The Ethic of Reciprocity


The Ethic of Reciprocity – also known as The Golden Rule – is a simple but powerful concept and one that lies at the heart of all religions.

We all know a version of it.

  • Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself. (Bahá’í Faith)
  • This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Brahmanism)
  • Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.(Buddhism)
  • And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.(Christianity)
  • 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.(Confuscianism)
  • This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. (Hinduism)
  • …thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Judaism )
  • None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself. (Islam)
  • Do not kill or injure your neighbor, for it is not him that you injure, you injure yourself. But do good to him, therefore add to his days of happiness as you add to your own. Do not wrong or hate your neighbor, for it is not him that you wrong, you wrong yourself. But love him, for Moneto loves him also as he loves you. (Shawnee Indian)
  • As thou deemest thyself, so deem others. (Sikhism)
  • Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.(Zoroastrianism)

It’s like the story of the long spoons – (see yesterday’s post) – if instead of seeing what we can get from the world, we train ourselves to be willing to give, then we create environments of reciprocal goodness which in turn can blossom into – well – heaven on earth.

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13 comments on “The Ethic of Reciprocity

  1. Trish, what a great selection of quotes. Thank you. I also like the story of Rabbi Hillel who was asked to teach the essence of the Torah, while standing on one foot. He said: ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.’ He was around from about 100 BCE.

  2. granbee says:

    So deeply grateful you took the trouble to include the “like” instructions/beliefs from so many of the world’s faith groups. Reciprocal goodness does indeed blossom wherever planted, no matter field, desert, forest, moutain, shore, city, village, farm, wilderness. Thank you for picturing this to us with the exquisite photo. I for one certain needed to be reminded today to get over myself and look at others, touch others with goodness.

  3. Patricia says:

    If we all really followed this wisdom the news would look very different–it would all be good.

  4. nrhatch says:

    Do what you will . . . an harm none. ~ Wicca

  5. SidevieW says:

    and one more,

    even if it wouldn’t hurt you, do not do it if it hurts them

  6. Patricia Fallon says:

    I love this post! 🙂

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