Unconditional Compassion

I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture by John Morlino at the 2004 Young Jains of America Convention. Through examples both from his own life as well as others, John showed us that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary heights of compassion. His words were soft and deliberate, yet immensely powerful and thought provoking, and they inspired each member of the audience to explore his or her own potential for ultimate kindness towards all living beings. His message was very simple – a world of peace, mutual respect and harmony is the most important human legacy of all.” — Nagini Paravastu, Virginia (More testimonials)

John Morlino has spoken about the principles of unconditional compassion at numerous venues, including:

* Gandhian Conference on Nonviolence
* Animal Rights national conference
* Young Jains of America Convention
* North American Vegetarian Society annual conference
* Searching for a Nonviolent Future (Youngstown, OH)
* Washington (DC) Ethical Society

Available presentations include:

Compassion Is a Journey, Not a Destination: This presentation builds upon four transformative moments in my life – moments when I thought I had finally “arrived” at a true understanding of compassion – to demonstrate how this concept continues to evolve and grow over the course of a lifetime.
Peace through Unconditional Compassion: We all want peace in the world, peace in our neighborhoods and peace in our hearts. To achieve these goals, we must expand our capacity to extend compassion and forgiveness unconditionally — even toward those who harm others. Drawing from real-life examples of people demonstrating compassion and forgiveness in the face of unspeakable tragedy, this session explores the practice of embracing the fullest principles of Ahimsa as a means of attaining genuine inner peace.
The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion: Albert Schweitzer believed that until we widen our circle of compassion to include all beings, we will not find peace. A profound principle — yet one that is often overlooked in forums promoting peace and nonviolence. Grounded in the teachings of Schweitzer, Gandhi and the Buddha, this session highlights a necessary ingredient of genuine peace, and offers suggestions for how to attain it — both in our personal lives and within society at large.

Schedule a presentation by clicking on the “send E-mail” link (above right). Please include your name and phone number in your message.


Who in Their Right Mind? (OtherWords, September 9, 2015)

My immediate reaction to James Holmes’s 2012 shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater was twofold: horror and incomprehension. Who in their right mind could do such a thing?

Who in their “right mind,” indeed. (Read More)

Racing to Save My Deer Friends (Truthout.org, January 3, 2014)

I was halfway through my run when I saw her. Per our custom, we both stopped to gaze at each other. She was graceful, silent and beautiful. Then as quickly as she appeared, she was gone.

Moments later, I found myself at the edge of a thoroughfare, wondering whether I should cross the road and continue on the trail or double back. Since it was getting dark, I decided on the latter. That’s when I noticed the sign posted on the tree beside me. (Read more)


More Room to Die (Truthout.org, December 6, 2012)

Imagine that you are on Death Row, but innocent of any crime. Clinging to the hope that the legion of supporters working on your case will achieve a breakthrough before it’s too late, you prepare yourself for an update on their campaign. Yet nothing in your recurring nightmares can hold a candle to the news you are about to hear.

The messenger -speaking on behalf of a cadre of marquee advocacy groups- informs you that your closet-sized living area will be expanded by one-square foot and the quality of your food will soon be improved. He also reports that, when the time comes, care will be taken to provide you with a less painful method of execution. When you press him about efforts to secure your release, he confesses that he and his peers have adopted a more pragmatic philosophy -assigning a growing percentage of their resources to programs designed to “alleviate unnecessary suffering,” while simultaneously distancing themselves from the goal of saving lives.

The aforementioned scenario does not, in any way, represent the real-world commitment of those seeking justice for men and women who’ve been wrongly incarcerated. However it does bear a striking resemblance to the transformation that’s taken place within the mainstream animal rights movement. (Read more)


Compassion – Even for ‘Monsters’ (Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2009)

He was convicted of kidnapping and killing a young girl. A second narrowly escaped after he sexually assaulted her. Earlier this month, and two years after he died in state prison, authorities in California concluded he was responsible for the abduction and murder of another child in 1988.

To many, he was known only as a “monster.” And while there is little doubt the late Curtis Dean Anderson committed some of the most heinous crimes known to man, he was also something else.

He was human.. (Read more)


In Omaha Mall, It Could Have Been One of Us (Orlando Sentinel, December 20, 2007)

When I first heard of the horrific tragedy that took place at a Nebraska mall last week, I thought to myself: It could have been me. What I meant, of course, was that I, too, could have been killed or wounded, had I been in the wrong place at the wrong time. A short while later, I had an equally unsettling thought: Had life given me a different hand to play, I could have been the gunman. (Read more)


Compassion for the Virginia Tech Gunman: Take in pain, vulnerability of others to initiate healing (San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2007)

Shortly after the carnage at Virginia Tech, 32 makeshift headstones appeared on campus commemorating the murder victims. Four days after the shootings, a 33rd headstone was added, memorializing Seung-Hui Cho, the gunman. An accompanying note read: “I am sorry that you did not get the help you needed.”… (Read more)


The Essence of True Humanity Is Compassion, Excerpted from a Plenary Address delivered at Ahimsa Diwas (Day of Nonviolence), New York, 2003.

Throughout our history, human beings have killed millions of our own kind in the name of power, politics, and religion. Over this same period, people have also killed billions of animals in the name of food, clothing, science, entertainment, and convenience.

As we look around the world today, we can’t help but notice that violence toward both humans and animals has become, for many people, a socially acceptable form of human behavior.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. (Read more)


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Schedule a presentation by clicking on the “send E-mail” link (above right). Please include your name and phone number in your message.