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Traditions of Compassion

From Religious Duty to Social Activism

Traditions of Compassion by Khen Lampert
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Compassion - the ability to be aware of the pain of others and inclination to act to relieve that pain-is a universal phenomenon. Throughout history, compassion has stood at the base of the radical cry to change the world order and remedy injustices. But it has also been a political tool for society's power-wielders, who have exploited the sense of calling compassion arouses to hide the repressive, belligerent, and manipulative nature of society's power structure. This book analyses four theoretical models, each representing manifestations of compassion in different cultures and periods: divine compassion, characterizing the monotheistic traditions; universal compassion, which characterizes the Buddhist tradition; human natural compassion, prevalent in modern thought; and radical compassion, the proposed alternative, with its imperative to take action for social change. The book examines the presence of these models in the underlying infrastructure of religion or culture or as part of the ideological mood of a specific era, structuring the analysis around different texts-biblical scriptures and commentaries, the Buddhist Pali Canon and classic translations of Mahayana Buddhism, and philosophical texts and commentaries from the modern period.
Palgrave Macmillan; December 2005
224 pages; ISBN 9780230503755
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Title: Traditions of Compassion
Author: Khen Lampert