Copyright © 2014 John Edward Lynch. All rights reserved.

The Golden Rule – Live compassionately!


Jack Lynch: (Photo: Pontus Wallsten)

The plenary on Saturday morning, on the 10th of August, dealt with compassion – in particular the need to revive it. Martin Dale, conference coordinator, opened the session and introduced Jack Lynch, interfaith minister at the Onespirit Interfaith Foundation, who presented the Charter for Compassion.

The Charter for Compassion was created by British author Karen Armstrong, after winning the TED Prize in 2008. The underlying ethos of the Charter is the Golden Rule which states: ‘Do unto others what you would like done to you.’

Jack Lynch, while also talking about his own spiritual journey, discussed the etymological roots and the meaning of the word compassion, which he defined as: ‘to be with another’s suffering.’ Involving the international audience, it appeared, however, that ‘compassion’ can have different meanings in different languages. The principle of compassion is nonetheless universal and thus, the Charter for Compassion calls for people to act accordingly: ‘to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures (…) and to treat everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.’ It further expresses the belief that ‘compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries (…) It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful community.’

Referring to the Persian poet Hafez, Lynch concluded the session stating that, ‘being compassionate, means dropping the knife.’

Mirjam Beeler