Recent social psychological and neuroscientific studies demonstrate that specific contemplative interventions, especially secular forms of Buddhist-based compassion trainings, enhance prosocial behavior. This panel offers a rare opportunity for scientists and humanists to review together recent discoveries and discuss pressing questions. Advocates often assume that practices such as compassion training and its behavioral effects are universally good. However, many cultures and subcultures prioritize other values, such as maintaining family honor, over the development of compassion. In light of this cultural diversity, does recent data from developmental and cross-cultural psychology provide evidence for relevant kinds of universality among human beings? Further, can this psychological data serve as evidence that certain behaviors or attitudes, such as compassion, should be cultivated by all human beings? And finally, how do specific conceptions of prosocial behavior, secular education, and human goodness impact the design of Buddhist-based contemplative trainings and scientific research on these interventions?