photo: Kopp, 2006

photo: Kopp, 2006

Back in 2008, Karen Armstrong, a religion scholar gave a TED talk. In it, she proposed a movement by multi-faith, multi-national groups which would promote compassion worldwide by activating the Golden Rule. Her idea led to the development of the Charter for Compassion. The Council of Conscience, consisting of representatives of many faiths and many national groups, together with input from thousands who responded online resulted in the current Charter for Compassion. The goal of the Charter is to highlight common ground amongst all major religions and all religious traditions. Specifically, they all share compassion and the Golden Rule.

Since that time, tens of thousands have signed the Charter online. Public events, discussions, and readings of the Charter have taken place bringing compassion more and more into public awareness. Now it’s our turn. This is a call to action to connect to the heart and manifest a bigger Truth than any one of us. How Karen’s idea takes form (or fails to take form) depends on our actions. I don’t really know what my part in this will be and I don’t know what your role is either. I’ve read and signed the Charter and brought it into my consciousness. Now it’s your turn. Here’s the Charter.


The 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 indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

To sign the Charter for Compassion:
If you do sign it, let me know in the comments below. Please feel free to reblog, FB, or tweet this.


Filed under Political, Spiritual/Mysticism


  1. For the reason that the admin of this site is working, no hesitation very soon
    it will be well-known, due to its quality contents.

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  3. monadsamadhi

    Signed it 🙂

  4. monadsamadhi

    Reblogged this on monadsamadhi.

  5. Jay

    the journey from head to heart has profound implications.
    kind wishes, j

  6. Pingback: IMAGINE COMPASSION NOW | Charter for Compassion |

  7. I signed and invited my friends, including members of the University of the West M. Div. program, to sign. Thank you for bringing this to my awareness.

  8. Pingback: IMAGINE COMPASSION NOW « aconsideredmoment

  9. I’ve signed up and purchased the book. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Ian Gudger

    Thanks for posting about the Charter of Compassion. Such important work going with them.

  11. mj

    This is a great post and of course, the cornerstone of all faiths is compassion. Somehow, as human being progress into ‘citizens’ and other categories we inflict upon ourselves, compassion is lost – as are other human values. Thank you for this reminder of what’s really important….

  12. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I had not heard of this charter before.

  13. Reblogged this on A Poet's View and commented:
    I was raised to believe and forever embrace the convictions represented in the Golden Rule. The survival of human existence on this great earth may well depend on this most simple of notions. Please sign the petition if you share a love for humanity.

  14. I was raised by parents who lived by the Golden Rule and implored that their children embrace this most compelling and honorable conviction. I have indeed embraced and honored that conviction to the best of my ability for all these years.

    The essential elements of live include love and compassion for your fellow “man” as an integral and precious component of the human race and life cycle that we share during our time on this great earth. I will live out my days embracing this conviction. Somehow we need to get through to the many who have not yet truly experienced the gratification of this conviction…on individual at a time.

  15. Oh and yes signed 🙂 The Dalai Lama’s writings, thoughts and works on compassion are also really great, for example:

  16. This is lovely Ellis. Thank you, and yes compassion is such a powerful response to these times. If we are all embodiments of compassion imagine the world we live in 🙂 Recently, life gave me hard lessons when I had a really challenging conversation whereby someone felt scared of Yoga – that it would take away from her own faith/practice (Christianity), because of Yoga originating in India, yet Hinduism is as much a faith than a religion and Yoga does not need to done with Hindu traditions or practices as such. The challenge was to stay loving, and accepting of this belief, ie Compassionate. Because for me, all religions are ultimately leading us to the same place, but climbing the mountain on different paths. And “When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. When a thought of hatred comes, it must be replaced by a more powerful thought of love.” (Bah’ai faith quote) … Beautiful world, when we fill it with compassion 🙂

    • I have seen things written by Bible based Christians that opposes yoga for the reasons you state. I also agree that religion is just a manifestation of a different path to the same wholeness. Too many get wrapped up in the diffference in trappings and fail to see the common ground. Karen Armstrong talks about moving away from tolerance (as in, I put up with your differences) to appreciation (I acknowledge and value you point of view) as a next step in our progression. We have a lot of work to do but its wonderful to see some (like you) are totally up to it.

  17. Signed… am amazed that the numbers who’ve signed are not higher… could it be that not enough people know about it… I would certainly have signed long ago, if I’d seen it…

    • I thought that at first too, but now I have some additional insight. I have had more negative comments on this blog than anything else I’ve written. I haven’t posted them because I think the issues are so much bigger than compassion and people are angry. There is some serious resistance to the idea of compassion. There are people who view this as just another way to promote religion and there are a lot of people who hate religion and feel it is the source of all the wrong in the world. There are also people in pain who identify with the pain and until the perpertrator has been punished enough, they are not willing to let go of the pain. Today I read about how 90% of the world is stuck in the first three chakras. This is why the Charter isn’t getting off the ground. Most don’t want it.

      • Of course – the first three chakras… that makes sense of so much… It’s one of the few things I actually pray for, that our hearts may be opened…
        It must have been really upsetting to have so much negative reaction to what seems so obvious to us…and there are so many too who do want what we want… peace on earth and goodwill to all men….warm wishes

      • I was shocked actually, but I guess I must need the lesson. The heart is the key!

  18. At the tender age of 48, I don’t really know what compassion means. I think I know what it means but I really don’t know. I suspect a lot of people don’t know either. A definition of compassion for all your readers would be nice. This is not a snarky comment. I am really curious as to what is the definition of compassion for everyone here.

  19. I signed it a few years ago because I’m such an optimist. I’ve enjoyed reading Karen’s books and seeing her being interviewed on television. I admire her courage, especially in her own struggles with epilepsy.

  20. spirithill99

    I love the inspiration of your site. I am nominating you for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’. If you wish to claim the award, the badge, post, and the rules are on my site at:

    Thank you for all that you give the world.

  21. I love the inspiration of your site. I have nominated you for the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger Award’. If you wish to claim the award, the badge, post, and the rules are on my site at:

    Thank you for all that you give to the world.

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  23. I hope you don’t mind but I have nominated you for a Liebster Award, so confirming that I enjoy reading your blog. You can find details of the award on lazycoffees at


  25. I signed! However, one cannot join or sign anything to truly be compassionate. If that were actually possible… what a wonderful world we all would live in! Heartfelt understanding is never possible by way of mere organizational procedures of the masses. Each one of us is responsible (by our actions… not merely by joining or signing something). Plenty of people have joined (and follow) organizational religions that are supposed to be based on compassion and peace; yet many of them continue to act without true compassion.

  26. I agree with unity-based compassion, but I do think being able to express yourself after being wronged is essential to healing. Repression is all too common in major religions, and oppressed people need to vent their concerns which may, as a result, cause pain to those who inflicted pain in the first place. If we could all focus on our COMMON good, rather than split hairs over differences that only benefit those who insulate themselves with titles and the counterproductive rules of religion, the world might actually have a chance at becoming more peaceful.

  27. I am in favour of compassion.

    However, I disagree with the statement that compassion lies at the heart of all spiritual traditions: some historic faiths, such as the Teutonic/Scandinavian, placed the individual and their friends/family above others.

  28. Excellent. It’s lent and I have always been an advocate for doing something as opposed to giving something up, especially if it’s as insignificant as chocolate or crisps!
    Thanks, I will sign it.

  29. Happiness for Thought

    I just signed it. Thanks for this. Compassion is what we need to make this world a better and lovely place!

  30. I signed it and I will re-blog it as well. It can only be a positive force.

  31. Signed. It is so interesting that I saw this blog today – I was also sent a message about the World Interfaith Harmony Organization today. There is so much unnecessary hate in the world, it is indeed time for good people everywhere to actively promote compassion, understanding and love.

  32. Thank you for your post, so inspiring, you spoke from my heart!!

  33. Thank you letting us know about this..I signed… thank you for the link

  34. I just signed and will pass it along. Wonderful concept that needs action.

  35. I started an interethnic group for women in Indiana called “World of Women.” I have signed the charter and will be happy to pass this along to the other women. After only one year, we have grown from 6 participants to 110! I’m sure many will want to sign it.

  36. I’ve just signed. Hope it will change anything.
    all the best

  37. Yes, I signed this in the first month or so that the international campaign was gathering steam. I hope more comes of it.

  38. I’ve just signed! This is beautiful, thanks for bringing my attention to it – I wasn’t aware of its existence until reading your post. Inspiring stuff! Long live compassion!

  39. I signed a few days ago. Who will join me?

  40. The only concept I can truly grasp, which is not so sublime as to be foreign, is my community, family, and friends. For my community, family and friends I try to act with compassion and decency, without fear of punishment or reward in some abstract idea of an afterlife. Find that action promoted by any religion and I’m all in…under threat of punishment or promise of reward, compassion and decency are just self-serving politicking. Cheers !

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