Monday, May 31, 2010

Different Versions of "The Golden Rule" from Different Religions

HINDU: This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others which if done to
thee would cause thee pain. (inclusive, partial)

ZOROASTRIAN: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto
another whatsoever is not good for itself. (inclusive, partial)

TAOIST: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your
neighbor's loss as your own loss. (selective, complete)

BUDDHIST: Hurt not others in ways that you would find hurtful.
(inclusive, partial)

CONFUCIAN: Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto
you. (inclusive, partial)

JAIN: In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard
all creatures as we regard our own self. (inclusive, complete)

JEWISH: Whatever thou hatest thyself, that do not to another.
(inclusive, partial)

CHRISTIAN: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them. (inclusive, complete)

ISLAMIC: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother
that which he desires for himself. (selective, complete)

SIKH: As thou deemest thyself, so deem others. (inclusive, complete)

We have all at one time or another heard the famous idea that the man called Jesus, of Christianity - not of the Green Day album (though both admirable men to be sure), had once uttered the words "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." We may have even been told this was called "The Golden Rule." What one may find surprising is that those words, ones very similar at least, are not historically attributed to Jesus of Nazareth at all; but instead were actually first spoken by China's brilliant visionary philosopher Confucius FIVE-HUNDRED years prior. Five-hundred years. That's a long span of time.

Siddhattha, the first "Buddha," THE "Buddha," promoted a similar idea right around the same time (fifth century BCE), using slightly different words. Whether Siddhartha heard the idea from Confucius, or it was the other way around, or both men happened upon the concept independent of one another within their own enlightened minds, we will never know. (Though I would readily admit that it was "I" who just typed the above words, "I" also recognize that I might be entirely wrong in that assertion. That is, we may one day sooner or later but hopefully sooner rather than later be able to traverse the space/time continuum in a way that would easily permit us to view events of the past or future as to know exactly how it happened.)

Another question that arises quickly from studying this simple topic is thus: had Jesus already been familiar with the idea before he spoke his own version of it? When it comes to Jesus, THE Jesus, THAT Jesus, there is so much speculation about the man at this point that one finds it nearly impossible to even attempt to prove empirically that he even existed at all; let alone what he heard, said, or did along his travels on his journey to that mysterious moment in time when he seems to appear out of nowhere thirty years after his arrival on earth. (It is a very odd thing this. That the birth of Christianity's great foundational father and son is so well documented, and so too are his misadventures in the last two to three years of his life. But that whole middle section, the real juicy stuff one would posit, have completely vanished from humanity's historical records. Perhaps the Vatican holds the key to all this missing information in their infamous "Secret Archives." But if we cannot even get them to stop themselves from blatant and sometimes very public child molestation, how are we ever to convince them to allow us into those mysterious vaults?)

As a devoted Hindu, Zoroastrian, and Taoist as well a Christian and Buddhist, at least from a philosophical perspective, a big fan, I would certainly pay to see all of them in concert if they ever played New York, I was also intrigued, more actually pleased, to discover that each of these men, each coming successively before the other in our known though shaky history, had spoken almost the exact same thing when attempting to create that "one simple golden rule above all others." In other words, going back as far as we can in our catalog of the great thoughts of humankind we discover that the very earliest thinkers of note we know of had already spoken this same exact idea thousands of years before there ever was such a thing as a Jesus or a "Golden Rule." It is refreshing and inspiring to consider that even as far back as thousands of years ago humankind had already reached this simple compassionate understanding. And furthermore we did not need a religion to base it on, nor base it from. It is at its core purely unconditional compassionate love and tolerance from a very practical point of view.

'That's not such a bad rule,' I remember thinking when the idea was first offered to my young mind as a child. Years later I remember when studying to become a High Priest of Magic, or "The Craft" as it is also called, back in the day that I learned that there was only ONE rule to being a truly great Witch, and that was this: "Do what thou will, but harm none." Other than that, a magician or witch (or warlock if you will, but if you really want to know, the term is not really used behind closed doors - only in Hollywood; men who practice the Craft call themselves Witches just as women do, no difference) can do whatever he or she wants to. As long as they don't hurt themselves or anyone else. I liked this rule. It felt true. Right.

It also conveniently helped corroborate and further explain the Eastern principle of "Karma." Through the idea that: if a witch, or magician, attempts to use their power for bad, such as casting a black magic spell, as opposed to only casting "white magic spells," that the magician will always "know" or "feel" when their spell upon another had manifested because they themselves would first 'feel' the effect of the spell. Then and only then could they be sure that their banishing spell or whatever had worked on that other person. In other words, it was best not to use one's new found magical powers for bad in anyway, not even when one felt justified in doing so, such as when wanting revenge, or even when attempting to protect oneself from perceived potential harm, because the practitioner would first have to feel the grip of the effect of the spell themselves before it became manifest in the other's universe. "Wow," thought I, "instant karma, even in Witchcraft, Karmic Law prevails."

As much a digression as all this was, and though I do not create magic in my day to day life by practicing Witchcraft or Magic any longer but instead just find that I am able to create a very magical life from using other more subtle and less ritualistic tools, I still find it important and an interesting reminder to be vigilant in my thoughts. Karma, though a concept we will never be able to prove holds any validity whatsoever, still may turn out to hold water through our more recent advances and discoveries in Physics. Simply put, if we practice the Golden Rule, irregardless of WHICH particular one we choose - a choice in words more than anything else it would seem - we vibrate goodness for others due to our wanting to vibrate and thus create goodness for ourselves. And vice versa. If Physic's Super-string Theory eventually turns out to be our newest cat's meow and all matter and material in the known and unknown universe is indeed made up of energy vibrations as the theory suggests, then we would be right on track to creating one hell of a good life for ourselves by vibrating goodness for all as that is exactly what we will attract for ourselves through those vibrations.

Yes. Indeed. A very good idea this Golden Rule. Regardless of who thought or said it first.

And isn't it interesting how absolutely close in proximity the scientists of Physics and the New Age Metaphysical types are now vibrating to each other in the theories they are putting forth into mass consciousness? It is a good time to be alive in physical form on planet earth. I would humbly submit that I would rather be here-now than at any other place or time in space/time. (Stating this, one gets the impression that perhaps this idea that our lives are in fact deliberate and not at all random, may be much closer to the truth than we used to allow. Imagine that: I am here. I am me. Here Now. Deliberately. Yes. A good place to be.)

The above list Courtesy of The Committee For The Golden Rule (found through Google)