There are different views on compassion, which are based on different backgrounds, including philosophical, religious and traditional. There are different Hindu traditions that considered compassion as self-control and charity, which is evidence that this was a universal virtue to them. In the teachings of Buddha, practice of compassion was very important and it was treated as a sign of good move in the pain of other people. Also, the teachings of Jesus embodied the essence of compassion and relational care. Jesus Christ advocated his followers to abandon their own desires and to conduct themselves compassionately towards other people, especially those in distress or need. For the case of Muslims, one of the core teachings of Mohammad was that compassion and mercy were among the most important virtues that God wanted his people to espouse. Philosophically, Plato argues that virtues such as compassion is the ability of the humanity to acknowledge what doing good entails, and that all people are in pursuit of doing good. Through the principle of compassion, this paper is a review of the philosophical, religious and pre-modern traditions, which substantiates the argument that human universal virtue exists.
Plato’s account of the meaning of virtue such as compassion is a proof that there are human universal virtues. He maintains that human virtue is the right conduct of life, which originates from the knowledge regarding the forms, the tripartite soul and the idea of the good. Therefore, Plato’s most important point is that compassion as a virtue is knowledge, and possibly knowledge is a universal concept. As such, doing the good is to know the good, since vice and evil happen because of lack of knowledge. On the other hand, sinning happens only as a result of failure to know what one is required to do.
According to Socrates, if all men know what is good, then no one at his own free will would dare choose evil. This means that what is good or ‘compassion virtue’ has a universal meaning: knowing what is good. Socrates affirms that when people engage in wrong doing, they always do so with the hope that what they are doing is going to generate some benefits; otherwise they would not have engaged in such wrong doing, in the first place. People spend their time pursuing prestige, power, or wealth, with the hope that what they are doing will add value in their lives, in what Socrates insists that their actions are not good and they do not guarantee happiness in their lives. In view of this philosophical view, it can be concluded that there exists universal human values, but lack of knowledge as to what is good or bad makes those virtues to take different angles (Lunsford 10).
Life of Jesus Christ and Mohammad
During the times of Christ, there were many religions, governments, sects, races and denominations, but the Christ, in his messianic reality, provided a collective center, which unified the people without depending on material forces. Strayer maintains that the Holy Spirit, through his divine power, brought people together, which was a solution to their disagreements and difficulties. As a result of this unification, the bond of love and compassion between people became stronger. According to Strayer, the Devine manifestation, which represents the holy mouthpieces of God were the universal centers of God’s compassion. The Universal Centers of those days also appeared in Muhammad. At the core of the teachings of Mohammad were human virtues such as compassion, tenderness, nobility, and qualities of mercy – all of which were essentially universal.
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