By Nhat Quan
An altruistic Heart means that you are someone who always cares for others, lives for others, and is not selfish, and not for personal gain. Altruism is sacrificing something for someone other than yourself. For example, sacrificing time, money, or possessions without the expectation of any recognition or reward, or benefit, either directly or indirectly, from the recipient or the community.
Altruism is the highest expression of your benevolent qualities. It does not require much but a heart that knows how to share joys and sorrows knows how to love one another.
You have altruism that you always put the purpose of everything you do is for others, for the community, and for society. If yes, because you also always strive for the common good of everyone. When working always keep the hard part about yourself, don't be lazy, don't avoid, and don't push the work on others. When facing difficulties, know how to stand up and shoulder the responsibility. When you fail, don't blame others. You take your mistakes seriously. When success is not bragging, tell the merits.
As an altruistic person, you always live peacefully, happily, and friendly with everyone. You are easy to empathize with, share, and are willing to help others. You also know how to suppress your own emotions to please others. Always think of others before thinking of you, that is, the one who worries before the worries of the world is happy after the joy of the world.
When you are altruistic, you can easily sympathize and forgive the mistakes of others. You rarely rebuke or embarrass others when they make mistakes.
When you are altruistic, you always worry about your actions and words when you miss your words, because you never want to harm others. When you have altruism, you will have the virtue of self-sacrifice, the spirit of self-sacrifice, victory over selfishness, and individualism. That is the basis for perfecting personality.
Life is full of conflicts, so forgive those who have hurt you. Because that's the best way to connect emotionally and find peace of mind. Altruism helps you live a happy and peaceful life. Living with altruism will help a friendly living environment and a better life with people.
You are altruistic, always loved, and respected by everyone. Therefore, you often get help and easily succeed in life. Altruism can touch people who have lost faith, you help them regain faith in themselves and return to an honest life. Altruism can also transform bad situations for the better.
Thus, altruism is the driving force to build true scientific and artistic values ​​that contribute to people. Indeed, selfless love is the only effective way to balance. Love will give disadvantaged people an opportunity to learn, rise and be equal in the common good values ​​of society. The altruistic lifestyle is in line with the trend of the new era, the era of globalization, on the basis of cooperation and sharing.
But please also note, just because you live with an altruistic heart does not mean that you indulge in bad habits, or excuse the shortcomings of others. You live with altruism, you must have personal courage, always have a personal opinion, and not depend on others. In contrast, a selfish lifestyle, living only for oneself, is cold and indifferent to the pain of fellow human beings. A selfish lifestyle will cause disunity, reducing the collective strength of the community.
The reason why the Buddha left the palace of gold, the palace of jewels, to seek the truth also came from the boundless altruistic heart, towards humanity in particular and all sentient beings in the Dharma Realm who are suffering in the cycle of birth and death in general. And after attaining enlightenment, the Buddha did not mind living life in the rain and sun, thinking nothing of his own benefit. During his 49 years of teaching and saving sentient beings, he traveled throughout the five lake regions of India, just for the purpose of teaching people how to live peacefully, happily, and liberated, and build a developed, peaceful society và prosperous.
Today, following in the Buddha's footsteps, on the path of practice, you have to perfect yourself every day. One of the important basic practices in the process of self-improvement is the practice of altruism. Altruism is an extremely necessary practice that Buddhist disciples need to practice in order to create a life of harmony, peace, and liberation for you and for everyone.
Therefore, when talking about Buddhism, the first basic principle that is always mentioned is the path of compassion, selflessness, and altruism. In other words, altruism is built on the foundation of compassion and selflessness, that is, from love. You have the altruism that puts you in other people's shoes to deeply empathize with their joys and sorrows, and their difficulties. And from there, implement ways to support, and help others unconditionally, and even sacrifice your own benefits and happiness to give people a good life.
Really you have altruism that you think of others and know how to forgive their mistakes. It is this good quality that is the glue that binds the friendship between family members, tightens the friendship, the dharma partner, to open the arms of kindness to everyone in the union, in the social community.
However, it is easy to say, but when it comes to showing forgiveness, it is not easy, especially to tolerate and forgive the sins of those who intend to harm you. Although it is difficult to do, you have followed the Buddha to rely on insight to observe all situations that come up in your life, and then have the right behavior accordingly.
First of all, it can be said that forgiving someone who harmed you is for your own benefit. Indeed, you know that in this life, no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes once in a while. They say bad things and harm you because their thoughts, words, and actions come from ignorance. If they knew what terrible consequences such a sin would have, they would not have dared to do it. Thinking like this, you can easily forgive those who hurt you. Moreover, if you don't forgive them, but keep harboring resentment, this evil mind will gnaw at your mind, make your spirit tense, uncomfortable, insecure, of course, very harmful to your health and work. And the cause of hatred and anger is still stored in your mind, at some point, it meets a predestined condition that makes you utter rude and wrong words, followed by cruel actions to take revenge. This inevitably leads to disastrous consequences, disrupting your peace and the life around you.
Going one step further, following the Buddha, imbued with the law of cause and effect, you start to feel compassion for the evil people who hurt you. Because they have created bad karma, one day they have to receive painful retribution as you can see, recently something happened. There are two people came to the temple, a man and a woman stood in the street and scolded the temple. Then a young man on the street felt very uncomfortable, gave him a punch, cut his lips, shook three teeth and he had to go to the hospital. You see the cause and effect clearly in front of you, not far away.
 In case you are scolded, you don't pay attention to them, yield to them, forgive them, and your heart is at ease, just worry about practicing cultivation, so merit is increased. In other words, thanks to them, you have the opportunity to achieve altruism as taught by the Buddha, so you feel really love them rather than hate them.
However, on the way to practice, sometimes you also encounter arrogant people who do not know what is right. They say they don't need your forgiveness at all, and they just keep nagging. Remembering the Buddha's teachings, you must realize that in this case, you are meeting the wrongful owner. Thus, the more you need to calm down, keep your mind pure, and observe reality to solve the problem as gently as possible. I think that is the best way to help you overcome obstacles and keep your mind happy on the path of practice, especially being in harmony with those around you.
An altruistic life is a life that you live for the benefit of others, no longer living for yourself. This is a good life that all Saints have dreamed of and strived to achieve. An altruistic heart or an altruistic life is a beautiful life. When you make this life, it is possible to convince not only people of your religion but also people of other religions. You may live a little selfless life in this life, but you basically know how to live altruistically. Perhaps in later lives, you will have greater capacity, lead an altruistic life of more influence, and do greater good for mankind.
The reason an altruistic heart or an altruistic life is a beautiful life that everyone praises are because for a long time, due to intense self-grasping, you have been subjected to selfish tendencies that dominate all thoughts and words say, and do. From then on, in life, you only know how to live for yourself, and do anything for your own benefit first. Like when you were a child, you fought for food, drink, and love with your brothers. Grow up, can use all tricks to fight for money and power for yourself. This world is full of suffering because of a selfish life. In the Four Noble Truths, suffering is considered a fact, a reality of life whose cause is selfishness. So, an altruistic life is a life that helps you to be free from suffering. You don't need to practice sublime dharmas, just living an altruistic life will bring peace to your mind.
 Whether your life is full of unhappiness, is a disabled person, a sick person, or a poor, uneducated person..., if you know how to live an altruistic, unselfish life, the complexes, and the sadness will disappear in your soul. Because an altruistic life will counteract and destroy selfishness. That is the truth that the Buddha stated in the Four Noble Truths from ancient times. Therefore, an altruistic life is an extremely beautiful life, always bringing benefits to those around you because you always live for them.
On a small scale, around is understood as in a temple, in a classroom, in a family, neighbors, clans... On a large scale, it's an entire social community, a world. Depending on the capacity that altruism, your altruistic life affects to what extent. Thus, when you have led an altruistic life, first of all, those around you benefit, and you yourself erase all suffering.
This world is full of suffering because you only know how to live for yourself, towards yourself. Therefore, altruism is a noble and beautiful life that all saints have praised in the past. The altruistic mind goes against the instinct of self-grasping, against the selfish tendency, and makes this life less painful. An altruistic life can cure many of your mental illnesses, and many of your afflictions, and make this life happier. In life, there are people who carry guilt and sadness, if you know how to do a lot of charity and altruism, you will overcome suffering. And the contemplations against defilements are only temporary.
At present, people's moral deterioration is also influenced by a selfish lifestyle. When you have a good mind, entering the Way, you have the hope of finding a liberated life. If you still live selfishly, you are not worthy to be a disciple of Buddha. Buddhists must live altruistic life. The ideal of liberation and an altruistic life are one because they share an egoless personality. Liberation is overcoming self-grasping, and altruistic life is also beyond ego-grasping. If you earnestly seek a life of liberation, you must do so by living an altruistic life. Although you haven't practiced much, every hour, every minute in this life, you live for your brothers and sisters, for everyone. Living like this is that you are gradually walking on the path of liberation, and your ego is also being beaten violently.
To be liberated you must overcome self-grasping. There are many ways for you to overcome self-grasping. The final path is to go by concentration and wisdom. But before you can take that path, you must lead a very selfless life. It means always living for others, no longer living for yourself. Altruistic life is also the crystallization of ethical life. You have learned a lot about Ethics. Whether you learn to be fair, be honest, learn to point out your mistakes, or learn to be humble… and maybe learn more, later on, you aim to achieve only one thing: an altruistic life.
This is a story about altruism. The story is:
- There was a beggar named Hoa Tu who went to beg for food every day. He always wished to have a life like everyone else. So he worked hard to beg for more to accumulate. But after a year, there was still only a little rice in the storage space. He didn't understand why, so he decided to find a reason...
One night, he hid in the corner of the thatched hut quietly observing where his rice was stored. Finally, he saw a large rat stealing rice. He angrily shouted:
- The rich family has so much rice, but you don't eat it and steal rice from a beggar like me.
Suddenly, the mouse spoke:
- Your life is only eight centimeters of rice, no matter how much you earn and save, Heaven will not let you enjoy it
The beggar asked the mouse:
- Why?
Then the mouse said:
- I don't know, you should ask the Buddha about this.
So the beggar decided to go to Tay Thien to meet the Buddha to ask for clarity, as to why his fate was like that… So, early the next morning, he packed his bags and set off, walking while begging. He went through many villages and hamlets.
One day when he was passing through a village when it was getting dark, he saw a big house and knocked on the door to beg for food and sleep for the night. At that moment the rich master came out of the house and saw the beggar. The rich owner asked:
- It's already dark, but where are you in such a hurry to go?
The beggar then told his story. When the rich owner heard this, he immediately invited the beggar into his house, and then he asked the maid to bring food and water for the beggar to eat. After eating, the beggar stayed at the rich man's house
Early the next morning, before the beggar departed, the rich master brought the beggar some silver and dry food and said:
- I have a daughter who is 16 years old but can't speak yet, so I want to ask you to go to Tay Thien and by the way, ask the Buddha why my daughter can't speak.
The rich man continued:
- Whoever makes my daughter talk, I will give her to that person.
The beggar heard that he agreed to convey the word to the Buddha. Farewell to the rich owner's family, the beggar continued on his way to Tay Thien. One day a beggar came to a high mountain, he did not know how to cross this mountain, suddenly a Taoist appeared, and asked the beggar:
- Where do you want to go?
The beggar recounted his life to the Taoist and concluded: That's why I had to go to Tay Thien to ask the Buddha.
Hearing the beggar say this, the Taoist said:
- I have cultivated for 1000 years, I should have gone to heaven, but so far I have not been able to go. By the way, he helped me to ask the Buddha why.
The beggar listened to the Taoist saying and agreed to convey the word to the Buddha. Then the Taoist used his wand to take the beggar over the mountain. Farewell to Taoist, the beggar continued to go to Tay Thien, after not knowing how many days he passed, a wide river appeared in front of him, but there was no boat on the river. Now he feels anxious, and impatient, what to do now, how to cross the river? He broke down and cried:
- Is it possible that my fate is so miserable...
Suddenly, an old turtle appeared in the river, and he asked the beggar:
- Why are you sitting here crying?
The beggar then narrated his own story one at a time, and the old turtle said to the beggar:
- I've been cultivating for five hundred years, logically I should have turned into a dragon and flown back to heaven, but why am I still just a turtle? If you go to Tay Thien, please help me ask the Buddha why, I will carry you across the river, the beggar is very happy and agrees.
After crossing the river, the beggar continued to go for countless days, then one day he also reached the place he expected. In front of him was the marvelous vihara where the Buddha and the Sangha resided. After brushing off the dust on his clothes, he solemnly entered to meet the Buddha sitting on the lion's throne. After making three prostrations, he knelt to one side, facing the Buddha. At that time the Buddha asked him:
- You have come from far away, you must have something important to ask.
Beggar says:
- Yes, I want to ask you a few questions, hope you will explain so that I can be clear.
Buddha said:
- Okay, but with one condition, you can only ask three questions because no one can ask more than three questions.
The beggar agrees. But in fact, he had four questions in his mind, so he wondered which three questions to ask. Then he thought:
- It is not easy for the turtle to practice for five hundred years, so his question should be asked first. The old Taoist also practiced for a thousand years and worked very hard, so his question also needs to be asked. The daughter of the rich man is also very pitiful, can't speak, and dares to marry, her problem should definitely be asked. Come to think of it, he felt that his problems no longer mattered. So the beggar did not hesitate to ask the first question. Buddha said to him:
- The old turtle could not let go of the turtle shell, so he did not cultivate, it because inside the turtle shell there are 24 pearls. If the turtle can remove that shell, he can definitely turn into a dragon.
The Buddha answered the second question:
- The old Taoist every day holds a treasure stick, never forgetting to carry it with him because the stick is a treasure, if he uses the stick to draw on the ground, a cool stream will appear. If the Taoist can drop that stick, he can ascend to heaven.
The beggar was overjoyed, then asked the last question:
- The Buddha replied, if the mute girl meets her lover, she will naturally be able to speak
Although he did not have the opportunity to ask the Buddha about his destiny, after hearing the Buddha answer the three questions that everyone asked him to ask Buddha was answered, the beggar was overjoyed, He stood and bowed to the Buddha three times and left. On the way back to his old hometown, the first person Beggar met was an old turtle. Meeting the beggar, the old turtle happily asked:
- Did you ask the Buddha about my destiny?
The beggar replied:
- Take me across the river first, then I will tell you what the Buddha taught you.
The old tortoise took the beggar across the river, when he reached the other side he immediately recounted the Buddha's teachings, the old turtle understood immediately, and removed the shell, and gave it to the beggar, and the old turtle also said:
- These twenty-four pearls are priceless treasures, but they no longer mean anything to me, so I give them to you.
After saying that, the old turtle turned into a dragon and flew away.
The beggar held twenty-four pearls in his hand and then hurried on his way, returned to a certain mountain to meet the old Taoist. The old Taoist asked the beggar what the Buddha said, the beggar immediately narrated the Buddha's teachings, the old Taoist was very happy, and immediately gave the stick to the beggar, then immediately rode clouds fly straight to heaven.
The beggar continued his journey, and arrived at the rich man's house after the employee opened the gate, the beggar had just entered the front yard, suddenly in the house, a beautiful girl ran out, she said in a happy voice:
- The person who went to see the Buddha has returned.
At that time the rich man also came out of the house, he was very surprised, not knowing why his daughter could talk. After listening to the beggar recounting the Buddha's teachings, the rich man was overjoyed and immediately gave his daughter in marriage to the beggar.
The story ended, and finally, the beggar could not ask the Buddha about his destiny but got the answer in the process after returning from Tay Thien.
Through this story, you see, the beggar in a difficult situation, finding the Buddha was not easy, but when he met the Buddha, he did not think about the poverty and hunger he was suffering. He still decided to take that rare precious opportunity to ask about the fate of others. In the form of a beggar, is a rich, open heart. Because of that noble heart, he deserves to receive the blessing:
- Receive 24 precious gems from the old tortoise, a magic stick from the Taoist Taoist, marry a young wife, the daughter of a rich man
Living in the world, there are poor people, and rich people, in fact, it's not random, but it's all due to your blessings or karma. If you did good deeds in your previous life, you will accumulate good deeds in the next life. If you do a lot of evil deeds, then in this life you have to pay the karma, so you have to suffer for the destruction of karma.
So, if you want to change your destiny, you just need to do good deeds, accumulate virtue, and think about others before you think of yourself as the beggar mentioned above, then fate will of course be reciprocated. What you get in return is what you give. The hardest thing is to think of others before thinking of yourself. Altruistic for someone but not for you. If you can do that, then everything you should get will be achieved.
Once again, you must know and understand that altruism is to yield, not to be bitter, not to win or lose with everyone, and to let go of all hatred and anger in your heart. It is the most beautiful human life, also the ideal that Buddhist disciples must pursue. You have to live for everyone, from the very small to the very big. Whether you are pursuing a great project such as bringing Buddhism to people, building a nursing home, building an orphanage, etc., you still remember not to overlook the very little things in life when it is beneficial for everyone around.
Deep down in your soul, you must keep that in mind. That is, not afraid of hardships, no matter whether your life is happy or miserable, you just need to give it to others. You end all goals in your life so that from here on, there is only one goal, to benefit and bring happiness to others. If you do, you will never suffer again, even though the hardship may be multiplied.
In short, the spirit of selflessness and altruism is a unique personality trait of Buddhists, in the history of Vietnamese Buddhist literature, and perhaps also a personality that people in modern society need to guide coming, aiming to build a society: Truthfulness, goodness, and beauty with a real happy and peaceful life.
Particularly, for Buddhist disciples, altruism and altruistic work need to be promoted on the basis of compassion and selflessness. It is a practice that helps you to purify your mind, cultivate good things, and perform deeds that benefit others. And that is also one of the practices that help you develop your wisdom, grow your virtue, and flourish on the path to Perfect Enlightenment, and at the same time build a world of Ultimate Bliss in this human world.
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