Dr Nour Kabbani will be leading a Caravan of Peace to the communities in Auburn, North Sydney, Canberra, Minto and Dulwich Hill to promote the Charter for Compassion. In a world torn by confusion and hatred, there is a need to re-iterate and promote the virtue of compassion. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we have decided to adopt the existing Charter for Compassion as means to spread the message.

The Charter for Compassion is a document that urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion. The charter has been endorsed by more than 2 million people worldwide, enrolled 311 communities in 45 countries, and has partnered with more than 1,300 organizations. The Charter for Compassion was recognized by the Australian Parliament in 2010. It was the first parliament in the world to affirm the Charter.

Charter for Compassion’s vision is to foster a world where everyone is committed to living by the principle of compassion. Its mission is to support the emergence of a global movement that brings the Charter for Compassion to life.

You can read and affirm the Charter here

Background to Charter for Compassion

Given one wish and $100,000, Karen Armstrong is changing the world. In February of 2008, Armstrong, a respected scholar who studies the connective tissues between world religions, was awarded the TED prize for her groundbreaking work. With that funding and the support of the TED organization, to grant one wish, Armstrong chose to focus on compassion.

Specifically, she asked TED to help her create, launch and propagate a “Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.”

In November of 2009, the Charter for Compassion was born. It grew from contributions of more than 150,000 people from 180 countries, and was crafted into a succinct, 312-word pledge that allows room for all faiths by a panel of leading religious scholars. More than 107,000 people have pledged to uphold it.

Armstrong attempts to make the journey to a compassionate life accessible in her book “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” In the preface, she writes that, “All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. Each has formulated its own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule, ‘Do not treat others as you would not like them to treat you,’ or in its positive form, ‘Always treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself.’ Further, they all insist that you cannot confine your benevolence to your own group; you must have concern for everybody — even your enemies.”

Yet every religion has a history of intolerance.

“I want people to hear the compassionate voice of religon,” she says in a short video produced by Jesse Dylan.“I want to change the conversation and bring compassion to the forefront of people’s attention.”

Her book breaks the journey to a compassionate life into steps, encouraging readers to extend compassion to themselves and to others, to learn, reflect and act in specific ways.

Armstrong believes that change happens one person at a time. She points to world leaders like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. “One sees what one person can do, the tremendous impact (of) a decision to seek reconciliation, not revenge, as Mandela chose,” she said in an interview on NPR.

It is not easy, she admits. In the same interview, she calls the work “the struggle of a lifetime,” for herself as well as those around her. “Like everybody, I feel I’ve suffered, I feel I’ve been damaged, I meditate unpleasantly on my enemies and feel this corrosive sense of anger,” she said, admitting she has at times a sharp tongue.

Along with the personal struggle comes the global struggle.

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