How can we advance true compassion in an increasingly pluralistic society? My paper will examine some possibilities in the light of ideas postulated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his book Beyond Religion, in which he stated that we are born free of religion but we are not born free of the need for compassion. To explore this thought, my paper will first focus on contextual analysis of compassion in religion, particularly in Mahayana Buddhism and Christian Liberation Theology. I will then compare it to a secular understanding of compassion, including as it is generally presented in neuroscience and positive psychology. The goal of my paper will be to contribute to a dialogue on compassion that is recognized both as an active virtue in several sacred traditions and an engaged inner quality in the secular ethics, and on the importance of advancing them equally for broader transformation of the society.

Enver Rahmanov

Graduate Theological Union

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