For those who choose to bang the drums of war, slam shut the gates of compassion, and greet the hard issues with false bravado…
I offer these pictures of Syrian refugees, alongside sacred texts from the world’s major religions, all of which speak to the idea that we are our brother’s keepers, beholden equally to some version of the Golden Rule.
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. — Christianity (Luke 6:31, King James Version)
Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. –Taoism (Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien)
What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary. –Judaism (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. –Hinduism (Mahabharata 5:1517)
Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. Also: Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself. –Bahá’í Faith (Baha’u’llah)
[A] state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another? — Buddhism (Samyutta NIkaya v. 353)
This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. –Brahmanism (Mahabharata, 5:1517)
None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself. –Islam (Number 13 of Imam, “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths”)
In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self. –Jainism (Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara)
Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others. –Zoroastrianism (Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29)
Tse-kung 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 impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” — Confucianism (Doctrine of the Mean 13.3)
This is a terrible problem, of vast proportions. There are no easy solutions, and platitudes won’t wash away the horrors. I’m not suggesting otherwise…just asking that we step away from our reflexive fears, and quiet ourselves long enough to contemplate how we might respond with compassion, instead.