Compassion

Compassion

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Compassion is a virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

 — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy
Empathy
Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion. The English word was coined in 1909 by E.B...

 and sympathy
Sympathy
Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used...

 (for the suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

 of others) are regarded as a part of love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 — foundational to the highest principle
Principle
A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed...

s in philosophy, society, and personhood.

There is an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual's compassion is often given a property of "depth," "vigour," or "passion
Passion (emotion)
Passion is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something....

." More vigorous than empathy
Empathy
Empathy is the capacity to recognize and, to some extent, share feelings that are being experienced by another sapient or semi-sapient being. Someone may need to have a certain amount of empathy before they are able to feel compassion. The English word was coined in 1909 by E.B...

, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire
Desire (emotion)
Desire is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. Desire is the fire that sets action aflame. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as "craving" or "hankering". When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the...

 to alleviate another's suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism
Altruism
Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

. In ethical
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 terms, the various expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule
Ethic of reciprocity
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or moralitythat essentially states either of the following:* : One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself....

 embody by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.

The English noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

. Its prefix
Prefix
A prefix is an affix which is placed before the root of a word. Particularly in the study of languages,a prefix is also called a preformative, because it alters the form of the words to which it is affixed.Examples of prefixes:...

 com- comes directly from com, an archaic version of the Latin preposition and affix cum (= with); the -passion segment is derived from passus, past participle of the deponent verb
Deponent verb
In linguistics, a deponent verb is a verb that is active in meaning but takes its form from a different voice, most commonly the middle or passive. A deponent verb doesn't have active forms; it can be said to have deposited them .-Greek:...

 patior, patī, passus sum. Compassion is thus related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient
Patient
A patient is any recipient of healthcare services. The patient is most often ill or injured and in need of treatment by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse, veterinarian, or other health care provider....

 (= one who suffers), from patiens, present participle of the same patior, and is akin to the Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 verb πάσχειν (= paskhein, to suffer) and to its cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 noun πάθος (= pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

).

Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, compassion is considered in all the major religious traditions
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 as among the greatest of virtue
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

s.

Judaism


In the Jewish tradition
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 is the Compassionate and is invoked as the Father of Compassion: hence Raḥmana or Compassionate becomes the usual designation for His revealed word. (Compare, below, the frequent use of raḥman in the Quran). Sorrow and pity for one in distress, creating a desire to relieve, is a feeling ascribed alike to man and God: in Biblical Hebrew, ("riḥam," from "reḥem," the mother, womb), "to pity" or "to show mercy" in view of the sufferer's helplessness, hence also "to forgive" (Hab. iii. 2); , "to forbear" (Ex. ii. 6; I Sam. xv. 3; Jer. xv. 15, xxi. 7.) The Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

s speak of the "thirteen attributes of compassion." The Biblical
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 conception of compassion is the feeling of the parent for the child. Hence the prophet's appeal in confirmation of his trust in God invokes the feeling of a mother for her offspring (Isa. xlix. 15).

Lack of compassion, by contrast, marks a people as cruel (Jer. vi. 23). The repeated injunctions of the Law and the Prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s that the widow, the orphan and the stranger should be protected show how deeply, it is argued, the feeling of compassion was rooted in the hearts of the righteous in ancient Israel. Compassion, empathy, altruism, kindness and love are frequently used interchangeably in common usage. When the concept is examined in depth it becomes clear that compassion is more than simply a human emotion. Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, the Jewish mystical tradition, is particularly clear about this. One rabbi has put it this way: This idea is greatly expanded by Michael Laitman who says, "Thus if we thoroughly examine Nature's elements, we will see that altruism is the basis of life." Here altruism is the word used but the concept is consistent with an understanding of compassion

A classic articulation of the Golden Rule (see above) came from the first century Rabbi Hillel the Elder
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

. Renowned in the Jewish tradition as a sage and a scholar, he is associated with the development of the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 and the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and, as such, one of the most important figures in Jewish history
Jewish history
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

. Asked for a summary of the Jewish religion in the "while standing on one leg" meaning in the most concise terms, Hillel stated: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah. The rest is the explanation; go and learn." Post 9/11, the words of Rabbi Hillel are frequently quoted in public lectures and interviews around the world by the prominent writer on comparative religion Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong FRSL , is a British author and commentator who is the author of twelve books on comparative religion. A former Roman Catholic nun, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical faith...

.

Many Jewish sources speak of the importance of compassion for animals. Significant rabbis who have done so include Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Rabbi Simhah Zissel Ziv, and Rabbi Moshe Cordovero.

Christianity


The Christian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

's Second Epistle to the Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 is but one place where God is spoken of as the "Father of compassion" and the "God of all comfort" (1.3). Jesus embodies for Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, the very essence of compassion and relational care. Christ challenges Christians to forsake their own desires and to act compassionately towards others, particularly those in need or distress. Jesus assures his listeners in the Sermon on the Mount
Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus, which emphasizes his moral teaching found in the Gospel of Matthew...

 that, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." In the Parable of the Good Samaritan
Parable of the Good Samaritan
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a parable told by Jesus and is mentioned in only one of the Canonical gospels. According to the Gospel of Luke a traveller is beaten, robbed, and left half dead along the road. First a priest and then a Levite come by, but both avoid the man. Finally, a...

 he holds up to his followers the ideal of compassionate conduct. True Christian compassion, say the Gospels, should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one's enemies.

Islam


In the Muslim tradition, foremost among God's
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 attributes are mercy and compassion or, in the canonical language of Arabic, Rahman and Rahim. Each of the 114 chapters of the Quran, with one exception, begins with the verse, "In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful,". The Arabic word for compassion is rahmah. As a cultural influence, its roots abound in the Quran. A good Muslim is to commence each day, each prayer and each significant action by invoking God the Merciful and Compassionate, i.e. by reciting Bism-i-llah a-Rahman-i-Rahim. The womb and family ties are characterized by compassion and named after the exalted attribute of God "Al-Rahim" (The Compassionate).

The Muslim scriptures urge compassion towards captives as well as to widows, orphans and the poor.Zakat, a toll tax to help the poor and needy, is obligatory upon all Muslims deemed wealthy enough to do so (calculated by assessing the net wealth of an adult at the end of a year)(9:60). One of the practical purposes of fasting or sawm
Sawm
Sawm is an Arabic word for fasting regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means to abstain from eating, drinking , having sex and anything against Islamic law...

 during the month of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 is to help one empathize with the hunger pangs of those less fortunate, to enhance sensitivity to the suffering of others and develop compassion for the poor and destitute. The Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 is referred to by the Quran as the Mercy of the World (21:107); and one of the sayings of the Prophet informs the faithful that, "God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child."

Hinduism


In the various Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 traditions, compassion is called daya, and, along with charity and self-control, is one of the three central virtues. The importance of compassion in the Hindu traditions reaches as far back as the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

, sacred texts composed over a period prior to 1500 B.C. While the early Vedas sometimes glorify war and the worship of the war god, Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

, Indra too is compassionate towards humans & humanity, though he is war god, he is discompassionate towards Asuras - The evil people who cause sufferings to human race, the later Vedas demonstrate a greater sensitivity to the values of compassion. The central concept particularly relevant to compassion in Hindu spirituality is that of ahimsa
Ahimsa
Ahimsa is a term meaning to do no harm . The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims – to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence. It is an important tenet of the Indian religions...

. The exact definition of ahimsa varies from one tradition to another. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 word which can be translated most directly as "refraining from harmfulness." It is a derivation of himsa which means harmful, or having the intent to cause harm.

The prayers of Vasudeva Datta, for example, a 16th century Vaishnava holy man or sadhu
Sadhu
In Hinduism, sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa , the fourth and final aśrama , through meditation and contemplation of brahman...

, exemplify compassion within Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India in the 16th century. "Gaudiya" refers to the Gauḍa region with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu"...

. He prayed to the Lord Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 asking him to "deliver all conditioned souls" because his "heart breaks to see the sufferings of all conditioned soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

s".

Buddhism



Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. - The Buddha.

Compassion or karuna
Karuna
Karuā is generally translated as "compassion" or "pity". It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.-Buddhism:...

 is at the transcendental and experiential heart of the Buddha's teachings. He was reputedly asked by his personal attendant, Ananda, "Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?" To which the Buddha replied, "No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice."

The first of what in English are called the Four Noble Truths
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are an important principle in Buddhism, classically taught by the Buddha in the Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra....

 is the truth of suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

 or dukkha
Dukkha
Dukkha is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, social alienation, anxiety,...

 (unsatisfactoriness or stress). Dukkha
Dukkha
Dukkha is a Pali term roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including suffering, pain, discontent, unsatisfactoriness, unhappiness, sorrow, affliction, social alienation, anxiety,...

 is identified as one of the three distinguishing characteristics
Three marks of existence
The Three marks of existence, within Buddhism, are three characteristics shared by all sentient beings, namely: impermanence ; suffering or unsatisfactoriness ; non-self .According to Buddhist tradition, a full understanding of these three can bring an end to suffering...

 of all conditioned existence. It arises as a consequence of the failure to adapt to change or anicca (the second characteristic) and the insubstantiality, lack of fixed identity, the horrendous lack of certainty of anatta
Anatta
In Buddhism, anattā or anātman refers to the notion of "not-self." In the early texts, the Buddha commonly uses the word in the context of teaching that all things perceived by the senses are not really "I" or "mine," and for this reason one should not cling to them.In the same vein, the Pali...

 (the third characteristic) to which all this constant change in turn gives rise. Compassion made possible by observation and accurate perception is the appropriate practical response. The ultimate and earnest wish, manifest in the Buddha, both as archetype and as historical entity, is to relieve the suffering of all living beings everywhere.
The Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

 has said, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." The American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi
Bhikkhu Bodhi
Bhikkhu Bodhi , born Jeffrey Block, is an American Theravada Buddhist monk, ordained in Sri Lanka and currently teaching in the New York/New Jersey area...

 states that compassion "supplies the complement to loving-kindness
Loving-kindness
Loving-kindness is a term coined by Myles Coverdale for his Coverdale Bible of 1535, as an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed ; in that text it is spelled "louinge kyndnesse". It is also used in this sense in the American Standard Version and various other versions of the Bible...

: whereas loving-kindness has the characteristic of wishing for the happiness
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

 and welfare of others, compassion has the characteristic of wishing that others be free from suffering, a wish to be extended without limits to all living beings. Like metta
Metta
Mettā or maitrī is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, love, sympathy, close mental union , and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states...

, compassion arises by entering into the subjectivity
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 of others, by sharing their interiority in a deep and total way. It springs up by considering that all beings, like ourselves, wish to be free from suffering, yet despite their wishes continue to be harassed by pain, fear
Fear
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger...

, sorrow
Sorrow (emotion)
Sorrow is an emotion, feeling, or sentiment. Sorrow 'is more "intense" than sadness...it implies a long term state'. At the same time 'sorrow - but not unhappiness - suggests a degree of resignation...which lends sorrow its peculiar air of dignity'....

, and other forms of dukkha."

At the same time, it is emphasised that in order to manifest effective compassion for others it is first of all necessary to be able to experience and fully appreciate one's own suffering and to have, as a consequence, compassion for oneself. The Buddha is reported to have said, "It is possible to travel the whole world in search of one who is more worthy of compassion than oneself. No such person can be found."

Compassion is the antidote
Antidote
An antidote is a substance which can counteract a form of poisoning. The term ultimately derives from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, "given against"....

 to the self-chosen poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

 of anger
Anger
Anger is an automatic response to ill treatment. It is the way a person indicates he or she will not tolerate certain types of behaviour. It is a feedback mechanism in which an unpleasant stimulus is met with an unpleasant response....

.

Jainism



Compassion for all life, human and non-human, is central to the Jain
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 tradition. Though all life is considered sacred, human life is deemed the highest form of earthly existence. To kill any person, no matter their crime, is considered unimaginably abhorrent. It is the only substantial religious tradition that requires both monks and laity to be vegetarian. It is suggested that certain strains of the Hindu tradition
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 became vegetarian due to strong Jain influences. The Jain tradition's stance on nonviolence
Ahimsa
Ahimsa is a term meaning to do no harm . The word is derived from the Sanskrit root hims – to strike; himsa is injury or harm, a-himsa is the opposite of this, i.e. non harming or nonviolence. It is an important tenet of the Indian religions...

, however, goes far beyond vegetarianism
Vegetarianism
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets , with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat...

. Jains refuse food obtained with unnecessary cruelty. Many practice veganism
Veganism
Veganism is the practice of eliminating the use of animal products. Ethical vegans reject the commodity status of animals and the use of animal products for any purpose, while dietary vegans or strict vegetarians eliminate them from their diet only...

. Jains run animal shelters all over India: Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 has a bird hospital run by Jains; every city and town in Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand anciently known as Chedi Kingdom is a geographic region of central India...

 has animal shelters run by Jains. Jain monks go to lengths to avoid killing any living creature, sweeping the ground in front of them in order to avoid killing insects, and even wearing a face mask to avoid inhaling the smallest fly.

Neuroscience


In a recent small fMRI experiment, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and colleagues at the Brain and Creativity Institute
Brain and Creativity Institute
Headed by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, the Brain and Creativity Institute is a research unit of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California, which aims to "gather new knowledge about the human emotions, decision-making, memory, and communication, from a...

 studied strong feelings of compassion for both social pain in others, and physical pain in others. Both feelings involved an expected change in activity in the anterior insula
Insular cortex
In each hemisphere of the mammalian brain the insular cortex is a portion of the cerebral cortex folded deep within the lateral sulcus between the temporal lobe and the frontal lobe. The cortical area overlying it towards the lateral surface of the brain is the operculum...

, anterior cingulate, hypothalamus
Hypothalamus
The Hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions...

, and midbrain, but they also found a previously undescribed pattern of cortical
Cortex
Cortex may refer to:-Sciences:* Cortex , the outer portion of the stem or root of a plant...

activity on the posterior medial
Medial
- Medial magmas :In abstract algebra, a medial magma is a set with a binary operation which satisfies the identity \cdot = \cdot , or more simply, xy\cdot uv = xu\cdot yv...

 surface of each brain hemisphere, a region involved in the default mode of brain function
Default network
The default network is a network of brain regions that are active when the individual is not focused on the outside world and the brain is at wakeful rest. Also called the default mode network , default state network, or task-negative network , it is characterized by coherent neuronal oscillations...

, and implicated in self-related processes. Compassion for social pain in others was associated with strong activation in the interoceptive, inferior/posterior portion of this region, while compassion for physical pain in others involved heightened activity in the exteroceptive, superior/anterior portion. (Compassion for social pain also activated this superior/anterior section, but to a lesser extent.)

Activity in the anterior insula related to compassion for social pain peaked later and endured longer than that associated with compassion for physical pain.

Psychology


A recent international survey suggests that compassion toward animals is correlated with compassion toward human beings. Earlier studies also established the links between interpersonal violence and animal cruelty .

Historical


“Greek and Roman philosophers distrusted (feeling) compassion. In their view, reason alone was the proper guide to conduct. They regarded compassion ( a virtue) as an affect, neither admirable nor contemptible.” Thomas Szasz from his book "Cruel Compassion"

See also

  • Agape
    Agape
    Agape is one of the Greek words translated into English as love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology as the love of God or Christ for mankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term...

  • Brahmavihara
    Brahmavihara
    The brahmavihāras are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables...

  • Charter for Compassion
    Charter for Compassion
    The Charter for Compassion is a document which urges the peoples and religions of the world to embrace the core value of compassion. The charter is currently available in thirty languages, and is being translated into more.-History:...

  • Compassion fatigue
    Compassion fatigue
    Compassion fatigue is a condition characterised by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among trauma victims and individuals that work directly with trauma victims. It was first diagnosed in nurses in the 1950s...

  • Charity (virtue)
    Charity (virtue)
    In Christian theology charity, or love , means an unlimited loving-kindness toward all others.The term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving.- Caritas: altruistic love :...

  • Caregiving
  • Daya Mata
  • Empathic concern
    Empathic concern
    Empathic concern refers to other-oriented emotions elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of someone in need. These other-oriented emotions include feelings of tenderness, sympathy, compassion, soft-heartedness, and the like...

  • Karuna
    Karuna
    Karuā is generally translated as "compassion" or "pity". It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.-Buddhism:...

  • Radical compassion
    Radical compassion
    Radical compassion is a term coined by the philosopher Khen Lampert, in 2003. His theory of radical compassion appeared in Traditions of Compassion: from Religious Duty to Social-Activism . Lampert identifies compassion as a special case of empathy, directed towards the "other's" distress...

  • Self-compassion
    Self-compassion
    Self-compassion is extending compassion to one's self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components - self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness....

  • Shabad (hymn)
  • Theology of relational care
    Theology of relational care
    The theology of relational care refers to a theology of understanding how contemporary followers of Jesus can relate to others, especially those who are poor, marginalized, or considered to be outcasts from mainstream society.-Theology:The theology of relational care emphasizes Christians...


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