The Golden Rule is a very important part of all spiritual teachings. A modern version is; "only do things to other people that you would like them to do to you, and if it doesn't feel good to you then don't do it to someone else." Our belief is that this is the essence of all laws. Take a look at your own country, your own religion. Most of the rules and teachings are based on this principle. If we could truly understand the meaning and the depth of the golden rule we would see that this is the only law that exists and all else is commentary.
Here is a short, wonderful old parable, that does a pretty good job of giving an example of that:
There was a man who died and was being taken to heaven by angels. The angels said to him, "We are going to take you to heaven, but first we will show you hell."
The angels then took him to a place where there was a great bowl, so great that it was as big as a lake. The bowl was filled with a nutritious stew. All the way around the sides of this bowl were people. Emaciated, starving, miserable people. These people had spoons to eat the stew with, and the spoons were long enough to reach the stew (about 12 feet). The trouble was, while they could scoop up the stew into the spoon, they could not get it into their mouths because the spoons were too long. So here were all these pathetic people, suffering and moaning in agony, constantly trying to eat the food that was abundantly in front of them - all in vain.
Next, the angels took the man to heaven. To his surprise, he saw the same scene! there it was, a giant lake-like bowl of the same stew, surrounded by people with 12 foot long spoons. Yet something was different here - all these people were smiling, happy, and healthy looking!
"Why? What is the difference here that these people are happy and well fed?", the man said to the angles.
They relied, "Have you not eyes to see?". The man looked more carefully, and observed that one person would scoop the stew, and bring it to the mouth of another. Then someone else would scoop up stew and feed it to the other.
The angels smiled and said, "Here the people feed each other. Here are the people that learned the way of Love."
This story exemplifies living by the Golden Rule, or not living by it, in a nutshell. But it is more than just a story. It truly represents the real difference that living by the Golden Rule could make in our world.
One of the beauties of the Golden Rule is its total universality. It goes beyond being just non-denominational and omni-denominational. As you will note in the story, the issue of religious persuasion or faith was irrelevant. Assuming the people in that story were of various persuasions, it was their Pure Love or selfishness that ultimately made the difference in their circumstances. The division between the "happy" place and the "miserable" place, wasnÂ’t between Christians with 12 foot spoons, or Buddhists with 12 foot spoons, or agnostics with 12 foot spoons - or even an issue of who had spoons or not.
The thing that separates those people in the story (as it does in reality too), was whether or not they'd learned that living by having Pure Love was more important than variations in their belief systems. And that is what this is all about. The concept of the Golden Rule applies to all people, regardless of religion, faith, or lack of faith. It is a universal principle that anyone anywhere can use to improve their life, the lives of those around them, and ultimately, the whole world. Isn't that incredible, exciting, amazing and wonderful?
Look below at many of the major religious paths and see how similar they are regarding the issue of the Golden Rule.
So, each and every day, before taking an action towards another person, ask yourself, "Is this something that I would like someone else to do to me?" "Am I acting out of true, pure love for another person or do I have selfish motives?"
Hinduism: Do not to others what would be disagreeable to yourself.
Buddhism: If one wishes to follow the Buddha's teaching, he must not be egoistic or self-willed, but should cherish feelings of good will toward all alike. He should respect those who are worthy of respect, serve those who are worthy of service, and treat all others with uniform kindness.
Taoism: He who will govern will respect the governed no more than he respects himself. If he loves his own person enough to let it rest in its original truth, he will govern others without hurting them.
Confucianism: Confucius said, "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.
Judaism: You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.
Islam: Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged.
Wiccan: Do no harm.
Christianity: So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Owe others nothing, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law... "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.