do unto others as . . .

The first person to formulate the golden Rule, as far as we know, was the Chinese sage Confucius (551-479 BCE), who when asked which of his teachings his disciples could practice “all day and every day” replied:  “Perhaps the saying about shu (‘consideration’). Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.”  This, he said, was the thread that ran right through the spiritual method he called the Way (dao) and pulled all its teachings together.  “Our Master’s Way,” explained one of his pupils, “is nothing but this: doing-your-best-for others (zhong) and consideration (shu).”  A better translation of shu is “likening to oneself”; people should not put themselves in a special, privileged category but relate their own experience to that of others “all day and every day.”  Confucius called this ideal ren, a word that originally meant “noble” or “worthy” but that by his time simply meant human.

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