believe, is likely the central tenet of all major religions. In particular, see the above quote about Judaism, " .. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary." - Wow! My dear Hillel! What clarity you brought forth! This very similar sentiment/emphasis was echoed by Confucius. When probed by his pupil (about 2500 years ago) to come up with one word to summarize the spirit of his teaching, Confucius answered: "恕" which means "consideration". He further expanded this word into a phrase as described above.

[posted Dec. 2007]

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