H.H. the Dalai Lama on selfishness vs unselfishness

“With a selfish attitude, oneself is important, and others are not so important. According to Shantideva’s advice, a technique to help in turning this attitude around is to imagine- in front of yourself as an unbiased observer- your own selfish self on one side and a limited number of other beings on the other side- ten, fifty, or a hundred. On one side is your proud, selfish self, and on the other side is a group of poor, needy people. You are, in effect, in the middle- as an unbiased, third person. Now, judge. Is this one, single, selfish person more important? Or is the group of people more important? Think. Will you join this side or that side? Naturally, if you are a real human being, your heart will go with the group because the number is greater and they are more needy. The other one is just a single person, proud and stupid. Your feeling naturally goes with the group. By thinking in this way, selfishness gradually decreases, and respect of others grows. This is is the way to practice.”

H.H. the Dalai Lama, The Path to Tranquility: Daily Wisdom (Compass)

“We find that if a person lives a very selfish life and is never concerned about the welfare of others, he will have few friends, and people will not take much notice of him. At the time of his death, there will not be many people who will regret his passing. Some deceptive and negative persons may be very powerful and wealthy, and therefore some people- for economic reasons and so forth- might portray themselves as friends, but they will speak against such person behind their back. When these negative person die, these very same “friends” may rejoice at their death.

“On the other hand, many people mourn and regret the death of a person who is very kind and always altruistic and who works for the benefit of others. We find that altruism, as well as the person who possesses it, is regarded as the friend of all, and it becomes the object of veneration and respect by others.”

H.H. the Dalai Lama, Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to the Stages of Meditation

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