Bahai News -- The words may be different, but ‘golden rule’ is the same

The words may be different, but ‘golden rule’ is the same

BY GAYLE WHITE COX NEWS SERVICE

Most major religions of the world have at least one thing in common: the "golden rule." Many Americans grow up learning it as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

BAHAI The Bahai faith is identified with a man who took the name Baha’u’llah, which means "Glory of God" in Persian. This religion is less than 200 years old. It claims 6.9 million followers in more than 200 countries and territories. People of the Bahai faith believe in one God, who has many messengers. "Choose for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself." BUDDHISM Buddha means "the awakened one" in Sanskrit, an ancient language of India. The title was given to Siddhartha Gautama, who was born about 566 B. C. into a royal family in what is now Nepal. Buddhism teaches that Buddha suddenly realized the secrets of the universe while he sat under a bodhi tree meditating. Buddha did not claim to be divine and did not point to any god. There are 356 million Buddhists worldwide. "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful."

CHRISTIANITY Christianity was founded 2,000 years ago by the followers of Jesus, a Jewish man born in Palestine. The calendar most people use today dates from the time of his birth. Christians believe Jesus is God’s son. They teach that he was crucified, or nailed to a cross, to die for everyone’s sins and that he rose from the dead and is in heaven. One of every three people in the world is Christian. "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you." CONFUCIANISM When the K’ung family, which was living in what is now the Shantung province of China, had a baby boy about 551 B. C., they named him Ch’iu. Later, his followers called him K’ung Fu-tzy, or K’ung the Master. In the West, he is known as Confucius. He became a teacher of arts and mathematics. He also emphasized the need for harmony and order in society. His teachings were passed down through generations in China and other parts of Asia. The World Almanac estimates the number of Confucianists at 6.2 million today. "Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself."

HINDUISM Hinduism cannot be traced to a single founder. It evolved over thousands of years in India. Most of the world’s 800 million Hindus still live in India, but many now live in the United States. Hindus generally accept that there is one supreme god, but they worship that god in a variety of forms. These include Vishnu, the protector of the universe; Brahma, who is in charge of creation; and Shiva, the destroyer. "Do naught to others which, if done to thee, would cause thee pain: This is the sum of duty."

ISLAM Followers of Islam are known as Muslims. They believe in God, whom they call Allah. The religion claims roots going back to Ibrahim (Abraham) of the Bible. Islam’s founder was Hadhrat Muhammad, who was born in Saudi Arabia about 570 and died in 632. There are 1.1 billion Muslims, who believe Muhammad received messages from God. So many followers of Islam have named their children in his honor that more people have the name Muhammad than any other name in the world. "Not one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself."

JAINISM Jainism takes its name from the word "jinas," which means conquerors. The title doesn’t refer to military conquering, but to victory over the cycles of life. The religion began in northeastern India during the sixth century B. C. with a man known as Mahavira, or "Great Hero." Jains do not believe in a supreme being or god. The world’s 4 million Jains are known for their respect for all creatures — with good deeds toward insects among the things considered worthy of praise. "One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated." JUDAISM Jews consider Abraham, a shepherd who lived 4,000 years ago, as the first Jew. Abraham is considered the first to have recognized and worshipped the one God, Yahweh. They believe God created the universe and requires people to live morally and ethically. The 10 Commandments are the basic rules of Judaism, which claims 14 million followers worldwide. "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man."

SIKHISM A spiritual teacher named Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism. He was born in the Punjab region of India in 1469. He said all people are equal in the view of the divine. There are 23 million Sikhs worldwide. "Treat others as you would be treated yourself."

©Copyright 2002, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE


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