Morality and Social Progress
We believe that transforming ourselves and becoming examples of our ideals are an integral part of the task of transforming our planet. We seek to return the concept of morality to its proper place as a guide for truly benevolent and uplifting behavior. We believe that there is a widespread desire for ethical standards in social life and a special yearning for moral leadership. At the present time many political and religious leaders are attempting to channel this desire into narrow and dogmatic ideas of morality. Our moral guidelines seek to expand our minds and hearts while providing a foundation upon which a truly progressive human society can be built:
- Non-injury in thought, word and deed. Respect for all living beings is basic to our conduct. We demonstrate this respect by acting without the intention of causing harm through our thoughts, words or deeds. This is not to rule out the use of force if one’s intent is defensive or genuinely corrective of immoral behavior.
- Benevolent truthfulness. The essence of truthfulness is found in the spirit of welfare we give to our thoughts and speech. Remaining close to objective truth is important, but the extent to which we use words for others’ welfare is the best yardstick of truthfulness.
- Non-stealing. This principle means not taking, either physically or mentally, what rightfully belongs to others. This includes the thought of stealing as well as any action which deprives others of what is rightfully theirs.
- Oneness of all creation. Oneness is the underlying reality of all creation. By striving for that state of mind in which we are fully aware of this unity, we can overcome our negative attitudes and base our actions on a profound love for all.
- Non-indulgence in non-essential luxuries. By limiting our consumption of luxuries we can have more to share with others who are in greater need. Respect for the common ecological heritage of our planet and sympathy for the poverty and suffering of others reminds us that accumulation of excess wealth deprives others of the basic necessities of life.
- Cleanliness. Cleanliness is both physical and mental. Maintaining mental purity and trying to remove selfish tendencies are as important as a clean body and environment.
- Contentment. By striving to maintain inner calmness, we develop a feeling of contentment. This does not imply laziness or passive acceptance of unethical behavior. Instead, our inner reserve of contentment should be used for maintaining mental equilibrium and broadminded perspective while dealing with the anxieties of daily life.
- Selfless service. Serving others with the true spirit of selflessness is a key to overcoming barriers which separate the human race. By transcending our individual needs we experience the greater joy of sharing ourselves with others.
- Understanding universal truths. Developing a clear understanding of the universal truths which underlie the world’s greatest scriptures and literature uplifts our consciousness. Deep penetration into the true meaning of any and all words is an important way to increase mental clarity and broaden the scope of our mind.
- Attainment of our highest human potential. The goal of life is the fulfillment of our highest human potential. This fulfillment comes through sincere effort to become loving human beings and to realize our connectedness with the consciousness that pervades the entire universe.