Author Topic: Selective selfish thoughts  (Read 5113 times)

sonamdhargey

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Selective selfish thoughts
« on: March 03, 2013, 10:42:08 AM »
Recently i encountered an experience about selectiveness that became very unsightly and distasteful.

Below is a teaching by Dalai Lama. Hope this will help with our self cherishing mind.

"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."

"If there is love, there is hope to have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace.  If the love within your mind is lost, if you continue to see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education you have, no matter how much material progress is made, only suffering and confusion will ensue.

"Human beings will continue to deceive and overpower one another.  Basically,
everyone exists in the very nature of suffering, so to abuse or mistreat each
other is futile.  The foundation of all spiritual practice is love.  That you
practice this well is my only request."-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from "The Path to Tranquility:  Daily Wisdom."

Midakpa

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 11:18:23 AM »
In Mahayana Buddhism, the spiritual goal is to become a Buddha in order to be able to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. Thus in this practice, one must consider the welfare of other living beings who are our mothers and to repay their kindness. There are countless beings trapped in the prison of samsara, undergoing different types of suffering. Whereas each one of us is only one single person. Therefore the happiness of others is much more important than our own happiness. In order to overcome our own selfishness, we have to meditate on the determination to cherish others as much as we cherish ourself. The aim to cherish all living beings equally.


Midakpa

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 11:35:04 AM »
The Dalai Lama's teaching is about developing equanimity, and equalizing self and others in order to have real peace. His Holiness has always advocated world peace by teaching the way to develop inner peace through the practice of cherishing others sincerely.

In the Lamrim, there are three reasons why we should cherish ourself and others equally:

1. All living beings have shown us great kindness in this life and previous lives.
2. Just as I wish to be happy and be free from suffering, so do all other beings. In this respect I am no different from any other being; we are all equal.
3. I am only one, whereas others are countless, so how can I cherish myself alone while I neglect to cherish others? My happiness and suffering are insignificant when compared with the happiness and suffering of all other living beings.

Thus we should meditate in this way in order to reduce our selfishness. Whenever we meet someone or think of someone, we should remember the determination to cherish them. Often we think of their faults and this prevents us from loving them unconditionally. To overcome our aversion, we must think of their qualities and develop warm feelings towards them. If we train in this way, we will experience less problems in daily life because most of our problems are derived from regarding ourself as more important than others.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 12:59:28 PM »

I came across this article that states : Being selfish really does make us happy (as long as we can avoid feeling guilty)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2218144/Being-selfish-really-does-make-happy-long-avoid-feeling-guilty.html


Being selfish really does make us happier, researchers have found - so long as we can avoid feeling guilty.
Although we are taught the benefits of kindness and altruism, it seems we are happiest when simply told to pursue our own self-interest.

Researchers found the key to contentment is feeling we have no choice but to be selfish.
In contrast, the study, carried out by psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania, found that those who actively choose a selfish path usually have to battle with guilt.

They speculated that because we’re taught as children that ‘sharing means caring’, if we make a decision out of self-interest, we often feel bad for prioritising ourselves over others.
But that frequently means we forego the things we know will make us happy.
Psychological scientists Jonathan Berman and Deborah Small of the University of Pennsylvania carried out tests to see when people feel happiest.

In one they recruited 216 undergraduates and gave them each 3 dollars.
Some were told to donate it to the charity UNICEF, some were told to keep the money and some participants were told that they could choose what to do with it.
Those students told to keep the money for themselves reported being far happier with the outcome than those who were told to donate the money and those who were free to choose.
Mr Berman said: 'Often what people really want to do is act in a selfish manner.
'But they don’t do that, because they know they would feel selfish if they did.'
The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


apprenticehealer

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 05:27:28 AM »
The teaching by the Dalai Lama is very wise and especially the sentence "The Foundation of all spiritual practice is Love."
I believe Love conquers all - conquers all our negative , self cherishing , narcissistic mind.
From Love, arises Compassion, Equanimity, Respect, Humility and all the other virtues that Buddha taught.
It is also the virtues  that all the religions teaches their followers.
I find the meditation technique that the Dalai Lama taught to overcome our self cherishing mind to be most useful. When we follow this technique of visualization , done properly and with pure intention, we will find that our humanity will rise up within us, to 'feel' the suffering of that group of people, our empathy will set into our hearts and if we still continue to ignore these sufferings, our guilt will eat into us.
Overcoming our selfishness cannot be achieved overnight, but if we consciously make the effort to change our ways, then we will be better people and make this world a much better place for our future generations.

pgdharma

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 02:26:24 PM »
One of the reason why we do not cherish all living beings is that we are so preoccupied with ourselves which leaves very little space in our mind to appreciate others. If we wish to cherish others sincerely we have to reduce our obsessive self-concern. Delusions such as hatred, greed and ignorance are not an intrinsic part of the mind. If we apply the appropriate methods they can be completely eliminated. Of course, we cannot cherish all living beings right away, but by training our mind in this attitude, beginning with our family and friends, we can gradually extend the scope of our love until it embraces all living beings.
 
As the 'Eight Verses of Thought Transformation' composed by Geshe Langri Tangpa  come from the wisdom of a fully enlightened being, it is reliable and of tremendous value. By putting these instructions into practice will be able to purify our negative karma  and eliminate the ignorant mind of self-cherishing and eventually develop bodhichitta.


Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2015, 01:49:40 PM »
Recently i encountered an experience about selectiveness that became very unsightly and distasteful.

Below is a teaching by Dalai Lama. Hope this will help with our self cherishing mind.

"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."

"If there is love, there is hope to have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace.  If the love within your mind is lost, if you continue to see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education you have, no matter how much material progress is made, only suffering and confusion will ensue.

"Human beings will continue to deceive and overpower one another.  Basically,
everyone exists in the very nature of suffering, so to abuse or mistreat each
other is futile.  The foundation of all spiritual practice is love.  That you
practice this well is my only request."-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from "The Path to Tranquility:  Daily Wisdom."

Today I also encountered an ugly selectiveness and selfishness within myself and I am glad that I found this article to read and reflect. How very silly of me.  May I not fall into this path again and have mindfulness and awareness in the forefront of my practice.

eyesoftara

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2015, 09:47:13 AM »
Due to uncountable pass life of living for the false "I" as animals, gods, ghost, hell beings and humans we have generated uncountable negative habituations that is hard to break. All these negative habits is to achieve kind of happiness that is temporary or alleviate some unhappiness and focus on the false sense of self leading to attachment and clinging that further cause more selfish actions. Round and round, on the basis of the self we suffered for countless lifes and will continue so for countless ore unless with abandon these selfish thoughts.

That is the whole basis of the Dharma as medicine to treat the disease of Selfishness.

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2015, 12:59:33 PM »
Selective selfish thoughts includes selective speech and selective listening. Our actions are based on thoughts from the mind and words that comes out from our speech. How we become to be selective is based upon our body, speech and mind on making decisions and choices since the beginning of our existence over many lifetimes. Over many lifetimes, we reinforce these selective "selfish" thoughts in our self-projection of the world we want to be in which makes us comfortable.

This selfishness was based on ourself, us, the "I" and the inflated ego, making us and our desire and need as the only important thing to us, and not to others. We self-cherish ourself till it became an enforced habit that is difficult to cut off.

So how do we turn this around? Learn and study the dharma, get help from the protector to have the means to stay in the spiritual path, have guru devotion, do dharma work and offer us to the Three Jewels to benefit others to change and turn around.

cookie

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2015, 10:49:36 AM »
Selective selfish thoughts obviously come from our over indulgence of  the "I" . From the time of birth most of us were being looked after by our loved ones as a "precious one", because we were fragile and cute. That continued on as a toddler, young child etc. Most of us were pampered in such a way that we were made to feel very important and loved. That's like the "correct way" to do it. Correct ???
Yes and no i guess. There are always boundaries we should not cross. If we "over indulge" in our children they will obviously grow up to be possessive of themselves; they will feel that they need to fulfill every need that they have, because their parents have been doing that for them. The "I" in them grows exponentially over time. The hard truth comes when they are not treated as such by others, strangers or colleagues or friends etc. Then they suffer, they become angry, unhappy, depressed etc.
The moral of the story is from the onset of life as a child, they should be treated with outward love in moderation. Children should be exposed to Dharma teachings or other similar form of methods that can help them grow up to become adults that are selfless, patient, compassionate and wise.

psylotripitaka

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2015, 04:17:33 PM »
Agreed, training the mind every day in equalizing and exchanging self with others, and especially emptiness meditation, are the only solution to weaken self-centeredness and end samsara. Until we train deeply in these, there will always be selective selfish thoughts.

Cookie, I like your feedback about parenting. Whether or not people are pampered, the root of the problem, self-grasping, will still be present. Your advice about moderation is excellent. By minimizing the cultivation of self-importance, it will be easier for a child to embody altruism as the grow up. Then, if and when they enter Dharma proper, it will be easier for them to accomplish conventional and ultimate bodhichitta.

Likewise, if they learn to accept that things will not always go there way and this is entirely natural, they will be less likely to get angry, and their contentment will be a good example to others.

Jessie Fong, the people who did the study are proving that types of mind are determining whether or not a person is happy. The external condition of giving or keeping money is simply a condition for identifying what types of mind are functioning. The reason people who kept the money were happiest is that they believe external conditions are the main cause of happiness, and their self-cherishing grasps at those conditions that will bring what they've decided is the source of their happiness. The reason people weren't happy to give is they have the same belief about the source of happiness. If they were trained that mind is the cause, and that the mind cherishing others provides happiness and contentment, then, those who had to give would be happy because whether or not they have money is irrelevant and they are happy they could help others; those who kept the money would be happy because whether or not they have money is irrelevant because they have virtuous minds to keep them happy; and those who were given the choice would be happy from virtuous minds regardless of how they choose to use the money, and would use their wisdom to decide what to choice to make about money.

We have to stop the concept that external conditions are the source of our feelings. We have to identify virtuous realizations as the source of our feelings and cultivate them regardless of where we are or what is going on.

The Guru's kindness is amazing!

Geraldine Sarie

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2017, 01:12:49 PM »

"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."

Thank you  sonamdhargey on  your clear and elastration of selfishness. Sometimes we will get stuck over several problems especially on personal. This practice is a very good start for spiritual practice for beginners.

Drolma

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2019, 07:07:51 PM »
Thank you for sharing this teaching from the Dalai Lama with us. It is a very good method to always remind ourselves not to be selfish. Being selfish only brings us sufferings and nobody will want to be our friend. If this trait is very strong, we will eventually lose all our friends and end up lonely and bitter.

Whether we want to be happy or bitter, it is our choice. The method shared here is very useful to fight our selfishness. We must not forget to be kind to people. When we are kind to people, we are cutting down our selfishness. It will also help us to develop other good qualities as they are interrelated.

If happiness is what we want, the only way is to develop our good qualities, be available to help when needed and do it happily. If we follow and practice what Buddha Shakyamuni has taught, we can definitely liberate ourselves from suffering and find happiness. Always focus out, don't think of how others are treating us but how we are treating others.

SabS

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Re: Selective selfish thoughts
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 02:43:21 AM »
Thank you for sharing the method by the Dalai Lama in viewing our selfishness and how to lessen it in our practice. Due to our ignorance and attachments, we automatically self-protect whenever something arises that challenges our habitual conditioning. We immediately shut down and who cares about what others feel or think. The thing is, everything we do has that rippling effect that affects those around us and then onwards to those further away. For example, if we were to be upset with someone and argued with "A", that is going to affect "A". Then "A" may take this anger out on another, and then this other person will get angry with someone else and the effect continues to be carried out to affect others. That is why we must practice mindfulness in our own actions and cut away any harm that we may inflict onto others before it even happens. When we say we wish to be enlightened to benefit others, this is where the practice comes in. Why harm them when they are the very beings that we wish to help?