Whoopie Goldberg made a great statement this morning when she was asked what she thought was the biggest sin. Her reply was intolerance. People do not want to associate with those who are different from them. They want only what they want and to heck with everyone else. (There are many exceptions, but I’m speaking generically.)
Dictionary.com states intolerance to mean: “lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.”
Recently, I was reading “Swami for Precedent” by Swami Beyondananda (see previous posts), which I would highly recommend. In the chapter “Pray It Forward,” he states: “We are not here to earn God’s love, we are here to spend it!” And that means tolerating (I would prefer to say loving unconditionally) people regardless of our differences. This does not mean that you have to condone any evil behavior; everyone still has to be accountable for their actions. In other words, why can’t we all just get along!?! We’re on this one planet together. We have no other place to go. So how about if we all just learn to play nice?
All religions have their variations of rules and regulations. The only problem with those is that people tend to interpret them to justify their own belief system. The Swami had a great suggestion, which I totally agree with. How about having just one rule, and that is “The Golden Rule.” It is in most all religious texts. Here are a few that the Swami mentioned in his book:
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. Udana-Varga 5,1.
Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:1
Confucianism: Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state. Analects 12:2
Hinduism: This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you. Mahabharata 5,1517
Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Sunnah
Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself. Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5
You can Google “The Golden Rule” for more information, or go to the Religioustolerance.org website at: http://www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm .
Why is it that young children can play together and it doesn’t matter what the other child looks like, or where he comes from? Their main goal is just to have fun. Hate and intolerance are taught. As we get older, we act on what we’ve been taught by others. And that’s sad.
Fortunately, there is a great movement in the world where people are getting together for a common cause: unconditional love. There are countless organizations and websites that promote tolerance, love, peace, and harmony among all beings.
Let us learn to take The Golden Rule to heart, and starting today, work at treating others the way we would like to be treated. Love others as we would like to be loved. Can you imagine if everyone in the world would do so? Can you imagine the world we could become? Can we say Hallelujah?!?!