Friday, November 13, 2009

Charter for Compassion,

I'm sure most of you are aware of the wonderful website, TED.  If not, do check it out to discover exciting people and ideas that will inspire and motivate you.  TED has just completed a "Charter of Compassion" at the behest of author Karen Armstrong (The Battle for God;  A History of God;  Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths;  Buddha . . .).  To introduce you to The Charter of Compassion, I quote from in the rest of this post:

" . . . TED Prize winner Karen Armstrong's wish is realized as the Charter for Compassion officially launches...  (Click on this link to add your name to The Charter for Compassion.  You can read its 4 short paragraphs below.)

This is a document created by thousands of people around the world. It is capable of enabling a new dialog between the major religions and between religious and nonreligious people.  

Karen's wish was that TED should create and propagate the Charter. That's where we need your help. Email your friends, and do whatever you can on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. We would love to see thousands affirm the Charter. It's truly an idea worth spreading."


A call to bring the world together…

"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 indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community."

(Photographs by Bonnie MacEwan-Zieman, 2009)

From a few of your comments I see that some of you are not familiar with  You have been missing something beyond great.  But it is not too late.  You must discover TED.

What is TED?  The best answer is to visit

TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading, cutting edge thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas. And in fact, TED has moved beyond those three categories, showcasing ideas from a wide range of disciplines. Attendees have called it “the ultimate brain spa”.  The audience is as diverse as are the ideas — CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists — almost as extraordinary as the presenters, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono. However, it is most often people I have never heard of who give the talks that excite me the most.  Don't miss out on!

Thank you for affirming the Charter for Compassion.
Help spread the Charter more broadly by sharing it with your community:
Engage in compassionate action:
The Charter for Compassion


  1. amen.


    thanks for the link, off to explore some more. and have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Oh, Bonnie, thank you for posting this. It was my plan to do the same on my blog this weekend. Synchronicity!!!

    This topic came up in my living room at the Society of Friends of the Buddha meeting that I host here on Tuesday nights. That's how I first heard of it.

    Again, thank you. I cannot think of a more profound and important Charter to sign.

  3. thanks for the info ! great post as always

  4. Respect one another. The golden rule. If we could do away with prejudices, this would work. Thanks for the info.

  5. Somewhere back along the dark entrails of their now vast comments section on YouTube, you will find a congratulatory message from me on starting such an important topic. TED is amazing, as is Karen Armstrong.

  6. If only......

    idealism as expressed in these short chapters is not within the reach of general humankind, greed and self-interest will be with us for millennia, should our planet exist that long.

    thanks for the link, I will go and add my small voice.

  7. Bonnie, I'm so happy that you did this post! I didn't know about TED until just the other day and was so happy to find such a wonderful and inspiring website. The Charter for Compassion is absolutely necessary for this world and so beautifully phrased. I'm definitely in on this one!
    And, I absolutely LOVE, LOVE LOVE, your photograph of the flower. The detail and subtle coloring is magnificent! That photo needs a frame and a special display spot in your home :)

    Love and Hugs :)

  8. Dan: Yes, I hope everyone who reads this post will add their signature. I hope you will post the charter on your blog too. A different 'readership' will get to hear about it!

  9. Pat: Yes, respect is key. Fundamentalist religions seem to forget this and apply the golden rule only to those who believe as they do.

  10. Barry: Yes! I have been visiting for a few years now. The talks on astronomy, math, health, comedy, children, music, medicine, etc. etc. are all cutting edge and give one so much to think about.

    I have several of Karen Armstrong's books. She is great.

  11. Friko: While you are probably right, we have to start somewhere, and this charter at least helps us own up to what we have wrought in the name of religion and god.

  12. Kelly (ChicGeek): Isn't TED amazing. I have learned so many new and exciting things there - and discovered many amazing, leading edge thinkers.

    Funny you should mention it, but I did frame the bottom photo this week to give as a gift to a friend.

  13. So maybe the internet really can be a force for good after all. Brilliant.

  14. Thank you! I did not know about TED or the Charter for Compassion before this. I just popped over to sign the Charter - what a wonderful thing it would be if more and more people would spend their energies working toward positive change.

    Your photos are breathtaking!


  15. Rachel: Yes, there definitely is good that happens here.

  16. Angela: Thank you for signing the charter!! Do check out - it 'a brain spa'!!! I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

  17. Friko may well be right, but we must not believe that greed, conflict, hate and all those other horrible things that drain the world of goodness will flourish unchallenged. This could be a very powerful movement and the principle of the 'tipping point' has just as much of a chance of working here as it has in other ways and situations. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Bonnie.

  18. Deborah: That's it. In the middle of our worst nightmare, in the middle of devastation, we have to do something - start somewhere - add our voice - stand up for what is right and true. There are so many examples of where such small actions have initiated a revolution.

    Fundamentalist religions are so intolerant. Their intolerance leaves no room for compassion. They are caught in either/or thinking. And they have the audacity to believe that god backs their savagery. We must speak up against this primitive, archaic way of being in the world.

  19. Hi Bonnie!
    Thanks so much for posting this! I've posted the widget for the Charter for Compassion on my blog. Rather than trying to explain it on my blog, I've posted a link to your post. I hope that's OK with you!

  20. Evelyn: I'm thrilled. We have an opportunity here and we must use every means available to us. Thank you.

  21. You must have been reading my mind this morning -- or I was reading yours. I was thinking this very thing today, et voila! there you have it posted on your blog. It's wonderful...! I'm going to check it out now.

    Oh, gosh, what a great world this would be, hey?

  22. I have heard of this group, but never knew much about it until reading your post!!! Thank you, dear Bonnie!!! Yes!! Compassion!!! This world certainly needs more compassionate souls!!! And you, dear Bonnie, are an inspiring example!!! Love you~Janine XOXO

    (Simply gorgeous photos!! As always, I'm in awe! ~J.)

  23. I have never head of TED so am off to check out their website. The thoughts and ideas you have put forth here are very, very intriguing. It only takes a few to multiply to many. Compassion is one thing lacking in today's world...along with empathy.
    Off to check it out now. About that photo...absolutely beautiful..I had to read the photo credit twice!

  24. Jo: Well, I'm so glad that synchronicity brought you here and allowed me to discover you - and all in the service of the greater good!

  25. Janine (Sniffles and Smiles): Ah . . . thank you. I hope you check out, it is such an amazing resource. XO

  26. Dear Alicia - thank you. Do tell me what you think of Almost all of my friends and family are big fans - and have learned so much there - and been inspired there. Well worth a visit. Treat yourself.

  27. I had never heard of TED and I'm off to explore their site. Will definitely add my voice. I gave up on religions many many years ago, finding my own way. It is amazing how religions can be so different when at their core they are all the same. All that seems forgotten though when they start piling on the dogma. I have read a good deal about religion and the origins thereof. It is interesting but I finally came to the conclusion that the purpose of religion was/is to control as many people as possible.

  28. I wasn't familiar with TED but I was acquainted with the Charter. Here's additional info for you and where I read it first.

    Many thanks for spreading the news.

    Greetings from London.

  29. Love this idea! I've bookmarked TED. Thanks.


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