Even if people appreciate our efforts, often we feel it is not enough and we become disappointed, we become discouraged, even irritated, angry. We must follow Geshe-la’s example, and make our giving completely unconditional, and expect nothing in return, no reward, simply, we enjoy, we enjoy benefiting others in whatever way we can. Our joy is coming from our beneficial, meaningful activities. We should just want to make others happy and stop their suffering. What we feel at any time does not matter. What matters is that others are happy and that they are free, relatively free from suffering. That is all that matters. We might not succeed, but at least we try with a happy heart.
(8.110) And just as I protect myself
From anything unpleasant, however small,
So should I act towards others
With a compassionate and caring mind.
If we are concerned for others’ feelings, at least as much as our own, then we will care for them, we will care about what happens in other people’s lives. We must care more and more and more until finally all we care about is others. We must reach the stage where we only care about the people in our life and the world. We only care about the people of our town, our city. Finally, we only care about everyone else. We do not care about ourselves anymore. Not caring about ourselves doesn’t mean we don’t still need to care for ourselves. Of course we need to care for ourselves in the same way an ambulance driver takes good care of their ambulance. We need a healthy body, adequate rest, and to not push ourselves unsustainably so that we can be of service to others. If we are getting sick, breaking down, or burning out, we are useless to others.
Through this training, we can see how we are becoming more and more selfless, if we’re showing more concern for others, if we’re showing more care for others, then we’re becoming more and more selfless rather than selfish. This is the first step. And just as we protect and cherish ourself, to the same extent, we must protect and cherish others. Equalize, we equalize self and others in this way. We are developing a genuine interest in others, for example with respect to the people in our lives, we’re developing a genuine interest.
Generally speaking, we still have a lot of self-interest. Even in relation to other people, we show interest to the extent that these other people can help us in some way. That’s not selflessness, that is just clever selfishness. Clever selfishness is better than crass selfishness, but is not as good as pure selflessness. When we are angling for how others can help us, we might become very interested in their well-being, but we will find there is attachment in our mind. An attachment born of self-interest. What we have to do is develop an interest that is not in any way mixed with attachment, and that interest must be a genuine interest. With this training in equalizing self and others, that is what happens. We become actually interested in other people, what is happening in their life. For their sake, not our own. Genuinely, not superficially.
(8.111) Although there is no I there,
Through the force of familiarity
I cling to an I within a body
That arose from the drops of others’ sperm and blood.
(8.112) In the same way, why can I not
Identify “I” with the bodies of others?
Equally, I should not find it hard
To identify “other” with my own body.
Here we start to discuss exchanging self with others according to Tantra. In Sutra, we simply exchange the object of our cherishing from self to others. In Tantra, we actually change the basis of imputation of our I from our current body and mind to the bodies and minds of all living beings. This is very clever spiritual technology. When we identify with all others, we don’t actually have to abandon our “self” cherishing, in fact, we can increase it! The difference is our “self” is now imputed on the basis of all others. We can likewise impute “others” onto ourself, and then completely not care what happens to “others.” This is much easier to do than according to Sutra where we need to recognize the disadvantages of self-cherishing, the advantages of cherishing others, and so forth until we complete the exchange. Here, we can just go directly – identify with others, then amp up our “self”-cherishing as much as we want. We can neglect “others” (now us) as much as we did before.