Karen Armstrong unveils Charter for Compassion

The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education is pleased to share Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion which was unveiled globally today.

The Charter brings together the voices from all cultures and spiritual/faith communities to remind the world that we all share the core principle of compassion.  The Charter  proclaims a principle embraced by every faith and by every moral code, religious or otherwise. It is often referred to as the golden rule, which requires that we use empathy -- moral imagination -- to put ourselves in others' shoes. We should act toward them as we would want them to act toward us. We should refuse, under any circumstance, to carry out actions which would cause them harm.

People from all over the world have contributed to the Charter; it transcends religious, ideological and national differences;  it has been composed by leading thinkers from many traditions with passion, insight, intellectual conviction and hope. It was officially unveiled this morning in Washington DC and you can read the Charter in its entirety below.

The DLC is a part of the Compassionate Action Network (CAN), a network of self-organizing groups
who share a common vision for a more compassionate world.

The DLC and CAN invite you to:

 Charter for Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.

Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others – even our enemies – is a denial of our common humanity.
We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women:
  • to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion
  • to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate
  • to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures
  • to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity
  • to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings – even those regarded as enemies

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries.
Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

For more information about the Charter for Compassion, go to charterforcompassion.org


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