The formal definition of compassion, "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" (Oxford, 1984), comes from the Latin word compati which means "suffering with". However, the meaning of compassion that I prefer to adopt in my work with children is based on the well-known definition of the Dali Lama, namely, "sensitivity to the suffering of self and others with a deepcommitment to relieve its suffering".
–Dr. Rony Berger
Motivated by the ancient and universal “golden rule” to treat others as you would like to be treated, communities of people across the globe have recently committed to making compassion a driving force with a measurable impact on community life and on the well-being of all members of a community. The concern of people in these communities is driven by the idea that beneath the conflict, inequity, and indifference of our world societies, there runs a deep river of compassion, a vast aquifer of loving kindness waiting to be tapped, yearning to be released into action that will alleviate suffering wherever it exists. In addition, scientific evidence has mounted in the 21st century indicating that compassion is an essential ingredient in building and maintaining thriving, healthy, resilient, and innovative enterprises, institutions, and communities.
Since Karen Armstrong received the TED prize in 2008 and worked with other influential scholars and leaders to develop the Charter for Compassion [Link], the document has become central to a global movement and an organization, the Charter for Compassion. Since the launch, CCI has been building a worldwide network of individuals, partners, and communities of every size who share a kinship inspired by the idea that compassionate actions—the actions that are the result of our deep concern for our world and all its inhabitants—are not only possible but crucial to the well-being of our species, our environment, and the planet.
The Charter for Compassion envisions a richly diverse “network of networks,” people from every sector—business, healthcare, education, government, faith and interfaith, peace and non-violence, the arts, and those working to preserve the environment—who will bring compassion to everything they do, and who will take responsibility for igniting the compassion of the general community to care for each other and for the well-being of all members of the community from birth through childhood, adolescence, and adulthood to old age and death.