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Düsseldorf, Germany—An interreligious prayer circle discussed the topic “Living for the Sake of Others: What Is the Role of Compassion?”

In the conversation held on June 5, 2023, it became clear that compassion can lead to fulfilling personal relationships. It encourages us to be there for and to help others. It fosters a feeling of connectedness and understanding, as it enables us to share the experience of others and be a part of their joys and sorrows.

Various examples were given of expressing compassion in a life lived for the sake of others—for example, by volunteering in organizations and projects, supporting soup kitchens or environmental projects, helping in the family or neighborhood, and donating for those in need.

Examples from different religions were highlighted:

  • Buddhism has the goal of alleviating the suffering of others and doing good for them in order to achieve salvation and enlightenment;
  • In Christianity, Jesus emphasizes the importance of compassion and charity by encouraging us to help others regardless of their faith or origin, as illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan;
  • In Islam, compassion is considered one of Allah’s most important attributes, and Muslims are called on to show compassion and mercy toward their fellow human beings, especially the poor, weak and needy.

Clearly, compassion plays an important role in various religions.

The importance of compassion for oneself also was stressed: to know one’s own needs and to take care of oneself in a loving manner. This has nothing to do with selfishness, but results in better self-esteem and the strength necessary to stand up for and be there for others.

To illustrate this point, a passage from the autobiography of UPF founder Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon was read aloud, which emphasized the importance of living for the sake of others as a way to create world peace.

During the time allocated to prayer, prayers from different religions were recited, and members of the audience felt God’s love and care.

(Translated from German by Catriona Valenta.)

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