Monday, November 17, 2008

Charter For Compassion

Here's an initiative, promoted by the British author Karen Armstrong, which I think worthy of note and worthy of support. It's called the Charter for Compassion, and it seeks to replace fundamentalist differences between religions with a compassionate realization of the common ground. Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous works in the field of comparative religion; I reviewed her biographical study, Buddha, for the Los Angeles Times when it first came out in 2001, and found it a compact and scholarly work which was, at the same time, entirely readable. She has also appeared in the remarkable TED series of lectures, where she initially introduced her idea for this "charter" to restore the Golden Rule to its proper place in religious thought. As readers of The Buddha Diaries will know, I am not myself a fan of any of the conventional religions but this, for me, represents the best of what it's all about. It also represents--religion or no--the best hope for the survival of our species and our planet. At the very least, it's well worth further investigation.

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