On November 12, 2009, a new Charter for Compassion was unveiled to a global community poised to embrace this spiritual practice as a way of transforming ourselves and our world. You are invited to join us in affirming this important cooperative effort and to explore Spirituality & Practice's extensive resources on compassion.
The Charter for Compassion aims to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other; it lies at the heart of all religious and ethical systems.
The Charter was proposed by world religions scholar Karen Armstrong when she won the TED Prize in 2008 and was asked to make "One Wish to Change the World." She wanted help in creating, launching and propagating a Charter for Compassion. Since that day, thousands of people have contributed ideas to the process. A Council of Conscience, a multi-faith, multi-national group of religious thinkers and leaders, including Sr. Joan Chittister, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Tariq Ramadan, David Saperstein, reviewed and sorted through all the contributions to craft the final Charter. It is not simply a statement of principle; it is above all a summons to creative, practical and sustained action to meet the political, moral, religious, social and cultural problems of our time. Further support for the Charter for Compassion is being provided by the Fetzer Institute.
Resources at Spirituality & Practice
In support of the Charter for Compassion, Spirituality & Practice has updated and expanded the section of this website devoted to the spiritual practice of compassion. Start here to read a definition of compassion and why you should practice it. Then explore other pages to see:
• 62 Quotations about compassion from all the world's spiritual traditions.
• 26 best books about compassion with links to our full reviews of these titles and many more.
• 16 excerpts from books on all aspects of compassion.
• 5 teaching stories about compassionate actions.
• 23 best films depicting compassion with links to our full reviews and reviews of many other films touching on compassion.
• A video clip from Spiritual Literacy in which Fran Peavey, after reading the newspaper, imagines herself holding the globe, feeling compassion for all parts of it where there is suffering.
• Discussion guides to Ulee's Gold and Central Station, two excellent cinematic portraits of compassion. (scroll to bottom of page)
• Daily cue, reminder, vow, and blessing for practicing compassion.
• Prayers and mantras for compassion practice.
• An imagery exercise, based on the method described in The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola using the Parable of the Good Samaritan as an entry point for experiencing compassion.
• Instructions in compassion spiritual practices, including tonglen meditation, creating a compassion collage, and eight others from the world's religions.
• Journal exercises to evoke compassion.
• Discussion prompts for small groups.
• Household, group, and community projects to encourage compassion.
Resources at the Charter for Compassion
The Charter's website includes sections on learning about, sharing, and acting on the Charter. The final version of the Charter will be announced there on November 12, 2009, and individuals and groups will then have an opportunity to support it in a wide variety of ways.
• Watch Video Talks Online from six religious leaders who bear witness to the fact that compassion and the Golden Rule lie at the heart of all religion and all morality. The speakers are Tenzin Robert Thurman, Robert Wright, Rev. James Forbes, Rabbi Jackie Tabick, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, and Iman Feisal Abdul Rauf.
• Learn about the history of the Charter and the people involved in drafting it.
• Find online activities, events, and religious services scheduled around the Charter's launch.
• Visit the the Charter's Facebook page for discussion boards and updates on new developments.