Peace is not just the absence of violence but the manifestation of human compassion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 An eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind.

Kahlil Gibran

 

The following words recently arrived in my inbox and are surely worth reflecting on. They come from another heart-based initiative bringing humanity that much closer to maturity and peace.

 As we plan to grow the Charter for Compassion, we are reflecting on the many signs of peace and compassion among us today. These voices grow in confidence as we respond to the harmful rhetoric around an Islamic community center in New York and an unprecedented natural disaster in Pakistan. Opportunities for dialogue, compassionate action, empathy, altruism, and forgiveness are in abundance and we invite you all to rise to the challenge for a more compassionate world.

Visit the site and add your name to the charter:

http://charterforcompassion.org/   

Charter Updates

This fall, we begin our focus on three key initiative areas for the Charter—youth engagement, compassionate cities, and congregational life and interfaith dialogue. Resource development, partner engagement, and website enhancements are also part of this work. We will share more details with you over the following weeks and look forward to working with you to spread the Charter for Compassion.

In November, the Charter for Compassion celebrates its first anniversary. To honor this special day, we are planning an exciting event in conjunction with the United Nations in New York City. More information to follow! As you continue to hold events that celebrate the Charter, November would be a wonderful time to renew your commitment to compassion and plan to celebrate the anniversary. As an example, Amsterdam continues to inspire us with their planning and commitments. Mozes & Aaronkerk recently offered an update:

On November 11, Charter supporters will celebrate compassion with lectures, workshops, music and a Hindu fire ritual. On November 20, TEDxYouth @Amsterdam will participate in TEDxYouthDay in support of the Charter culminating with a presentation of the Dutch translation of the Children’s Charter for Compassion.

The Charter Community

Karen Armstrong 

In light of the Qu’ran burning threats and the Mosque debate, Karen was inspired to respond in the midst of a busy lecture season. The Huffington Post ran her piece as the lead article on the religion section on Saturday, September 11.  

Flooding in Pakistan 

TED Curator Chris Anderson and his wife Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund spent five days on the ground in Pakistan to see for themselves the devastation caused by the floods that have displaced 20 million individuals and destroyed or damaged over 6 million homes. Committed to sharing this story and asking for action, Chris shared this blog entry and videos and Jacqueline journaled extensively. There are countless stories of compassion, hardship and healing sprinkled throughout the wealth of important facts about this disaster the world must attend to.

Monterrey, Mexico 

A major world conference addressing values and culture and human rights, Encuentro Mundial – Valores y Cultura de la Legalidad, will occur in Monterry, Mexico later this month. Children’s activities will be aimed towards the practice of compassion and peace, the Department of Education of Nuevo León will be participating with a campaign where the Charter for Compassion’s message will be shared in dozens of schools.  Over 25,000 students will write messages for peace and practice acts of compassion. These efforts will be documented and published on a special issue in a local paper on Saturday, October 2nd.

 

News from the Charter Facebook Page

We are struck by the use of the Charter Facebook page to share deep insights, offer inspiring updates, and examples of compassion from around the globe. Here are a few from the past few weeks:

Last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, many of you reposted this line from the Charter for Compassion, along with a pledge to always live compassionately: ‘”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…” We remember and honor the compassion shown to those directly and indirectly impacted by the events of 9/11. Let us bring compassionate to our daily lives again, especially now, especially when it is difficult. In response, Sarah wrote, “This September 11th, we can best honor those who died by turning our backs on hatred, and generating compassion (loving kindness). Is it easy? No. Is it better than the alternative? DEFINITELY!!”

In response to the proposed Qu’ran burning, many of you responded with thoughtful comments and links. Michael responded to Pastor Jones, “Dear Pastor Terry Jones, thank you for helping me see more clearly than ever before, the wisdom and dire necessity for the Charter for Compassion. Maybe that was your mission all along? … I will spread the Charter’s message, and I will stand up for the rights of my Muslim neighbors.”

Poems, quotes, stories, and commitments regularly surface online. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, please continue to do so.

Melissa: “If we all were to just move in love, walk, breathe and speak in love, what a beautiful moment we could share.

Lobsang: “Despair is never a solution, it is the ultimate failure. In Tibetan we say, ‘if the rope breaks nine times, we must splice it together a tenth time.’ Even if ultimately we do fail, at least we will have no feelings of regret. And when we combine this insight with a clear appreciation of our potential to benefit others, we can begin to restore our hope and confidence. – The Dalai Lama”

Oliver: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly go into the world and do good.”

Copyright © 2010 Charter for Compassion / A Project of the TED Prize / Made possible by The Fetzer Institute

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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 “The man who speaks of the enemy / Is the enemy himself.”

Bertolt Brecht

Here’s another one that just arrived in my inbox. Think about the kind of world you want to live.

In Unity,

John

By Michael Moore, Michael Moore.com
11 September 10

If the ‘mosque’ isn’t built, this is no longer America.I am opposed to the building of the “mosque” two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.There’s been so much that’s been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don’t want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that’s been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:

1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I’ve gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a “mosque,” it’s going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that’s already there. But to even have to assure people that “it’s not going to be mosque” is so offensive, I now wish they would just build a 111-story mosque there. That would be better than the lame and disgusting way the developer has left Ground Zero an empty hole until recently. The remains of over 1,100 people still haven’t been found. That site is a sacred graveyard, and to be building another monument to commerce on it is a sacrilege. Why wasn’t the entire site turned into a memorial peace park? People died there, and many of their remains are still strewn about, all these years later.

2. Guess who has helped the Muslims organize their plans for this community center? The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER of Manhattan! Their rabbi has been advising them since the beginning. It’s been a picture-perfect example of the kind of world we all want to live in. Peter Stuyvessant, New York’s “founder,” tried to expel the first Jews who arrived in Manhattan. Then the Dutch said, no, that’s a bit much. So then Stuyvessant said ok, you can stay, but you cannot build a synagogue anywhere in Manhattan. Do your stupid Friday night thing at home. The first Jewish temple was not allowed to be built until 1730. Then there was a revolution, and the founding fathers said this country has to be secular – no religious nuts or state religions. George Washington (inaugurated around the corner from Ground Zero) wanted to make a statement about this his very first year in office, and wrote this to American Jews:

“The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy – a policy worthy of imitation….3. The Imam in charge of this project is the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet. Read about his past here .

“It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens …

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

4. Around five dozen Muslims died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hundreds of members of their families still grieve and suffer. The 19 killers did not care what religion anyone belonged to when they took those lives.

5. I’ve never read a sadder headline in the New York Times than the one on the front page this past Monday: “ American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?” That should make all of us so ashamed that even a single one of our fellow citizens should ever have to worry about if they “belong” here.

6. There is a McDonald’s two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald’s has killed far more people than the terrorists.

7. During an economic depression or a time of war, fascists are extremely skilled at whipping up fear and hate and getting the working class to blame “the other” for their troubles. Lincoln’s enemies told poor Southern whites that he was “a Catholic.” FDR’s opponents said he was Jewish and called him “Jewsevelt.” One in five Americans now believes Obama is a Muslim and 41% of Republicans don’t believe he was born here.

Armenian World Peace Symbol

8. Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?

9. Let’s face it, all religions have their whackos. Catholics have O’Reilly, Gingrich, Hannity and Clarence Thomas (in fact all five conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court are Catholic). Protestants have Pat Robertson and too many to list here. The Mormons have Glenn Beck. Jews have Crazy Eddie. But we don’t judge whole religions on just the actions of their whackos. Unless they’re Methodists.

10. If I should ever, God forbid, perish in a terrorist incident, and you or some nutty group uses my death as your justification to attack or discriminate against anyone in my name, I will come back and haunt you worse than Linda Blair marrying Freddy Krueger and moving into your bedroom to spawn Chucky. John Lennon was right when he asked us to imagine a world with “nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too.” I heard Deepak Chopra this week say that “God gave humans the truth, and the devil came and he said, ‘Let’s give it a name and call it religion.'” But John Adams said it best when he wrote a sort of letter to the future (which he called “Posterity”): “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” I’m guessing ol’ John Adams is up there repenting nonstop right now.

Friends, we all have a responsibility NOW to make sure that Muslim community center gets built. Once again, 70% of the country (the same number that initially supported the Iraq War) is on the wrong side and want the “mosque” moved. Enormous pressure has been put on the Imam to stop his project. We have to turn this thing around. Are we going to let the bullies and thugs win another one? Aren’t you fed up by now? When would be a good time to take our country back from the haters?

I say right now. Let’s each of us make a statement by donating to the building of this community center! It’s a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and you can donate a dollar or ten dollars (or more) right now through a secure pay pal account by clicking here. I will personally match the first $10,000 raised (forward your PayPal receipt to webguy@michaelmoore.com  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it). If each one of you reading this blog/email donated just a couple of dollars, that would give the center over $6 million, more than what Donald Trump has offered to buy the Imam out. C’mon everyone, let’s pitch in and help those who are being debased for simply wanting to do something good. We could all make a huge statement of love on this solemn day.

I lost a co-worker on 9/11. I write this today in his memory.

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews