The first question:
What is the golden rule in Gautam Buddha’s philosophy?
Once George Bernard Shaw was asked, “Is there a golden rule in life?” He said, “There is only one golden rule: that there are no golden rules.”
Life is not mechanical; that’s why there is a possibility of religion. If life was mechanical, totally rooted in rules, in cause and effect, in causality, then science would have been enough. And science is not enough.
Science only touches the periphery of life; the innermost core remains untouched. Science only knows the rudimentary; it does not know the highest peak. It knows only the bodily part of existence but not its spiritual center. It is concerned with the circumference and utterly unaware of the center.
Hence there are no golden rules. Life is freedom, it is consciousness, it is bliss, it is love – but not law.
That’s why I am very reluctant to translate Buddha’s word dhamma as the “universal law”; it misses something very significant. Dhamma has freedom in it; freedom is the goal of dhamma. And law is absolutely without freedom. Law is like a goods train running on tracks, and dhamma is like a river descending from the peaks of the Himalayas, going zigzag, in absolute freedom, spontaneity, with no fixed routine, unpredictable, towards the ocean.
Life can be lived in rules, but then life becomes superficial. Live life, not according to laws, but according to consciousness, awareness. Don’t live life according to the mind. Mind has rules and regulations, mind has rituals. Live life from the standpoint of no-mind so that you can bloom into unpredictable flowers.
Buddha has no golden rule in his philosophy.
According to Peter’s Principle, the golden rule of life is: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
And Buddha has no gold – he can’t make a golden rule. And secondly, he has no philosophy either. He has a vision, a darshan, a philosia, but not philosophy. A philosia simply means the capacity to see. Philosophy is thinking, philosia is seeing. Buddha is not concerned with thinking at all; his whole emphasis is on seeing. See the truth, don’t believe in it. Don’t think about it. You can go on thinking about it and about it, but you will never arrive at it by thinking about it.