I look out on a snowy winter wonderland on this Christmas Day in my part of the world. It is still and quiet as I look out my window at the bare trees decorated with their snowflake ornaments. Very happy dogs frolic merrily on the nature path across the pond, they do not care what day it is, for a walk with their human is the best present ever, a gift they celebrate with such wild glee every time they go out.
I sit here and ponder, what is the most precious gift to me, what is the present I celebrate everyday, for I live such a blessed, beautiful, gracious life. Each day awes me with its celebrated rituals and delightful surprises. What do I wish for all people, no matter their walk of life or where they live? It is an easy answer for me, I wish for all people to be celebrating their moments living presently, free of judgment, unconditionally loving and being loved, connecting with joy to those around them, whether family, friend, or stranger. It is in the precious sweet connections in life that the memories are made. When we open our hearts and souls to others without our mind trained judgments, the world truly expands with grace. To judge, is to put up a wall, limiting not only our own expansion, but that of another as well. Today, may it be a day where you free yourself and all others of such harmful action, today may we open our hearts to the truth that we can never truly understand or know another’s path.
On this day and every day, may we choose to celebrate the grace and magnificence that this life offers. Today and every tomorrow may we embrace this way of being: (http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc3.htm)
“Ethic of Reciprocity” passages from various religions: Bahá’í Faith to Taoism:
• Bahá’í Faith:
◦ “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
◦ “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
◦ “This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. Mahabharata, 5:1517 ”
◦ “…a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” Samyutta NIkaya v. 353
◦ Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18
◦ “All men tremble at the rod, all men fear death:
Putting oneself in the place of others, kill not nor cause to kill.
All men tremble at the rod, unto all men life is dear;
Doing as one would be done by, kill not nor cause to kill.”
◦ “One should seek for others the happiness one desires for oneself.”
◦ “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.
◦ “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Luke 6:31, King James Version.
◦ “…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).
▪ He appears to have been the first person to record the Golden Rule in its negative form. This is sometimes referred to as the “Silver Rule.”
▪ Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Doctrine of the Mean
▪ “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.” Analects 15:23
▪ What a man dislikes in those who are over him, let him not display toward those who are under him; what he dislikes in those who are under him, let him not display toward those who are over him! This is called the standard, by which, as a measuring square, to regulate one’s conduct. 6
▪ “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
▪ He also expressed the Golden Rule in its positive form:
▪ “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
▪ “There are four things in the moral life of man, not one of which I have been able to carry out in my life. To serve my father as I would
expect my son to serve me: that I have not been able to do. To serve my sovereign as I would expect a minister under me to serve me:
that I have not been able to do. To act towards my elder brother, as I would expect my younger brother to act towards me: that I have
not been able to do. To be the first to behave toward friends as I would expect them to behave towards me: that I have not been able
to do. 6
◦ 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
▪ “This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517
◦ The religion of the Incas:
▪ “Do not to another what you would not yourself experience.” Manco Capoc, founder of the empire of Peru. 6
▪ “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
▪ Hadiths are writings by Muhammad. There do not appear to be any verses in the Qur’an that explicitly state the Golden Rule.
▪ “Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others nor does he make others do so.” Acarangasutra 5.101-2.
▪ “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara
▪ A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. “Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
▪ “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Hebrew Scriptures (a.k.a. Old Testament) Leviticus 19:18
▪ “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
▪ “And what you hate, do not do to any one.” Tobit 4:15 4
▪ “Respect for all life is the foundation.” The Great Law of Peace.
▪ “All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One.” Black Elk
▪ “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.” Pima proverb.
◦ Roman Pagan Religion: Religio Romana is a modern-day Neo-pagan religion based on the religion of ancient Rome:
▪ “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”
◦ Satanism: Unlike the names of other religions, the term “Satanism” has many meanings. Some refer to groups that are non-existent. The Satanic Temple has elements of the Golden Rule divided among three of its Seven Tenets:
▪ #1. “Strive to act with compassion and empathy toward all creatures in accordance with reason.”
▪ #4. “The freedoms of others should be respected, including the freedom to offend. To willfully and unjustly encroach upon the freedoms of another is to forgo your own.”
▪ #7. “Every tenet is a guiding principle designed to inspire nobility in action and thought. The spirit of compassion, wisdom, and justice should always prevail over the written or spoken word.” 5
◦ “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
◦ “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.
◦ “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
◦ “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.”
◦ “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
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)
Who knows, maybe like the “Grinch”, all our hearts shall expand on this day, so every tomorrow is richer and more humbly full of true grace. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSs33DQ1F0)
I wish for all a very special December 25th, 2017. Soon we shall all say good bye to 2017 and welcome in the New Year of 2018. May each day expand the gratitude for that which is… A.C.T. (always choose truth) with accepting open love today, then celebrate in the miracles it creates.