Author Topic: ALTRUISM  (Read 5965 times)


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« on: January 13, 2013, 01:02:37 PM »
Altruism is thinking and acting for the benefit of others before or more than for oneself. Theologians and philosophers have long argued about whether it is actually possible to be genuinely altruistic. The Buddha avoided the ‘self or other’ quandary because he understood that we are better able to benefit others when we have made some changes within ourselves. His six-year struggle for truth allowed him to spend the following 45 years teaching that truth to others.

Likewise, he also understood that benefiting others often changes oneself for the better. He once commented that ?nanda’s many years of ‘expressing love through body, through speech and through mind’ – often leaving him with little time to meditate – had allowed him to come close to enlightenment (D.II,143). Thus, for the Buddhist, it should not be a choice between selfishness, self before others, or altruism, others before oneself, but self and others together.

In one of his most meaningful discourses the Buddha says: ‘There are these four types of people found in the world. What four? He who is concerned with neither his own good nor the good of others, he who is concerned with the good of others but not his own, he who is concerned with his own good but not the good of others and he who is concerned with both his own good and the good of others – and of these four he who is concerned with his own good and the good of others is the chief, the best, the topmost, the highest, the supreme.’ (A.II,94).


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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 02:46:39 PM »
In Buddhism,true altruism has to go hand in hand with wisdom.The six (perfections)is the perfection of giving,and the last perfection is perfection of wisdom.
In the perfection of wisdom,the teachings of no-self and emptiness is taught.One is trained to contemplate that there is no real donor,no recipient ,and no real favor given.Thus,regardless of the actions of the recipient
you are not affected emotionally.
A great Bodhisattva can balance perfectly between giving up and the real benefits to the recepient.
"Real love is not based on attachment,but on altruism.In this case,your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer"   H.H.Dalai Lama.

DS Star

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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 02:50:26 PM »
To be able to achieve the 'Altruism' mind, we must first practicing "Exchanging Self with Others".

To be able to do that we must meditate daily like this:

"Since beginningless time, life after life, I have been a slave to my self-cherishing mind. I have trusted it implicitly and obeyed its every command, believing that the way to solve my problems and find happiness is to put myself before everyone else. I have worked so hard and for so long for my own sake, but what do I have to show for it? Have I solved all my problems and found the lasting happiness I desire? No. It is clear that pursuing my own selfish interests has deceived me. After having indulged my self-cherishing for so many leves, now is the time to realize that it simply does not work. Now is the time to switch the object of my self-cherishing from myself to all living beings." from Meditation Cards of The New Meditation Handbook by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Jessie Fong

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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 04:02:25 PM »
Altruism figures prominently in Buddhism. Love and compassion are components of all forms of Buddhism, and are focused on all beings equally: love is the wish that all beings be happy, and compassion is the wish that all beings be free from suffering. "Many illnesses can be cured by the one medicine of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and the need for them lies at the very core of our being" (Dalai Lama).

Since "all beings" includes the individual, love and compassion in Buddhism are outside the opposition between self and other. It is even said that the distinction between self and other is part of the root cause of our suffering. In practical terms, however, since most of us are spontaneously self-centered, Buddhism encourages us to focus love and compassion on others, and thus can be characterized as "altruistic." Many would agree with the Dalai Lama that Buddhism as a religion is kindness toward others.

Still, the notion of altruism is modified in such a world-view, since the belief is that such a practice promotes our own happiness: "The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes" (Dalai Lama).

In the context of larger ethical discussions on moral action and judgment, Buddhism is characterized by the belief that negative (unhappy) consequences of our actions derive not from punishment or correction based on moral judgment, but from the law of karma, which functions like a natural law of cause and effect. A simple illustration of such cause and effect is the case of experiencing the effects of what I cause: if I cause suffering, then as a natural consequence I will experience suffering; if I cause happiness, then as a natural consequence I will experience happiness.

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So, in thinking and acting to benefit others, we in turn are experiencing the consequence of creating happiness for ourselves. So let karma takes its own course and the happiness or goodness will come back to us.

Positive Change

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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 04:46:49 PM »
What is Altruism? Insofar as I can explain, the Buddhist ideal is of giving with no expectation of reward. So, if we expect so much as a "thank you," we're clinging, which is a defilement of the act of giving. The idea that we should practice charity to feel better about ourselves also is a non-starter in Buddhism.

But what happens if we perform some altruistic act and then (oh no!) feel good about it? Does that make the act impure?

In essence that struggling to live up to an abstract ideal of purity isn't the point of the teachings on giving. If someone has helped me, I would want the giver to have some benefit, "feeling better about life," than simply to help out of a grim sense of duty.

I'd say look to the Four Immeasurables. One of these is mudita, or sympathetic joy. This means feeling happiness for the good fortune of others. So, if someone has been helped, be happy! Someone has had the good fortune of being helped! Just because you were the instrument of the help is neither here nor there. No giver, no receiver, remember.

Tenzin K

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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 04:40:22 PM »
2007 research found that “some aspects of altruism arose out of a system for perceiving the intentions and goals of others,” said Dr. Huettel, a neuroscientist and NINDS grantee at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.  “To be altruistic, you need to see that the people you’re helping have goals, and that your actions will have consequences for them” he said.

What makes us altruistic?
How are we motivated to give to others of our time, money or goods selflessly?
Altruism is selfless concern for the wellbeing and welfare of others. It is a virtue in many cultures, and a cornerstone of many religious traditions, though the ‘others’ toward whom concern should be directed varies among religions.  Within Islam, altruism- or generosity towards others without expectation of reward- is a cardinal virtue and the Qu’ran exhorts Muslims in many verses to give of their wealth to the needy.

For example:

‘They will ask you [Mohammed] what they should spend (on others). Say “They should give what charity they can to benefit parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, and wayfarers. For, indeed, God is aware of the good things that you do.’

A helpful concept in terms of religion for thinking about altruistic motivation is the Buddhist doctrine for altruistic deeds. This is also a good framework for thinking about the role of a mentor, since it forces us to question the rewards of mentoring and our own personal, inner drivers.

“According to Buddhist doctrine, all sentient beings- Buddhist or otherwise- are others who deserve compassionate treatment and beneficial aid [teaches] that although not all beings in the world are exactly the same, the degree to which one can be truly altruistic depends on how much one can see others as ultimately being not distinct but being crucially connected with oneself.

Behaviour is assessed in Buddhism mostly in terms of the impact on the recipient and the notivation of the actor. The two main standards are nonharming and happiness. With respect to impact on the recipient of an action, the minimum expectation is that others are not harmed. Maximally, ones actions result in increasing the happiness of others. The type of action at which the altruist should aim, however, is not what Buddhists would regard as the fleeting pleasures of the world but a deep, lasting happiness that comes from equable compassion and freedom from hatred, delusion and addictive attachment to the things of this world.”

Because of the concept of karma in Buddhism, to do putatively ‘good’ deeds which do not stem from a ‘good’ motivation can eventually result in harm to the self. According to Buddhist theory, every time a person acts, this action is characterized not by the action but by the quality of the motivation.

All Mowgli Mentors should reflect on this simple Buddhist idea: that it is the quality of the motivation,  rather than the shape or form of the action, that determines the effect. If one appears to be benevolent but is really responding to internal negative emotions- such as greed, revenge or pride- then the effects of these motivations will be eventually felt and will result in future unhappiness.


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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2013, 02:32:55 AM »
Altruistic behavior is something we might assume takes place every day. A person stops to help an elderly member of society across a street, an adult donates his/her time at a local charity, or someone else might even put himself or herself in harm’s way for the immediate benefit of another without really thinking about the consequences. However, it’s not clear what this sort of altruistic behavior actually comprises, or whether genuine altruism really exists. Today’s episode digs into these questions about altruism from two main standpoints. The first is from Biology, which considers how our conception of right and wrong may have been wired into us through evolution. The second considers altruism from the psychological standpoint. This view grants much more importance to the role of an individual’s psychology and his/her intentions when committing an action, which potentially leaves more possibility for genuinely altruistic acts to occur.