The following quotes about Neighbours from various religious texts or traditions might inspire some thoughts.
Rocky Grove suggests:
Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbour and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.
Joyce Miller suggests:
A great deal of the Buddha’s teaching is about the monastic community and neighbourliness doesn’t fit simply into that. There is plenty of guidance on how to maintain a stable, amicable Sangha but that’s different. Teachings for the laity tend to be about general principles – the eightfold path and the five precepts – rather than specifics.
The best I can come up with is the Metta Sutta – the words on loving kindness. It’s too long to reproduce in full here but you may be able to get hold of the whole sutta. The most relevant sections are:
’Whatever living beings there may be…
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to be born –
May all beings be at ease.’
’Let none deceive another.
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another….’
John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral writes:
The command to love our neighbour is at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. Matthew’s gospel records it like this, as a lawyer comes to ask him a question:
‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matthew 22. 36-40)
It’s a quotation from the Hebrew scriptures, which was already well known. In Luke’s gospel a similar conversation records Jesus asking the lawyer the question: he gives the same answer, which Jesus approves. So it’s already shared wisdom, but has become closely associated with Jesus, who embodied it in his life and teaching in a way which has inspired people ever since.
Here in Coventry Cathedral we see this commitment to God and one another as our core purpose – to heal broken relationships so that we can all live at peace. That means being honest about where things have gone wrong, and putting in the work to put them right – and inspiring people through our story of reconciliation to discover reconciliation in our own lives.
John Stroyan, Bishop of Warwick, writes:
When Jesus taught about loving our neighbour, he told the parable of ‘The Good Samaritan’. He was teaching us that it is not good enough just to love people like us, our friends, our family or people of the same faith as us. The love of God that he calls us to share in is a love for all. God’s love crosses all barriers and boundaries. In Coventry and Warwickshire we have so many inspiring examples of this. Children have much to teach adults about this. True peace is about all of us, not some of us.
I hope and pray that together we grow in the building of peace and reconciliation.
Dr Navdeep Singh suggests
From Kabit – Bhai Gurdas Ji, panna (page) 564:
Just as worshipper asks for sweet, distributes to all but does not eat any himself.
Just as a tree bears sweet fruits but does not eat them itself. Instead birds, travellers pluck and eat them.
Just as ocean is full of all sorts of precious pearls and stones but those who have swan like temperament dive in it and relish them.
Similarly, there are many saints and hermits (who have no self- interest and are always ready to do good to others without any gain to themselves) their lives become successful helping others.
Dr Jogtagia suggests:
Our Upnashids say
” Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina”- Let all be
” Sarve Santu Niramaya” – Let all be healthy.
” Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu ” Let us see good in everybody
” Maa Kashchit dukh bagh Bhavet “- Almighty take away all miseries .
Jane Sault writes:
It’s thought that George Eliot (of Nuneaton and Coventry) was a humanist and the following quote has long been attributed to her:
‘What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?’
– Attributed to George Eliot
Ros Johnson suggests:
The Old Testament story of the Good Samaritan says:
“Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself ” -Leviticus 19 (17-18)
Ghulam Vohra offers this quote from the Quran:
‘Worship Allah and join none with Him [in worship]; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess.’ [an-Nisa’ 4:36]
Quotes from the Holy Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) about Muslims behaviour towards neighbours
- “Jibreel kept urging me that neighbours should be treated well until I thought he would make them heirs.” [Al-Bukhari]
- ‘The best friend in the sight of Allah is the friend who is best to his friends; and the best neighbour is the neighbour who is best to his neighbours.’ [At-Tirmidhi]
- ‘By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.” It was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, ‘The one whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil.’ [Al Bukhari and Muslim]
- “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him not annoy his neighbour.” [Al Bukhari and Muslim]
Janey Manton suggests:
“If it harm none, do as you will.” This is called The Wiccan Rede and most pagans will accept that – including the implication that you must allow other people to get on with what they want to do – even if you don’t share or even approve – as long as they are not harming anybody.
All pagans follow The Golden Rule – “Treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.” or “Do as you would be done by.”
Heathens tend to express that in the negative – “Don’t treat others as you would not wish to be treated by others.” And they are very keen on the concept of personal responsibility and personal honour which means a lot of rules about repaying hospitality and treating other people with honour.