Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Charter for Compassion vs. The Boy Scout Law

in one corner:
The Boy Scout Law

A Scout is:

  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

and in the other corner:
The Charter for Compassion

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.


What a stinking pile of thinly-disguised (if that) Christian self-loathing guilt-tripping tripe the "Charter" is, while still somehow managing to say absolutely nothing. It's really a shame to see the Dalai Lama associated with this kind of blather (although I suspect that he suspects that this pabulum is about as much as self-hating westerners are able to handle). To tell you the truth, I'm starting to worry about His Holiness' choice of playmates. I recently got an email from The Dalai Lama Renaissance folks bragging breathlessly and cluelessly about how their new "documentary" features "innovative New Thought thinkers like Dr. Michael Beckwith (from 'The Secret')". THE SECRET?!?!?!?!? Haven't these guys heard about James Arthur Ray?? And weren't "The New Thought Thinkers" one of the folk bands featured in Christopher Guest's Mighty Wind?

At least the Boy Scouts teach young boys the sublime pleasures of playing with fire and sharp objects surrounded by the beauty of nature and with minimal adult supervision, and many other invaluable life lessons.

1 comment:

Kullervo said...

I love this.

My therapist gave me the Charter for Compassion one time, and I read it, crumpled it up in a ball, threw it on the ground, and told him it was complete bullshit.