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Lions Roar : March 2011
55 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2011 view of religion, and, essentially, my life. I noticed how seldom we make place for the other; how instead of entering into somebody else’s perspective, we tend to approach other cultures or peoples from a position of omniscience, imposing our own thoughts, feel- ings, and prejudices on them. I began putting my over-educated modern self on the back burner and entering into the minds and hearts of people living in the hell of seventh-century arabia, or in India two thousand years before the birth of christ. What I have discovered through this approach, which is really a kind of mind training, is that every single one of the major world religions that I’ve studied—whether it is the eastern trad- itions or the monotheistic religions of Judaism, christianity, and Islam—keep coming back to compassion. It’s not that all the reli- gions are the same—they all have significant, interesting, and re- vealing differences—but they do agree on this: there’s something wrong with your spirituality if it doesn’t manifest in practical compassion. confucius was the first, as far as we know, to enunciate the golden rule. this was some five hundred years before christ. his disciples asked confucius, “Master, which of your teachings can we put into practice all day and every day? What is the cen- tral thread that runs through all your teachings?” and confucius paStelonpaper,1910,MUSeed'orSaY,parIS,France/gIraUdon/theBrIdgeManartlIBrarY Sacred Heart, by Odilon Redon