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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Golden Rules from Many Cultures and Faiths

I posted something similar to this a while back, but not as extensive. I found this list posted from a user on the Comparative Religion Forums called DrFree, and thought it would be nice to share...

The Golden Rule takes many forms in many faiths and cultures. Here is a sampling of various forms.

1. 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

2. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
Luke 6:31

3. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18

4. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:31

5. And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Mark 12:33

6. And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Luke 10:27

7. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:10

8. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Galatians 5:14

9. If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
James 2:8

10. Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.
Ancient Egyptian, The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant The original dates to 1970 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.

11. One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.
African Traditional Religions, Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)

12. Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wise to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.
Baha’I, Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings

13. And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.
Baha’I, Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30

14. Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
Buddhism, Udana-Varga 5,36

15. Comparing oneself to others in such terms as "Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I," he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.
Buddhism, Sutta Nipata 705

16. 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.
Confucianism, Analects 12:2

17. The essence of all religions is love, compassion, and tolerance. Kindness is my true religion. The clear proof of a person’s love of God is if that person genuinely shows love to fellow human beings.
Dalai Lama

18. Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.
Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize

19. If we really want happiness, we must widen the sphere of love.
Dalai Lama

20. Tsekung 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 do to others what you do not want them to do to you."
Confucianism, Analects 15.23

21. 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.
Confucianism, Mencius VII.A.4

22. The Sage...makes the self of the people his self.
Daoism, Tao Te Ching, Ch 49

23. One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.
Hinduism, Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8

24. This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
Hinduism, Mahabharata 5,1517

25. Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity.
Humanist Association of Canada

26. Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you.
British Humanist Society

27. Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself.
Islam, The Prophet Muhammad, 13th of the 40 Hadiths of Nawawi

28. One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated.
Jainism, Sutrakritanga

29. What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Judaism, Talmud, Shabbat 3id

30. What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.
Hillel, Judaism, Talmud, Shabbath 31a

31. We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.
Native Spirituality, Chief Dan George

32. Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.
Philosophy, Immanuel Kant, Categorical Imperative

33. Act so as to use humanity, whether in your own person or in others, always as an end, and never merely as a means.
Philosophy, Immanuel Kant, Categorical Imperative

34. Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.
Philosophy, Socrates

35. I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all.
Sikhism, Guru Granith Sahib, p. 1289

36. What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others.
Stoicism, Epictetus

37. Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Taoism, Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

38. We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Unitarian Universalist First Principle

39. We affirm and promote justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
Unitarian Universalist Second Principle

40. An' it harm none, do as ye will.
The Wiccan Rede

41. That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.
Zoroastrianism, Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

42. Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.
Zoroastrianism, Shayast-na-Shayast 13.29

43. Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes.
American Proverb

44. Live and let live.
American Proverb

45. If you love something, set it free.
If it comes back, it will always be yours.
If it doesn't come back, it was never yours to begin with.
American Proverb

46. If you love it, let it grow.
American Proverb


  1. Thanks so much for this. It's great to see that common theme threading the ethical basis of so many cultures.

    One proviso I've heard (but can't cite right now) is that it is possible to do even better than the golden rule, by taking into account the preferences of others. But in a way, this is already covered by the common form "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," since presumably we appreciate having our preferences observed by others.

  2. Hi Tom, thanks for the comments :)

    Yes! I too used to think that "do unto others as you can best approximate they would like done unto them" would be a more refined ethic. That is, until I realized what you have - that it's already covered in the original wording.

  3. "27. Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself."
    Islam, The Prophet Muhammad, 13th of the 40 Hadiths of Nawawi

    Isn't the actual Hadith "Not one of you truly believes until you wish for your brother what you wish for yourself."

    If so, what does a Muslim understand by his 'brother'?

  4. I don't know enough about it to answer Taqiyya. My guess is that there might be some judgment calls to be made because of imprecise translation between languages.

    On a side note, I once heard a Christian say that when Jesus said "love thy neighbor" that "neighbor" meant "other Christians". I believe this (discusting) interpretation is soundly refuted by Jesus' story of the good Samaritan, when asked 'who we should help?'.

    In either case of Christianity or Islam, it would be a sad case indeed if the narrow version of the golden rule were used. Fortunately, I think most have the wider view in practice. As to what the Islamic passages *literally* say, I wouldn't know.

    Thanks for reading!

  5. Found it! Knew I'd seen it somewhere. Today on
    George Bernard Shaw:
    "Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same."

  6. Haha, yep. Thanks Tom. By the way, I never knew this was called "the platinum rule" until I recently heard that at the HCoF service.

  7. Daniel,

    Copyright considerations preclude me from a "copy and paste," but an interesting article relevant to this topic can be found at:

    I find shades of Ayn Rand in the article which I think hit several nails on the head (not unlike the men who are said to have crucified Jesus).

  8. Thanks much Michael. What's the name of the article? (the link you provided goes to a list of them)

  9. Daniel,

    Per my recommendation of the article:

    I believe you may have entered the first part of the link I provided,

    without including the remainder of the link (which carries over to a 2nd line in my posting):


    Put those together and see what you get.

  10. ah yes - many thanks :)