UNITED RELIGIONS INITIATIVE Southeast Asia & the Pacific Regional E-Newsletter


InterSPECT (Interfaith Perspectives) features centeral themes and subject matters viewed from the perspective of the different religions and faith traditions.

The GOLDEN RULE is the most fundamental common ethical denominator of all religious and non-religious belief systems on Earth.
In fact, the GOLDEN RULE is a rather simple but very profound precept.
It means: “TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED” or “Do not treat others as you would not like to be treated”.

This is the basic law of peaceful human coexistence and can, therefore, be characterized as the mother of ethics or the constitution of humankind.
As a matter of fact, the GOLDEN RULE is found in the holy scriptures of all major religions and faiths – in different words but with the same divine meaning.

Below are the interpretations of the Golden Rule in the different faith traditions:

"This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."
— Mahabharata 5:1517

What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah (the basic law); all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn."
— Rabbi Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a

ZOROASTRIANISM:"That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself"
— Dadistan-i- dinik 94:5

"Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others."
— Shayast-na- Shayast 13:29

"A state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?"
— Samyutta Nikaya v. 353

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."
— Udana-Varga 5:18

"Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you"
— Analects 15:23

"One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself"
— Mencius VII.A.4

"Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss."
— T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien 213-218, Lao Tzu

"The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"

"A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated."
— Sutrakritanga 1.11.33, Mahavira

"In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law (of God) and (the teachings of ) the prophets."
— Matthew 7:12 ; Luke 6:31

"No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."
— Hadith of an-Nawawi 13

“If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this."
— Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order

“Do as you desire goodness for yourself as you cannot expect tasty fruits if you sow thorny trees.”
— Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Slok 23, p. 1379

"Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not."

"Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself."
— Baha'u'llah

"And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself."
— Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

"And it harm no one, do what thou wilt."
— The Wiccan Rede

PIMA (Native American):
"Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself."
(a Pima proverb)

YORUBA (Nigeria):
"One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."

"Do not strive to cause your neighbor’s undoing, for as you strive for your own good treatment, so render it to others."

"That which you do not want others to do unto your spouse, child and sibling, do not do to another's spouse, child and sibling."
— Emilio Jacinto, Kartilya ng Katipunan

"Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others."
— Isocrates (436-338 BCE)

"We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent of all existence of which we are a part."
— Unitarian Principles

There are many other moral values and ethical standards which are shared by all faiths and belief systems, like the respect for human rights (i.e. every human being must be treated humanely), love and compassion, justice, caring and sharing, environment (nature) protection, honesty, integrity, accountability, etc.

Let us try to make the Golden Rule and the many other common ethical standards and shared moral values to be accepted as the global ethic of human kind by as many people as possible!

We should do this not only in our families but also in the school system. This means that education about the Golden Rule, shared moral values and common ethical standards should become an integral part of the curricula. Such an education would be a peaceful but forceful weapon against the spread of extremism on all sides.

Obviously, if the great majority of people practice the Golden Rule, we would definitely live in a better and much more peaceful and just world.

(by Peter Schier, Konrad Adeneur Foundation & inaugural member of MIN-CC, Malaysia)

URI Statement on the Crisis in the Middle East

(Approved by the Standing Committee on behalf of the Global Council of
the United Religions Initiative)

As trustees of the Global Council of the United Religions Initiative, we write to urge an immediate and complete ceasefire of violence that is currently happening in the Middle East, and a commitment by all parties, including the international community and the world's religions, to find the will to complete, implement and invest in a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We write as leaders of the URI, a global interfaith organization active in 70 countries, through the work of 400 member Cooperation Circles. URI's purpose is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. We have many members in the Middle East, including Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and Egyptians. The URI has consultative status at the UN through ECOSOC.

As leaders of an interfaith organization dedicated to resolving conflict without resorting to violence, we recognize and laud the heroic work of Palestinians, Israelis and peace advocates all over the world who are dedicated to rising above the violence and working for peace, justice and healing.

We believe that a new day is possible when a comprehensive, just peace will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

We call on all involved - Israelis and Palestinians, people of other nations, international bodies, religions, and grassroots groups working heroically for peace - to take the following steps to speed the dawning of that day:

* To stop the violence immediately.

* To supply immediate humanitarian aid to address urgent suffering and long-term aid to rebuild.

* To commit to negotiate, invest in and implement a comprehensive peace agreement that will allow current and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis to live their lives in peace.

* To invest in every means possible to weave a fabric of genuine, mutually honoring community among Palestinians and Israelis at the grassroots level.

* To invest less in armaments and more in social and economic infrastructure.

We commit to do all we are able, beginning with support for URI member Cooperation Circles in Israel and Palestine, and engaging our members around the world to help these steps be fulfilled.

And we commit to pray and meditate that violence will cease, peace prevail and a life of hope be restored to the long-suffering people of this region.

URI Global Youth CC Statement on the current situation in Gaza.

We, the members of the Global Youth Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative, wish to express our concern at the current situation in Gaza. Conflict creates hardship and fear for people on both sides and takes its toll on civilians, both young and old, and the livelihood of communities and economies.

As a youth network we sympathise with our fellows, the young people who are caught up in the crisis, in both Gaza and in the Israeli communities that live in fear of rocket attacks. Young people are the future of any community and we feel that they should not have to live amidst a cycle of violence and hardship. In order for young people to make meaningful and healthy contributions to society, it is imperative that they grow and develop within a space of security and integrity.

We are also concerned about those who are vulnerable in these times, such as the elderly and the sick. They need access to medical resources and clean, safe environments. In times of crisis these people suffer the most because basic facilities are less accessible.

They also need to live without the fear created by constant attacks. This situation is robbing people on both sides of basic human rights that are theirs by international law.

We implore both sides to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation and reduce hostilities so that aid and supplies can reach the people of Gaza to alleviate their suffering and so the Israeli people can live without fear. It is our hope that both sides can cooperate in order to achieve a lasting peace and quality of life for all people. Our goal, as members of a global interfaith community, is to achieve this all over the world.