Back in the dim dark ages when Eve’s apple was but a bud on the Tree of Life,
I grew up with the ethos of the Golden Rule –
“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you’
I don’t remember ever questioning it, or even wondering where it came from. It just was – and it just was something decent people just did. Decided to check out the origins and found –
“Therefore all things whatsoever would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them”
Unsure what made the old words drift past my mind the other day, but there they were, and I then ‘moodled’ on with thoughts of religion and the many varieties there are in this world. And I mentally meandered along the path of considering the wars that had been waged, and won and lost, in the name of religion. How much fear and distrust; pain and sorrow; with families and communities torn apart because of Man’s interpretations and belief that his personal beliefs were the only ones that should exist.
This twisting path led me to investigate just how many religions had variations of the same basic premise of the Golden Rule, and it’s truly amazing – I found there are at least 19 variations of the words in religions across the world, and across history – check these, attributed to–
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 1970 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.
Roman Pagan Religion: “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1
Native American Spirituality:
“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.
Confucianism: 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
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
And in the words of five of the world’s greatest philosophers –
Epictetus: “What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others.” (circa 100 CE)
Kant: “Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature.”
Plato: “May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me.” (Greece; 4th century BCE)
Socrates: “Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.” (Greece; 5th century BCE)
Seneca: “Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors,” Epistle 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE)
Doesn’t it make you think that if only’ Man could learn to live by his own simplest rule, surely War and Famine and Suffering of many varieties would never need to happen at all. Just imagine any situation you will, and then apply the Golden Rule, or whatever the words translate into in your belief system. The possibilities for peace and happiness are infinite.
The other old maxim that springs to my mind is – ‘Charity begins at home’. So, IF it could begin in your heart and then your home, might it not be like the snowball that turns into an avalanche?
Or will we just let it continue to be that snowball in Hell?
Christine (thoughtfully and ‘moodlingly’)