In an op-ed in yesterday’s NY Times, the current Dalai Lama argues the idea that all faiths work on the premise of compassion and hence should not be in conflict with one another. He presents short vignettes of all the major religions describing how each has a sense of compassion as a primary virtue. While he is correct about said premise, compassion doesn’t necessarily translate into the reality of all religions being of a single truth. I think we sometimes lose track of our differences and hence this causes more conflict than would be had if we come to the table stating our stances on all topics. Additionally, the use of the word compassion has different connotations for different faith traditions. I recall, for example, a concept often quoted that love of fellow man from one religion to another might justify evangelizing and proselytizing for love would mean helping to bring about one’s salvation. This does not seem to me to be tolerance and harmony so much as a misguided sense of compassion. Hence, to argue for harmony on the grounds of collective compassion might be challenging to many.