Sixth Declaration of Principles- We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Be kind, do good, and others will do likewise.)
In recent times, this principle has been referred to as The Golden Rule which expresses that we are to treat others as we would like them to treat us. We are all part of the same whole and any one thing we do to someone else, we are doing to ourselves. Accepting the Golden Rule as a principle for living adds a completely new dimension to the meaning of life. The emphasis is to see ourselves as part of a wider community in which we want to build a reciprocal relationship based on good will. And the fact that this 'rule' appears in many sacred scriptures encourages us to do our part.
Buddhism: “Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” (From the Udanavarga 5.18) Christianity: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”(Matthew 7:12 – NRSV) Hinduism: “Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.”(From the Mahabharata 5.1517 Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” (Sunnab) Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” (Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara) Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow human beings. That is the law; all the rest is commentary.”(Talmud, Shabbat 3 l a) Confucianism: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself. “(Analects XV.24) Native Spiritual Traditions: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” (Chief Seattle) Shintoism: “Be Charitable to all beings, love is the representation of god.” (KO-JI-KI Hachiman Kasuga) Sikhism: “Don’t create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone.”(Guru Arjan Devji 259. Guru Granth Sahib) Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain; and regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” (Tai Shang Kan Ying P’ien)
The American poet Edwin Markham wrote: “We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.” And this is where the difficulty arises. It is very easy to know we should apply this rule in daily living but another thing entirely to actually follow it in everything we do. Even well-meaning people with the best of intentions can wind up living out a tarnished version of the rule. People differ and any interpretation of the golden rule needs to respect this. To adhere to the underlying morality of the principle means before doing unto others, one must understand another's experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. The following tale clearly demonstrates how well good intentions may miss the mark.
There once lived a benevolent monkey and a fish. The monkey followed the golden rule, always trying to treat others as he wanted to be treated. But he sometimes applied the golden rule foolishly. Now one day a big flood came. As the threatening waters rose, the foolish monkey climbed a tree to safety. Then he looked down and saw a fish struggling in the water. He thought, "I would want to be lifted from the water." So he reached down and grabbed the fish from the water, lifting him to safety on a high branch. Of course that didn't work. The fish died.
When in doubt, consider the following quote by Linus Pauling, "I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: 'Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.' … The twenty-five percent is for error.”