By Nhat Quan
Speaking of selfishness:
Selfishness is knowing only one's own interests. Selfish people always think about their own interests, taking personal interests as a measure of all values, regardless of the interests of Others.
- When selfishness becomes a human way of life, it will lead to personality degeneration. When selfish lifestyles become common, traditional moral values will become strange and out of place.
People with a selfish lifestyle often underestimate their responsibilities to society, indifferent to the joys and sorrows of those around them. At the same time, they also do not appreciate the spirit of sacrifice for the community and love: fellow human beings, and the sharing of others.
- A selfish lifestyle exists as a part of social life and is sometimes covered up in many glossy and artificial forms. When you do not dare to fight it, you are tolerating it, creating an environment and conditions for that lifestyle to spread widely.
Selfishness is one of the most common characteristics in people who only know themselves, self-advocacy is always the first thing they aim for, if there is no benefit to them in a certain matter, they will not need to do anything. I think for any problem there are underlying reasons, the main reasons leading to the formation of someone's personality. The root causes of selfishness are many, but there are generally some important factors that make you selfish:
1- Loneliness
If you live alone because you don't have a loved one or you have a reason that your loved one is avoiding. So, for selfish people who only know themselves, first of all, you have to understand that you may be too used to sadness and loneliness.
Try talking to others more, breaking down the barriers that protect you, and letting you step out and do something together. Companionship always requires sacrifice on both sides and if stimulated properly, it can defeat the ego and free you from inherent selfishness.
2- Being betrayed too much
Selfishness sometimes comes from the same reason, being betrayed too much will make you lose faith in others. Therefore, you become the only target left for you to convey your personal feelings.
3- Everyone is the same
People often say that: Near ink is black, and near lights are bright. This statement must also be true for selfish people, the deepest cause, partly from here. Because everyone around them is selfish, why should they do it differently? If you have identified this problem, try to examine yourself.
This is a very delicate case and it puts you in three situations:
- Or fight it,
- Or give it up and
- Or learn to accept living with selfish people
4- You do not fully understand the problem
Many times selfish people don't know where selfishness is terrible, that's why when they choose between two options, gain and lose, immediate or long-term. And most especially, desire often lies in the first choice of yes, they will find that there is nothing to do far away.
But they don't know the harm of selfishness. Selfishness causes division, individualism, and disunity. If you want to do something big, you have to know how to unite with many friends. And for that reason, let go of your personal ego.
5- Fear
Many people do not want to contribute and sacrifice for the collective. On the contrary, they think for themselves, talk about themselves too much, from the deepest point of view, also because they are afraid. All of the above reasons have something to do with fear, you do not dare to talk to others because they are afraid, do not dare to understand because of fear, do not dare to speak because of fear, and so on and so forth. Fear overwhelms you, preventing you from getting closer to the group.
- When selfishness becomes your way of life, the spirit of sacrifice for the community, love for fellow human beings, and sharing with others are just lost values.
If you are not guided, maybe you will fall selfish, your life will become very scary. For people with a selfish lifestyle, social ethical standards such as the spirit of sacrifice, compassion, etc. are just strange values that have no meaning to them. Because their only concern in life is how to benefit themselves. Selfish people always think about themselves, taking personal interests as a measure of all values, regardless of the interests of others. In the collective of a community or a number of organizations, such harmful individuals always exist. When selfishness becomes a person's way of life, it will lead to the degeneration of personality and morality. When selfish lifestyles become common in life, traditional moral values will become strange and out of place. Meanwhile, the spirit of Buddhism is inherently traditional:
- Love people as you love yourself.
Good leaves cover torn leaves.
If you do not pay attention to preserving, and let the selfish way of life dominate, the good qualities of the way of liberation will disappear, and evil will slowly dominate the human soul. Indeed, people with a selfish lifestyle often underestimate their responsibilities to society, indifferent to the happiness of those around them. At the same time, they also do not value the spirit of sacrifice for the community, love for fellow human beings, and the sharing of others. These people may perceive philanthropists as:
- Rice shop 2000,
- Free iced tea,
- Free bread
They are idiots, idle. For them, the most important thing is that they are still happy. They live in a way that whoever lives or dies has nothing to do with them, so they are completely alienated from social responsibility or the love of one's neighbor.
The harm is like that, but sadly, this selfish lifestyle exists as a part of social life and is sometimes disguised in many glossy and fake forms. When you do not dare to fight it, it means that you are tolerating, creating the environment and conditions for that lifestyle to spread more and more. For a simple reason, a selfish lifestyle can bring many material benefits, and reduce responsibility to the community, so many of you have been silent to be complicit in it. You may say:
- I'm selfish, but I didn't hurt anyone.
It sounds reasonable at first, but living in the community without being for anyone is irresponsible, indirectly harming the interests of others. So you Buddhists:
- It is necessary to fight against selfishness.
- Must know how to live altruistically, have a sense of responsibility, and harmoniously combine individual interests and community interests.
As a Buddhist, you need to spread the spirit of altruism and fight against a selfish lifestyle. For example, not being silent about an injustice, or withdrawing into the shell of an individual who lives like a snail in a seashell. You must know how to live altruistically, with a sense of responsibility, and a harmonious combination of personal interests and community interests to be a person with moral character.
And you must soon realize, on a smaller scale than the family, that selfishness has caused untold harm. Selfishness causes families to lose the love and responsibility of family members. Just like parents all day worry about earning a lot of money, so money becomes the parents of their children when they don't even know it. Because children lack parental love. All day long, they only worry about sticking their faces in screens, computers, TVs, Ipads… Those technological things become their Parents. The whole family no longer has time to sit together, each person in a corner. The house turned into a park:
- Who came, do not know; Who goes, nobody cares.
Selfish living has given rise to a disease that many young people today face, autism. They shun everyone, everyone shuns them. Also, there are many people who live very selfish lives. They live without knowing anyone. They receive from others with a lack of gratitude and a heartless attitude. They give to others like drip coffee with disdain and disrespect.
They hate people, and they are hated by the community themselves.
So, when you see the causes and point out the consequences of a selfish lifestyle, what do you need to do to overcome its consequences?
To deeply realize the harmful effects of a selfish lifestyle, you need to cultivate yourself and care about helping others to build a social community of mutual love and compassion like the long-standing tradition of the Buddha's children. First of all, you need to practice living caring for people around you, ready to help people in your strength and ability. You do it by sharing your joys, sorrows, difficulties, and struggles with everyone around you. You learn to live an open, positive life: Ready to receive, ready to give out of love and protection for all beings. Those actions do not allow you to be limited to a specific area but must start from yourself, in your family, in the village, and out into the wider society. In addition, you must also actively live and think for others: Give when they have not asked, open the door when they have not knocked, just like the Bodhisattvas who went before they did. Live joyfully, openly, generously, and lovingly.
However, every society has good people, bad people, perfect people, and imperfect people. Besides those who live selfishly, society still has a lot of people who always know how to love and live wholeheartedly for others. A lot of people think that life is about giving. They don't live just for themselves. They are charitable people, helping the poor and the elderly. They are people who know how to serve and take care of those who are marginalized in society. They spend their lives living for others; spend health to care for the health of others; spending material things to help others less struggling; spend spirit to lift people's spirits. Those are very precious things that society of all times very much needs.
In general, you see that each person has the ability to bring happiness and love to others. But you also see someone who can spread suffering to others. Those are two sides that always exist in each person. You all want to be happy, what you need to do is to make an effort to develop the positive and helpful aspects, while firmly eliminating the negative. Things like lies and deception can give you short-term satisfaction, but then long-term suffering.
Positive things will give you inner strength, eliminate fear and make you more confident, easy to open up to others without barriers of religion, culture, or any other aspect.
The ability to recognize the good and the bad and to observe and analyze it carefully is very important. It helps you develop human values: Love, care, and devotion. You need compassion and love for people not only to survive, but they are the basic foundations of success in life. Selfish thinking not only harms others but also prevents you from having true happiness. On the contrary, the more you open your heart, the more spacious and happy your life will be. To do so, you must first have:
- Compassion:
Before you can generate compassion, you need to understand what it is. Compassion is simply the positive thoughts and thoughts that give rise to the good things in life: Hope, courage, determination, and inner strength. According to Buddhism, compassion which includes the wish to free others from suffering is loving-kindness, and helping others to be happy is compassion.
You can divide all happiness and suffering into two types: mind and body. Among them, the mind is what affects most of you deeply. In life, if your body is satisfied, you are barely aware of it. However, the mind takes note of everything. Therefore, you put more effort into creating inner peace than satisfying your body.
From experience, the Venerable Ones believe, you can develop your mind with regular practice. When you change your attitude, thoughts, and positive attitudes, negative thoughts will be eliminated and your mind will change as well.
- Change of mind
Things can't change overnight. The mind is very stubborn, it will resist hasty solutions. With constant effort and faith based on reason, when you realize change is necessary, your mind will transform.
Just praying and wishing will not change your mind. The basis of change is that you need to realize that, as long as you are in this world, you will have to deal with these and other problems.
If you lose hope, you will lose your ability to deal with these problems. By thinking about the suffering of others, and showing compassion towards others, your suffering becomes more transmutable. A positive, upbeat attitude helps you see each new obstacle as an opportunity to improve your mind. By trying to be more compassionate each day, you can develop empathy for the suffering of others, and a desire to help others eliminate the pain. As a result, serenity comes to you, and inner strength increases.
- Compassion will change everything
You all have a need for love. Therefore, any person you meet, in any situation, appearance, or manners will no longer be a matter of distinction. Despite the differences in appearance, you are also a human on this small planet, with a need to live together in an atmosphere of openness and cooperation.
In this day and age, the whole planet is connected and inseparable. One country depends on another, and in order to develop, all must take care of each other. But you also can't put the whole responsibility on the shoulders of politicians. Each individual also has his or her own share of responsibilities.
Any individual change can affect the whole of humanity. Compassion is not just a religious ideal, it is a necessary requirement for all of humanity as a whole.
In short, for people with a selfish lifestyle, moral standards, self-sacrifice, and compassion are just strange values or have no meaning. Remember that no matter what society you live in, when you live only for yourself, of course, you will be eliminated by society, becoming a surplus of society and your own family. The Buddha reminds you to get rid of selfish living habits. On the other hand, you must further strengthen your positive, loving living to become a useful, ethical person right with yourself, your family, and in society. Life is to be for others, to do something for others to expect people to do something for you
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