The Way of Compassion

TED Prize — The Charter for Compassion

By November 26, 2008 No Comments


Karen Armstrong won this year’s TED Prize, which provided her with $100,000 to spend on fulfilling a wish for the world. She is working with global religious leaders to create an interfaith Charter for Compassion that will include contributions from individuals from around the globe. Visit the site at to contribute your words and ideas.


Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong

The project reminded me of this quote from Amma: “Meditation and studying the scriptures are like two sides of a coin. The engraving on that coin is selfless service, and that is what gives it its real value.” The engraving on a coin is what makes it recognizable, readable, and meaningful in the world– just as acts of compassion give our spiritual values relevance in the world.The engraving on the coin is what allows us to exchange it with others, just as acts of service exchange with others the love that is at the heart of faith.


I love the idea behind the Charter for Compassion project, because I believe that when we authentically connect to ourselves, to our hearts, compassion opens in us. We can no longer stand by in the midst of suffering. Acts of love flow from us like water. We see the world with new eyes, through the lens of mending wounds, bringing love where it is lacking, and repairing the world.

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