Tuesday, 5 April 2011


It’s International Golden Rule Day. I have to confess, I didn't know anything about this until today. Although the so-called Golden Rule is a staple for those involved in inter faith work or with an interest in comparative religion, I had no idea that a day had been marked for its annual celebration.

Here's how this recent addition to the calendar of United Nations observances and international days came about: in 2009 (International Year of Reconciliation) religious leaders in Ethiopia proclaimed 5 April to be Golden Rule Day. Ambassador Mussie Hailu (Chairman of the Interfaith Peace-building Initiative and representative of the United Religions  to the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa) had Golden Rule Day endorsed by the United Nations  (though I don’t know what that means, since it doesn't appear in the list of current United Nations Observances). It is now recognized by numerous organisations around the world. I'm not aware of anything being done to mark it in this country. So it's fitting that it find a place in in this blog.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Golden Rule, it is generally regarded as a kind of moral constant, expressed in a verity of forms, different yet similar, across cultures and throughout history. It is to be found in the teachings of most, if not all, religions, faiths and belief systems and in many forms of philosophy, as can be seen in the examples below:

“And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.” (Bahá'í: The Hidden Words)

"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself." (Buddhism: Udanavarga 5:18)

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Christianity: Matthew 7:12)

"What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." (Confucianism: Analects 15:23)

"This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you." Hinduism: Mahabharata 5:1517)

“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” (Islam: from the prohpoet Muhammad’s Final Sermon)

"One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated." (Jainism: Agamas, Sutrakrtanga 1.10, 1-3)

"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Judaism: Leviticus 19:18)

"We obtain salvation by loving our fellow man and God." (Sikhism: Guru Granth Sahib, Japji XXI)

"Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." (Socrates)

"Regard your neighbour's gain as your gain and your neighbour's loss as your loss." (Taoism: Tai-shang Kang-ying P'ien, c. 500 BCE)

"Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others." (Zoroastrianism: Shast-na-shayast 13:29)

Clearly, this is just a modest selection of such quotations. You can find many more, faithful reader, by the normal means online.

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