Altruism is a source of goodness for yourself and others,
Medicine alleviating all troubles,
The great path traveled by the wise,
Nourishment for all who see, hear, remember, and contact it,
Possessing great efficacy for advancing others’ welfare.
Through it you indirectly achieve your own interests in full.
— Tsongkhapa (Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path)
Concern for others also gives you courage. When you are solely concerned with ‘I,’ this naturally leads to fear and anxiety, resulting in even more insecurity, making the body imbalanced and riddled with health problems. However, deep within altruism lies courage, which diminishes fear and bestows relaxation, which in turn has beneficial effects on blood pressure and overall well-being.
Recently, when I attended a meeting with scientists in New York, a doctor reported that people who repeatedly use the word ‘I’ are more likely to suffer from heart disease. He did did not cite the reason, but it seems to me that putting ‘I’ at the center makes a person’s perspective restricted and uptight, which cannot be good for the heart. However, when concern for others is paramount, this provides a broad openness that makes a great difference. If I were a doctor, I would probably write in all my prescriptions to patients, ‘Be altruistic, and you will get better!’
Each of us has been born into this world, and each of us has been provided with a way to help others. A kind attitude of concern for those in our respective field of activity will affect them, even if it is just ten people, bringing them more comfort and less strife. If each of them, in turn, treats their associates in a similar way, then even though the effects will be gradual, it will in time be transformative. This is how we can change the world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins)
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