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

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