Moving Toward Global Compassion

We all feel compassion towards our offspring, but what about the stranger on the street? What about the person who has a different skin color or a different religion?

I've had the good fortune, and luck, to get to know the Dalai Lama and to have the opportunity to spend almost 50 hours in one-on-one discussions.  And we've influenced each other.  One of the influences he's had on me is to get me interested in the issue of compassion. 


We all feel compassion towards our offspring, particularly when they're helpless and young.  And then again when they get helpless in old age, or if they get to the point where they can't really take care of themselves.  But how about the stranger, the stranger on the street, the stranger in another country?  The person who has a different skin color or a different religion?  Do we feel compassion for them?  Do we wish to reduce their suffering?

Well, that's the Dalai Lama's goal.  And I call that global compassion.  And the title of our book is Moving Towards Global Compassion.  How can we make that a more common rather than the exceptional phenomenon, something that everyone feels a commitment to? 

I had the good luck that I could discuss the ideas in the book with the Dalai Lama.  So the last eight or nine pages of the book are his reactions to the ideas I presented.  And if it's not giving away too much, he likes them and he comes up with some new suggestions of a very practical nature but that I'll leave for the reader of the book.  It's in the last five pages. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

(shutterstock)
Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less