Talks on Compassion

Here are six short talks (under 20min. each) from six different perspectives on faith from the Charter for Compassion, a document (although it is more than a document) that transcends religious, ideological, and national differences. Supported by leading thinkers from many traditions, the Charter activates the Golden Rule around the world.

These six speakers were chosen for many reasons. The five who are religious leaders are not just eloquent sermonists — each one is also known for his or her own compassionate leadership. And all six are known for their thoughtful efforts at explaining faith to the larger world.

Together, these six speakers bear witness to the fact that compassion and the Golden Rule lie at the heart of all religion and all morality.

One of the great blessings of the 20th century is the ability for different faith communities to learn more about one another in greater depth than ever before. We have discovered the profound unanimity that lies at the core of all religion and ethics, and will never be able to see either our own or other people’s faith in quite the same way again. Each tradition has its own particular genius, and we are now able to learn from one another, enriching thus our own quest for enlightenment. These six talks provide just such an opportunity, reminding us at this time of global tension, suspicion and conflict of what we hold in common.

Tenzin Robert Thurman: Expanding your circle of compassion

It’s hard to always show compassion -- even to the people we love, but Robert Thurman asks that we develop compassion for our enemies. He prescribes a seven-step meditation exercise to extend compassion beyond our inner circle. Click image to watch.

Tenzin Bob Thurman became a Tibetan monk at age 24. He’s a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, and co-founder of Tibet House US, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization.

Thurman’s focus is on the balance between inner insight and cultural harmony. In interpreting the teachings of Buddha, he argues that happiness can be reliable and satisfying in an enduring way without depriving others.

He has translated many Buddhist Sutras, or teachings, and written many books, recently taking on the topic of Anger for the recent Oxford series on the seven deadly sins. He maintains a podcast on Buddhist topics. And yes, he is Uma’s dad.

Robert Wright: The evolution of compassion

Robert Wright uses evolutionary biology and game theory to explain why we appreciate the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."), why we sometimes ignore it and why there’s hope that, in the near future, we might all have the compassion to follow it. Click image to watch.

Author Robert Wright thinks the crises the human species now faces are moral in nature, and that our salvation lies in the intelligent pursuit of self-interest. In his book Nonzero, Wright argues that life depends on a non-zero-sum dynamic. While a zero-sum game depends on a winner and loser, all parties in a non-zero-sum game win or lose together, so players will more likely survive if they cooperate. This points to an optimistic future of ultimate cooperation among humans — if we recognize the game.

Well-respected for his erudition and original thinking (Bill Clinton hailed him as a genius), Wright draws from multiple disciplines — including science, religion, history and politics — in his search for big-picture perspectives on today’s problems, particularly terrorism, while offering guarded hope for where we might be headed. A Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Wright also hosts an interview series with celebrated thinkers at

Wright’s newest book, The Evolution of God, explores the history of the idea of God in the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

Rev. James Forbes: Compassion at the dinner table

Join Rev. James Forbes at the dinner table of his Southern childhood, where his mother and father taught him what compassion really means day to day -- sharing with those who need love. Click image to watch.

Rev. James Forbes once said, “If I don’t preach, I won’t be well.” Luckily, he has always had the opportunity to preach. He was the first African-American to be appointed as Senior Minister of the Riverside Church in Harlem and spent 18 years serving the interdenominational, interracial and international congregation. While at Riverside, be brought the church to play a role in redeveloping the neighborhood and hosted prominent guests, such as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. The sermons he delivered from the pulpit were often the cause of controversy, and certainly never boring.

Today, he continues to deliver his call for spiritual revitalization as the host of The Time is Now on Air America Radio and as president and founder of The Healing of the Nations Foundation. His foundation is, in part, a national ministry and the organization is devoted to encouraging peace, justice, interfaith cooperation and environmental responsibility. Forbes travels extensively, speaking out and spreading this vision for a new future.

Rabbi Jackie Tabick: The balancing act of compassion

While we all agree that compassion is a great idea, Rabbi Tabick acknowledges there are challenges to its execution. She explains how a careful balance of compassion and justice allows us to do good deeds, and keep our sanity. Click image to watch.

Rabbi Jackie Tabick is known for being the first female rabbi in the UK and for her remarkable efforts to reach out to distinct faiths. She serves as chair to the World Congress of Faiths, working with patrons such as Rev. Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama towards deepening religious understanding, respect and co-operation. To this end, Rabbi Tabick also serves as an executive member of the Inter Faith Network, and the Three Faiths Forum, as well acting as patron for the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE).

While reaching across religions, she continues rabbinical duties at the North West Surrey Synagogue and is well known for her engaging and down-to-earth sermons. Her synagogue is part of the Movement of Reform Judaism. Rabbi Tabick has also held the positions of Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis, of the Council of Reform and Liberal Rabbis and Vice president of the Movement for Reform Judaism.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati: The profound journey of compassion

Swami Dayananda Saraswati unravels the parallel paths of personal development and attaining true compassion. He walks us through each step of self-realization, from helpless infancy to the fearless act of caring for others. Click image to watch.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati has been teaching the traditional wisdom of Vedanta for more than four decades, in India and around the world. His success as a teacher is evident in the successes of his students — over 100 are now swamis themselves, and highly respected as scholars and teachers. Within the Hindu community, he has worked to create harmony, founding the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, where heads of different sects can come together learn from each other. In the larger religious community, he has also made huge strides towards cooperation, convening the first World Congress for the Preservation of Religious Diversity. However, Swami Saraswati’s work is not limited to the religious community.

He is the founder and an active executive member of the All India Movement (AIM) for Seva. Since 2000, AIM has been bringing medical assistance, education, food and infrastructure to people living in the most remote areas of India. Growing up in a small, rural village himself, the Swami understood the particular challenges to accessing aid faced by those outside of the cities. Today, AIM for Seva estimates that they have been able to help over two million people in need.

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf: Lose your ego, find your compassion

Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf combines the teachings of the Qur’an, the stories of Rumi, and the examples of Muhammad and Jesus, to demonstrate that only one obstacle stands between each of us and absolute compassion -- ourselves. Click image to watch.

In 2003, Imam Feisel Abdul Rauf founded the Cordoba Initiative, a non-partisan and international organization that works to provide innovative solutions to conflict between Muslim and Western communities. He also serves as chair of the Initiative, actively promoting and moderating dialogue between individuals and groups. What’s more, this project was not the Imam’s first foray into interreligious talks. In 1997, he started the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), a group that brings American Muslims and non-Muslims together through programs in policy, current affairs and culture.

Also, Imam Rauf regularly attends the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum (both Davos and Dead Sea) and has written three books on the topic of bringing peace to Islam’s relations: Islam: A Search for Meaning; Islam: A Sacred Law; and What’s Right With Islam: A New Vision for Muslims and the West. He continues to balance his mission of creating peace with his regular duties as Imam of Masjid al-Farah, a mosque twelve blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, that he has led for 25 years.

To go to the Charter for Compassion website, click here.

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Copyright © 2011-2012 Nadine Marie V. Niguidula, M.A. and Aligning With Truth


About NadineMarie (Aligning With Truth)

I find much joy & fulfillment in sharing my experiences & insights through writing & blogging. I created the site, ALIGNING WITH TRUTH as a virtual center for healing where I share my thoughts & reflections, as well as the tools & resources that are helping me as I move along the path of awakening & coming home to the Self. As I live in joy & align with Truth, I AM shining my Light which is how I contribute to the planetary & humanity ascension. Brightest & Magical Blessings!!! Om Shanti. Namaste...💗💖💜Nadine Marie💜💖💗
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4 Responses to Talks on Compassion

  1. Noel says:

    Thanks for the reminder of the importance of compassion. Great videos too!


    • You’re welcome Noel. And yes, I’m so thankful there are valuable tools like these videos that are accessible and available to assist us in our journeys. Blessings, peace, namaste! ♥NM


  2. Laura Greene says:

    I love that you showcase these individuals together because in fact they are all after one love. I just finished a book my Ma Jaya called The 11 Karmic Spaces that has taught me a lot about myself and how I look at others and mainly how I see myself which is direct reflection. Your posted talks on compassion really embody what she’s embracing. Here’s a link so you can see what I mean.


    • Laura, I will not take credit for this post as it’s from the Charter for Compassion. But yes, I do love and so appreciate that they’ve put together these talks of individuals from different faiths. Not limiting myself and not following or being guided by only one type of religion or faith is what has deepened my spirituality, strengthened my faith and widened my perspective on Life. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving this note and especially sending me Ma Jaya’s link. I just purchased her book! 🙂 Much blessings to you, love & light, namaste….♥NM


🌛🙏💖🌟🌞Would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and wisdom!!!🌞🌟💞🙏🌜

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