logo Practical Dreamers

The harmony of religions



The ancient religions all set compassion high on the list of virtues,  and often enough declare that this is indeed the essence of religion.
Here is a page of illlustrative quotations,  culled from the impressive  World Scripture  web site at www.unification.net/ws/.

(Leviticus 19:18)
You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
(Matthew 7:12)
Always treat others as you would like them to treat you:  that is the Law and the prophets.
(Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi 13)
Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
(Sutrakritanga 1.11.33)
You should wander about treating all creatures as you yourself would be treated.
(Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8)
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.
(Mencius VII.A.4)
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.
(Samyutta Nikaya v.353)
The Ariyan disciple thus reflects,  Here am I,  fond of my life,  not wanting to die,  fond of pleasure and averse from pain.   Suppose someone should rob me of my life  ...  it would not be a thing pleasing and delightful to me.   If I,  in my turn,  should rob of his life one fond of his life,  not wanting to die,  one fond of pleasure and averse from pain,  it would not be a thing pleasing or delightful to him.   For a state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must be thus to him also;  and a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me,  how could I inflict that upon another?
   As a result of such reflection he himself abstains from taking the life of creatures and he encourages others so to abstain,  and speaks in praise of so abstaining.

(Yoruba proverb,  Nigeria)
One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.
(Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
A certain heathen came to Shammai and said to him,  "Make me a proselyte,  on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot."   Thereupon Shammai repulsed him with the rod which was in his hand.   When he went to Hillel,  Hillel said to him,  "What is hateful to you,  do not do to your neighbour:  that is the whole Torah;  all the rest of it is commentary;  go and learn."
(Analects 15.23)
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."
(1 Peter 4.8)
Love covers a multitude of sins.
(Oracle of the Kami of Itsukushima)
Those who do not abandon mercy will not be abandoned by me.
(Tattvarthasutra 7.11)
Have benevolence towards all living beings,  joy at the sight of the virtuous,  compassion and sympathy for the afflicted,  and tolerance towards the indolent and ill-behaved.
(Yoruba proverb, Nigeria)
Gentle character it is which enables the rope of life to stay unbroken in one's hand.
(Chuang Tzu 23)
One who can find no room for others lacks fellow feeling,  and to the one who lacks fellow feeling,  everyone is a stranger.
(Basavanna, Vachana 247)
What sort of religion can it be without compassion?   You need to show compassion to all living beings.   Compassion is the root of all religious faiths.
(Matthew 9.10-13)
And as he sat at table in the house,  behold,  many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and the disciples.   And when the Pharisees saw this,  they said to his disciples,  "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"   But when he heard it,  he said,  "Those who are well have no need of a physician,  but those who are sick.   Go and learn what this means:  'I desire mercy,  and not sacrifice."
(Talmud, Abot de Rabbi Nathan 6)
Once,  as Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai was coming forth from Jerusalem,  Rabbi Joshua followed after him and beheld the Temple in ruins.   "Woe unto us,"  Rabbi Joshua cried,  "that this,  the place where the iniquities of Israel were atoned for,  is laid waste!"
   "My son,"  Rabbi Yohanan said to him,  "be not grieved.   We have another atonement as effective as this.   And what is it?   It is acts of loving-kindness,  as it is said,  For I desire mercy and not sacrifice."

(Mahabharata, Shantiparva 262.5-6)
The mode of living which is founded upon a total harmlessness towards all creatures or upon a minimum of such harm,  is the highest morality.
(Acarangasutra 4.25-26)
One should not injure,  subjugate,  enslave,  torture,  or kill any animal,  living being,  organism,  or sentient being.  This doctrine of nonviolence is immaculate,  immutable,  and eternal.   Just as suffering is painful to you,  in the same way it is painful,  disquieting,  and terrifying to all animals,  living beings,  organisms,  and sentient beings.
(Midrash, Tanhuma, Noah 15a)
"He that is wise,  wins souls" (Proverbs 11.30).   The rabbis said,  "This refers to Noah,  for in the Ark he fed and sustained the animals with much care.   He gave to each animal its special food,  and fed each at its proper period,  some in the daytime and some at night.   Thus he gave chopped straw to the camel,  barley to the ass,  vine tendrils to the elephant,  and grass to the ostrich.   So for twelve months he did not sleep by night or day,  because all the time he was busy feeding the animals."
(Hadith of Bukhari)
According to Abu Hurairah,  the Messenger of God said,  "A man traveling along a road felt extremely thirsty and went down a well and drank.   When he came up he saw a dog panting with thirst and licking the moist earth.   "This animal,"  the man said,  "is suffering from thirst just as much as I was."   So he went down the well again,  filled his shoe with water,  and taking it in his teeth climbed out of the well and gave the water to the dog.   God was pleased with his act and granted him pardon for his sins."
(Mencius I.A.3)
If you do not allow nets with too fine a mesh to be used in large ponds,  then there will be more fish and turtles than they can eat;  if hatchets and axes are permitted in the forests on the hills only in the proper seasons,  then there will be more timber than they can use  ...   This is the first step along the kingly way.
(Qur'an 2.256)
There is no compulsion in religion.
(Sutrakritanga 1.1.50)
Those who praise their own doctrines and disparage the doctrines of others do not solve any problem.
(Majjhima Nikaya, Canki-sutta)
Kapathika: "How should a wise man maintain truth?"
The Buddha:  "A man has a faith.   If he says  'This is my faith,'  so far he maintains truth.   But by that he cannot proceed to the absolute conclusion:  'This alone is Truth,  and everything else is false.'"

(Sanmatitarka of Siddhasena 1.28)
All the doctrines are right in their own respective spheres  -  but if they encroach upon the province of other doctrines and try to refute their views,  they are wrong.   One who holds the view of the cumulative character of truth never says that a particular view is right or that a particular view is wrong.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3)
Like the bee,  gathering honey from different flowers,  the wise person accepts the essence of different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions.

>>>   Home Page


>>>   Site Index