Saturday, April 19, 2008

Karen Armstrong on Compassion

It seems I keep coming across A few weeks back I watched this talk given by Karen Armstrong. You know, the woman who was a nun and got tired of religion, but was still curious so she wrote all these incredible books about the religions of the world? (None of which I have had the time to read.)

I like what she has to say about compassion. A few quotes:

It is compassion that will bring you in touch with the divine; once you get rid of ego, you can experience the divine.

A lot of religious people prefer to be right rather than compassionate.

It's time we moved beyond the idea of toleration and moved toward appreciation of the other.

I like that last one. Toleration is passive. Tolerance is important, but if it is too quiet, it is implied consent of intolerance. Appreciation is active, and thoughtful. If it doesn't come naturally, a practice of appreciation forces one to really examine the other, to look for something to appreciate. The other can no longer be so separate. When it does come more naturally, appreciation creates harmonious bonds.

Karen Armstrong wants the thoughtful spiritual people of the world to "help with the creation, launch, and propagation of a charter of compassion...." Follow the link to find out how.


Anonymous said...

Tolerance also carries the implication that there is something wrong with the person or group you "tolerate."

Nacho Cordova said...

Hi Enji, long time no stop by here! : ) I do like Karen Armstrong books. Read a few now, although I still shudder at the most religious parts! : )

Darn tootin' on tolerance/intolerance, but the language is used so broadly now. It also still perhaps captures best what we might feel about very hateful groups...? Tolerate them... but much harder to appreciate them fully...