I just watched Charlie Rose, a wonderful interviewer of Statesmen and authors whose shows often bring the “back story” of an event into examination. But this time, his author was a former nun, Karen Armstrong, who has become a historian of religion, and now presents a 12 step program designed for all of us, working toward inner peace, and ultimately global peace. I have ordered a copy for my own reading, so will have more to say when I have read it, but I want to know more of this author, (an impressive interview, BTW), whose general attitude and presentation in the interview were exciting to see. She pulls from the great faiths, and speaks of the compassion that is at the core of them all. I will fill you in on my own enlightenment as she teaches me her path to compassionate living!!!
Doing a bit of research on the web, I have found much of interest about Ms. Armstrong. Wikipedia is a delightful source of information about people in general, and has articles about her and the Charter for Compassion that she and her fellows have formulated! I endorse this Charter. If I were in a position to be where I could sign it, I would go and do just that.
The text of the Charter reads:
Text of the CharterThe 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.
A beautifully written call for compassion as a way of living and doing business in our world. It is essential for this to become the standard, rather than the exception, in our daily lives!
There is a place on the web where you can affirm your support for the charter.