Jun 29, 2009

The Heart Of Culture and Society – The Golden Rule

We tend to notice differences more than similarities when encountering other races or cultures. Yet we(the human race) have more in common than most people realize. A citizen of any country wants economic prosperity, peaceful conditions to live and raise a family, entertainment, freedom of choice and so on.

Governments come and go but the basic morality and compassion of the people remain the same through out the ages. Unless acted upon by an outside force. Be it invasion, famine, propaganda, despotism or revolution.

An ex-nun turned scholar by the name of Karen Armstrong is one of the individuals who has understood that compassion is the foundation upon which the whole planet can establish a lasting peace. Towards that end she has established the ‘Charter for Compassion’. As stated on the website:

The Charter does NOT assume:
-all religions are the same
-compassion is the only thing that matters in religion
-religious people have a monopoly on compassion

The Charter DOES affirm that:
-compassion is celebrated in all major religious, spiritual and ethical traditions
-the Golden Rule is our prime duty and cannot be limited to our own political, religious or ethnic group
-therefore, in our divided world, compassion can build common ground

The Charter for Compassion is a collaborative project that has stories from different parts of the world on it’s website and is currently in the process of completing a final document to describe the tenets of the charter.

The Charter for Compassion is the concrete document around which a grassroots movement will coalesce. Your personal stories are the life of this movement.

The following quotes have been taken from several cultures belief systems. They reflect the strong theme of compassion and non-judgment that runs through all the major world religions.

The golden rule, kindness, mercy, compassion:

Those who act kindly in this world will have kindness.
Islam. Qur'an 39.10

Those who do not abandon mercy will not be abandoned by me.
Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Itsukushima

The man of perfect virtue, wishing to be established himself, seeks also to establish others; wishing to be enlarged himself, he seeks also to enlarge others.
Confucianism. Analects 6.28.2

God enjoins justice, kindness, and charity to one's kindred, and forbids indecency, abomination, and oppression. He admonishes you so that you may take heed.
Islam. Qur'an 16.90

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Leviticus 19.18

Do not judge thy comrade until thou hast stood in his place.
Judaism. Mishnah, Abot 2.5

If you efface and overlook and forgive, then lo! God is forgiving, merciful.
Islam. Qur'an 64.14

The superior man tends to forgive wrongs and deals leniently with crimes.
Confucianism. I Ching 40: Release

You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Judaism and Christianity. Leviticus 19.18

Better and more rewarding is God's reward to those who believe and put their trust in Him: who avoid gross sins and indecencies and, when angered, are willing to forgive... Let evil be rewarded by like evil, but he who forgives and seeks reconciliation shall be rewarded by God. He does not love the wrongdoers.... True constancy lies in forgiveness and patient forbearance.
Islam. Qur'an 42.36-43

Confucius said, "The gentleman calls attention to the good points in others; he does not call attention to their defects. The small man does just the reverse of this."
Confucianism. Analects 12.16

He who treads the Path in earnest Sees not the mistakes of the world; If we find fault with others We ourselves are also in the wrong. When other people are in the wrong, we should ignore it, For it is wrong for us to find fault. By getting rid of this habit of fault-finding We cut off a source of defilement. When neither hatred nor love disturb our mind Serenely we sleep.
Buddhism. Sutra of Hui Neng 2

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
Christianity. Matthew 7.1-5

Happy is the person who finds fault with himself instead of finding fault with others.
Islam. Hadith

Let there be no compulsion in religion
Islam Qur'an 2:256

Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
Christianity. Bible, Matthew 7.12

Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Islam. Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13

If you efface and overlook and forgive, then lo! God is forgiving, merciful.
Islam. Qur'an 64.14

What sort of religion can it be without compassion? You need to show compassion to all living beings. Compassion is the root of all religious faiths.
Hinduism. Basavanna, Vachana 247

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."
"Therefore the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, the lord ordered him to be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
Christianity. Matthew 18.21-35

The vile are ever prone to detect the faults of others, though they be as small as mustard seeds, and persistently shut their eyes against their own, though they be as large as Vilva fruit.
Hinduism. Garuda Purana 112

A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half-dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So like- wise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go, and do likewise."
Christianity. Luke 10.25-37: Parable of the Good Samaritan

Easily seen are others' faults, hard indeed to see are one's own. Like chaff one winnows others' faults, but one's own one hides, as a crafty fowler conceals himself by camouflage.
He who sees others' faults is ever irritable--his corruptions grow. He is far from the destruction of the corruptions.
Buddhism. Dhammapada 252-53

Better and more rewarding is God's reward to those who believe and put their trust in Him: who avoid gross sins and indecencies and, when angered, are willing to forgive... Let evil be rewarded by like evil, but he who forgives and seeks reconciliation shall be rewarded by God. He does not love the wrongdoers.... True constancy lies in forgiveness and patient forbearance.
Islam. Qur'an 42.36-43


The seal of God is truth.
Judaism. Talmud, Shabbat 55

Keep your conscience clear.
Christianity. 1 Peter 3.16

One should utter the truth.
Buddhism. Dhammapada 224

Let your conduct be marked by truthfulness in word, deed, and thought.
Hinduism. Taittiriya Upanishad 1.11.1

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it concerns rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.
Islam. Qur'an 4.135

Tzu-chang asked about getting on with people. The Master said, "Be loyal and true to your every word, serious and careful in all you do, and you will get on well enough even though you find yourself among barbarians. But if you are disloyal and untrustworthy in your speech, frivolous and careless in your acts, even though you are among your own neighbors, how can you hope to get on well?"
Confucianism. Analects 15.5

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