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Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

af Karen Armstrong

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
9002122,689 (3.84)11
Taking as her starting point the teachings of the great world religions, Karen Armstrong demonstrates in twelve practical steps how we can bring compassion to the forefront of our lives. Armstrong argues that compassion is inseparable from humanity, and by transcending the limitations of selfishness on a daily basis we will not only make a difference in the world but also lead happier, more fulfilled, lives.… (mere)

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» Se også 11 omtaler

Engelsk (20)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (21)
Viser 1-5 af 21 (næste | vis alle)
This is a very practical book on probably the most important subject there is. Armstrong does a very good job on bridging the personal and the political. This is a book I will keep, to read multiple times. ( )
  kukulaj | Nov 25, 2023 |
Began reading with Ruby's bookclub in Dallas, TX; COVID pandemic halted our meetings in late 2019. Book was put on 2023 list for Progressive Group and I finished it. Am now trying to find a way I can implement the 12 steps.
  Elizabeth80 | Nov 17, 2023 |
About the author author: quoting from the book's dust jacket: "Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous other books on religious affairs. In February 2008 she was awarded the TED Prize and began working on the Charter for Compassion, , ,The Charter was signed in November 2009 by a thousand religious and secular leaders." About the book: the reviewer for "The Economist," said of this work, "[Armstrong] has delivered something people badly want: a way to acknowledge that faith can be taken seriously as a response to deep human yearnings without needing to subscribe to the formality of organized belief."
  uufnn | May 18, 2023 |
This is yet another book that is good but disappointing because it did not live up to my expectations.

I am a big fan of Karen Armstrong. Although she is selective in what she chooses to focus on in her writing, she is still, in my opinion, one of the best religious historians when it comes to writing books that are readable, compassionate, intellectually challenging, and jam packed with information.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is, quite intentionally, a very different type of book. It is supposed to be a guide to implementing the ideas in the Charter for Compassion [1] championed by Armstrong. However, Armstrong, the religious historian, seems to have a difficult time communicating the practical.

The book is full of great elements that just don't quite add up to a coherent text. In ~200 pages, Armstrong tries to cover a survey of compassion in different religious traditions, a philosophical discussion of what compassion is and why it is necessary, and a practical plan for increasing the compassion in your life. These threads all get jumbled up, and that makes it hard to pull the value from that book.

In what is both disappointing and supportive of the book's overall value, a lot of the problems were merely organizational. A strong editor who encouraged the use of things like section breaks and parallel structure could have transformed this from an average book to a great book.

All that said, the real value of this book is in practice, not intellectual assent. Armstrong's steps, if applied with appropriate effort, do seem like they would result in a more compassionate self.

The steps do not stand on their own, but for completeness I will list them anyway. Note that some of the steps are sequential while others are not -- this was one of my organizational quibbles with the book (also, the very names of the steps show how much the book could have been improved by an editor with an eye for structure and consistency). The steps: (1) learn about compassion, (2) look at your own world, (3) compassion for yourself, (4) empathy, (5) mindfulness, (6) action, (7) how little we know, (8) how should we speak to one another?, (9) concern for everybody, (10) knowledge, (11) recognition, (12) love your enemies.

And now, it's time to go apply some compassion!

[1] http://charterforcompassion.org/share/the-charter ( )
1 stem eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
En este importante y estimulante trabajo, Karen Armstrong, una de las pensadoras más originales sobre el papel de la religión en el mundo moderno, proporciona una guí­a apasionada y práctica para ayudarnos a hacer del mundo un lugar más compasivo. Los doce pasos que ella sugiere comienzan con "Aprender sobre la compasión" y se cierran con "Ama a tus enemigos". En medio, ella asume el amor propio, la atención plena, el sufrimiento, la alegría simpática, los lí­mites de nuestro conocimiento de los demás y la "preocupación" para todos. Ella comparte métodos concretos para ayudarnos a cultivar y ampliar nuestra capacidad de compasión, y proporciona una lista de lecturas para alentarnos a escuchar las narrativas de los demás. Armstrong nos enseña que convertirnos en un ser humano compasivo es un proyecto de por vida y un viaje lleno de recompensas. El primer paso: aprender acerca de la compasión. El segundo paso: mira tu propio mundo. El tercer paso: la compasión por ti mismo. El cuarto paso: la empatí­a. El quinto paso: la atención. El sexto paso: la acción. El séptimo paso: lo poco que sabemos. El octavo paso. Nos hablamos el uno al otro: el noveno paso: la preocupación por todos El décimo paso: el conocimiento. El Undécimo Paso: Reconocimiento. El duodécimo paso: ama a tus enemigos. -
In this important and thought-provoking work, Karen Armstrongone of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern worldprovides an impassioned and practical guide to helping us make the world a more compassionate place. The twelve steps she suggests begin with Learn About Compassion, and close with Love Your Enemies. In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and concern for everybody. She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to hear one another´s narratives. Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.The First Step: Learn About CompassionThe Second Step: Look at Your Own WorldThe Third Step: Compassion for You rself The Fourth Step: Empathy The Fifth Step: MindfulnessThe Sixth Step: Action The Seventh Step: How Little We KnowThe Eighth Step: How Should We Speak to One Another? The Ninth Step: Concern for Every body The Tenth Step: Knowledge The Eleventh Step: RecognitionThe Twelfth Step: Love Your Enemies
  bibyerrahi | Oct 12, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 21 (næste | vis alle)
Armstrong’s 12-step process attempts to peel away the fetters of the ego and enlarge our sympathetic capacity. For her, when we go beyond our likes and dislikes, our sense of self grows and our perspective fans out. Her commitment to this end is so fierce that long-time Armstrong fans may bridle at her direct instruction. But her goal is sure. Compassion for her is not simply warm-heartedness; it is energetic.
I would bear all this with a better grace if she were at least a lively writer but, to be brutally frank, her style sets my teeth on edge. Certain favoured sentimental words recur with maddening regularity, and feel like bossy little tugs on the sleeve – “see things this way”: “spiritual”, “deep”, “profound”, “mystery”, “transcendent” – one begins to loathe the sight of them. This is inseparable from her rigorous avoidance of humour, wit or irony, her immovable earnestness, her sincerity. I agree with her that compassion is an important value, but it is not incompatible with lightness of touch.
But is she correct in suggesting that, au fond, the essence of the main religions boils down to compassion? It is probably correct where Buddhism is concerned and it is from Buddhism that her best insights and examples come. I think she is on shakier ground when she applies it to Christianity and Islam. Christianity and Islam are redemption religions, not wisdom religions. They exist to secure life in the world to come for their followers and any guidance they offer on living in this world is always with a view to its impact on the next.

This radically compromises the purity of their compassion agenda. Let me offer one example to prove my point. At a meeting of primates of the Anglican communion, I was accused by one archbishop of filling Hell with homosexuals, because I was giving them permission to commit acts that would guarantee them an eternity of punishment, for no sodomite can enter Heaven. My worldly compassion for gay people, my campaign to furnish them with the same sexual rights as straight people, was actually a kind of cruelty. The price of their fleeting pleasures in this world would be an eternity of punishment in the next.
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Taking as her starting point the teachings of the great world religions, Karen Armstrong demonstrates in twelve practical steps how we can bring compassion to the forefront of our lives. Armstrong argues that compassion is inseparable from humanity, and by transcending the limitations of selfishness on a daily basis we will not only make a difference in the world but also lead happier, more fulfilled, lives.

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