As part of a planned Compassion For Schools initiative, Alex Norman, Director DLCC, spent the morning of October 18th with children of various ages at Brighton College, speaking about the ethics of compassion.
In his Assembly address, he described how as an infant the Dalai Lama was identified as the incarnation of his predecessor following a number of prophecies and supernatural auguries. He commented on the fact that this might put one in mind of another birth story, also preceded by prophecy and accompanied by supernatural wonders. He further noted that the two stories were wholly incommensurable. At least one of them must be wrong given the wider claims of the traditions to which they belong. Science would likely suggest that both claims are false. Be that as it may, as the Dalai Lama often says, the relationship between compassion and religion is similar to that between tea and water. Whichever way you drink your tea – black, white, sweetened, unsweetened – you must have water. And even if one does not like tea, one still needs water. So it is with religion. Whichever one of them we choose – and even if we choose none, the necessity for compassion remains.
Talks did not only cover the necessity of compassion in the abstract, but also its practice in concrete situations, and provided an opportunity for pupils to reflect upon the role of compassion and related values in their own lives. Material for these talks was developed as part of the broader Compassion for Schools initiative which aims to promote and advance the teaching of ethics as a part of primary and secondary education. More information on this initiative will be posted soon.