In Search of Kindness

I recently read a very interesting book entitled Diet for Transcendence – Vegetarianism and the World Religions by Steven Rosen. In it he takes a look at the major world religions and what their scriptures and philosophers have to say about a meatless diet.

Something all the major religious traditions have in common is a version of “do onto others as you would have others do unto you”:

In Judaism (Talmud, Shabbat, 31a):

What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen.

In Christianity (Matthew 7:12):

Whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.

In Islam (Sunnah, Hadith):

No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.

In Confucianism (Analects 15.23):

Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness: Do not unto others that which you would not have them do onto you.

In Buddhism (Udana-Varga 5.18):

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

In Vedic Literature (Mahabharata 5.1517):

This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.

The problem often is that we consider ourselves to be above other living creatures and think that what applies to human beings do not apply to all living beings, but I like to agree with Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) who is considered to be one of Islam’s most brilliant philosophers:

“Compassionate eating leads to compassionate living.”

 

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