The Antidote to Selfishness
By Lama Thubten Yeshe
Why are we bored, lonely, and lazy?
Because we don't have the will to totally open our hearts to others. If you have the strength of will to open your heart to others, you will eliminate laziness, selfishness, and loneliness. Actually, the reason you get lonely is that you are not doing anything. If you were busy, you wouldn't have time to get lonely. Loneliness can only enter an inactive mind. If your mind is dull and your body inactive, then you get lonely. Basically, this comes from a selfish attitude, concern for yourself alone. That is the cause of loneliness, laziness, and a closed heart.
There is no way to get everlasting satisfaction unless you change your attitude from one of holding yourself to one where you open your heart and dedicate yourself to others. If you can do this, you are guaranteed of satisfaction and will never be lazy.
The selfish mind is incredible, worse than a knife in your heart. Selfishness kills you, destroys your life. All the political troubles in the world today come from the selfish attitude. It doesn't matter what the object of your selfishness is - your own reputation, your own nation, the planet's resources, money the selfish attitude is the main troublemaker. We kill each other because of the self-cherishing thought, holding ourselves dear and not worrying about the welfare of others. All bad relationships - between husband and wife, guru and disciple - come from the selfish attitude. When you think about it, you can see that every problem on earth comes from being concerned for oneself instead of others.
Selfishness is painful, really painful. If you want to be free of the pain in your heart, open it by developing universal concern for others, bringing all sentient beings into your heart as much as you possibly can. That is the antidote to the selfish attitude that is the pain in your heart. I truly believe that this is the way to liberation.
We are always concerned that we won't be liberated. We don't want to be unhappy or emotionally disturbed, we want good relationships; we worry about our own welfare. We constantly talk about these things. The most practical way to liberate yourself from pain and emotion is to dedicate yourself to others as much as you can. This automatically eliminates the self-cherishing thought and the pain of selfishness. If you can't dedicate yourself to others, even equalising yourself with them will stop the pain in your heart. Think, "I want to be as happy as possible; I don't want the slightest unhappiness. Others are the same. Irrespective of race, skin colour, or anything else, in this we are the same. Therefore, I should not make myself uncomfortable by discriminating."
Trying to develop this attitude is easier than trying to develop indestructible meditation. It is powerful, easy to understand intellectually, and you already have a certain degree of this dedicated attitude within you. You just have to increase it. Also, meditators can become hypersensitive and full of anger.
They don't want any distractions and can become quite selfish. Somebody makes a little noise, and they get upset: "You destroyed my meditation!" A practice that you can understand philosophically, psychologically, and scientifically can be a lot easier for you. "Others most precious; I will dedicate myself to their welfare." The moment you dedicate yourself to others, you have space - the space not to get angry when somebody else abuses you.
I think most people do have a good heart and some dedication to others, but most of them are not meditators. That's why I feel that the dedicated attitude is so simple, so logical. It brings you an entirely different kind of satisfaction from what you normally experience and eliminates all kinds of negative thoughts. If you can adopt it, you'll be able to say that your dedicated attitude is your meditation, your life; your practice of awareness will be to eliminate your selfish attitude and dedicate yourself to others. If anyone can say this, I think it is wonderful. It is very practical if you can lead your life for the benefit of others. You may not become famous, but just to do it your own way is enough.