Glossary of terms used on this site

There are 50 entries in this glossary.
Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
Begins with Contains Exact term Sounds like
All | | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | K | L | M | N | P | Q | R | S | T | W | Z


Term Definition

An ethical theory that regards the good of others as the end of moral action. It is the philosophy underlying altruistic action. See altruistic.


Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.See altruism. (

Authentic compassion

Compassion combined with taking steps to alleviate another's suffering


Someone intolerant of those who hold different opinions. (

Charter of compassion

a statement of principles of compassion composed in 2009 by many religious leaders around the world and endorsed by over 50,000 persons.


Political and social philosophy that emphasizes the importance of community in civic life, in the analysis and evaluation of political institutions, and in understanding human identity and well-being.

Community compassion

Practices and social norms that acknowledge suffering and attempt to alleviate it. (See articles in "community compassion" subsection within the "compassion" section of this web site.)


Identification with the suffering of another or others with the desire to alleviate their suffering.In other words, feeling enough concern for the suffering of others that we want to do something about it. See "authentic compassion". See also the article "Practicing Compassion" by Pema Chodron on this website under "Personal Compassion".

Compassion fatigue

Emotional exhaustion or collective burn out due to a failure to maintain mindfulness while practicing compassion.

Compassionate action

See "Authentic compassion".

Compassionate conservatism

A political philosophy that emphasizes using traditionally conservative techniques and concepts in order to improve the general welfare of society.

Contemplative practice

An activity designed to quiet the mind in the midst of the stress and distraction of everyday life or to cultivate a personal capacity for deep concentration and insight. See:


In Buddhism, it is the body of teachings originating with the Buddha. In Hinduism it is defined as universal principles or as social obligations.


A mode of organizing knowledge, ideas or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts. (


An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially once considered to be absolutely true. (


Identification with and understanding of another's feelings, situation and motives.


The quality of remaining calm and undisturbed; evenness of mind or temper, especially under stress. In Buddhism it is often defined as impartiality, unprejudiced and non-discrimination as well.

Fierce Compassion

An attitude sometimes required to protect ourselves, others and our relationships. In our personal relationships its requires establishing boundaries that are necessary and that we can keep. Wavering on the set boundaries can destroy the integrity of the boundaries that protect and restore the relationship. (See article "Fierce Compassion" by Cheri Maples on this website.)

Four Noble Truths

The four foundational propositions of Buddhist teaching: that suffering is a human condition; that the origin of suffering is craving, broadly defined; that the cessation of suffering is possible; and the way to accomplish this is the "Eightfold Path," which includes right living, right mindfulness, etc.


Short, simple poems that aid in mindfulness practice. See the article :"Purpose & Slowing Down in the Present Moment" by Cheri Maples in the "Organized Compassion" section of this website.

Golden Rule

The rule to treat others as you would want to be treated in their place. Wikipedia's article states that it is an ethical code that "one has a right to just treatment, an da responsiblity to ensure justice for others." It is also called the ethic of reciprocity.

Human Rights

Rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.


The doctrine that people's duty is to promote human welfare through philanthropy or other actions.

Idiot Compassion

When compassion turns into enabling behavior; acting compassionately for your own selfish reasons.


The quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic.


See "Qu'ran" glossary entry.

Litmus test

A test that uses a single indicator to determine a decision.


Groups of individuals within society bound together by a common thread, condition, location or goal- On this site, the groups engaging in discussion on a topic of mutual interest are considered micro-societies.


A miniature representation of something. (


Flexible, moment-to-moment, non-judging awareness that enables us to be more present in our experiences. See the article "Suffering can be the Seed of your Strength" by Cheri Maples in the "Organized Compassion" section of this website.

News Feed

A news feed is a tool for sharing content among sites. Most feeds use RSS, a collection of formats for transmitting different types of media. Feeds are meant to automatically provide news with specific content or news regarding event occurrences. A typical news feed sends summaries of new materials from one site to a number of different sites or Internet locations. Automated transmission of announcements to Twitter and Facebook sites provide similar functionality. See RSS.


To repeat a response after the original stimulus has ended. (


Polling is an activity that offers the collection of opinions as in a social survey. It now can be administered on web sites. The polls on this website ask questions on several issues encompassing both compassion and politics. See the quality of life polls under the Resources menu.

Private Sector

Part of the economy based upon private enterprises. It includes the personal sector (households) and the corporate sector. (

Public Sector

The part of the economy concerned with providing basic governmental services such as public education, the police, military, public roads, public transit, etc. (


The sacred writings of Islam revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad during his life at Mecca and Medina. (


Accepting accountability for actions or events; fulfilling obligations, being trustworthy, dependable.


RSS (usually said to stand for "Really Simple Syndication") is a family of web formats used to publish and distribute frequently updated work, such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video, in a standardized format. Although, another family of formats called Atom was designed as an improvement, RSS is still more commonly used.

Self compassion

Compassion toward oneself. See compassion


Compassion toward oneself; being kind and understanding toward oneself when confronted with personal failings, rather than being mercilessly judgmental and self-critical. (Wikipedia article on self-compassion)

Social Capital

Social capital consists of social relationships that have productive benefits. It is also the economic value of social networks, which consist of bonds among members of a group or community. Social capital is not just the structural relatoins among people but the norms and values held and perpetuated. It is used to refer to attributes of individuals as well as groups.

Societal Compassion

Aggregate compassion across individuals or societal policies and practices that recognize suffering and attempt to alleviate it. (See articles in "societal compassion" subsection within the "compassion" section of this web site.)

Society (Societies)

Sometimes society is equated with the abstract idea of all social relationships, but more often it is a human collectivity distinguished by nationality, culture, geography, shared institutions, or mutual interests. On this web site, society refers to the people, along with their social norms and institutions, associated with a particular nation state.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)

awarded annually to an exceptional individual, it leads to collaborative iniatives with far reaching impact.


To be greater than, or to go beyond the limits of something, as in intensity and power. (


The editing tools on this site use a WYSIWYG (an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get") interface. This allows for easy editing of text as do word processors. Editing of images is not so easy in this mode. The major alternative mode of editing is using an HTML editor, which is harder and more time consuming but offers more precision and control.


A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion- it is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Also called Zen Buddhism. (

Zen activities

Activities in which you are completely absorbed.

Best Sites & Books

Our suggested
compassion-related websites

Our recommendations for the
100 best books on compassion

Compassion News

The ground-breaking Charter for Compassion celebrated its anniversary November 2010 with a 2-hour TED-prize presentation at the UN.
           Karen Armstrong, chief architect of the Charter for Compassion, on Sept. 11, 2010 posted a great article on Compassion and anti-Muslim sentiments on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.
           Over 60,000 people, plus organizations around the world such as the Presbyterian Church, have endorsed the Charter for Compassion.