Put Yourself into the Shoes of Another
The spirit of Mahayana Buddhism is altruism. An old Tibetan saying instructs us to put others where you are, and to put yourself where others are. Although it sounds simple, it’s not easy to do so.
As the old Tibetan saying goes, “Put others where you are and put yourself where others are.” Although it sounds like an ordinary and simple saying, the complexity is that we need to put ourselves in others’ shoes, since ultimately what we want is also desired by others and what others want is desired by us. Such a manner of thought is quite meaningful.
Summing up the fundamental teaching of Buddhism, it is the sublime mind of compassion that matters most. The essence of Buddhism is the sublime compassionate mind. For anyone who possesses such a mind, he or she has reached a high-level state of realization. If one always thinks about helping others first, this person must possess great wisdom and morality. If one is never thinking about benefiting others, regardless of one’s fame or wealth, his or her life would be meaningless.
Even as monks wearing traditional robes, if we don’t have altruistic intentions, then we just appear to be monks on the outside. We might be respected by onlookers, but it would be all superficial and ultimately meaningless due to lack of sublime authenticity. For professors and students in universities, if you are altruistic, you are truly noble. Otherwise, without compassion or altruistic intentions and only thinking of your own interests, then no matter how prestigious your school is, or how high your status is, it is still meaningless. Without an altruistic mind, whether you’re the Secretary General of the UN or a nation’s president, ultimately, no matter how powerful you are, with a lack of compassion, any great political successes you have achieved will still not bring fundamental benefits to people. Without compassion, even if you were to make great inventions in the field of science or develop great machines and high-tech products, it is likely your lack of compassion would lead to the detriment of human beings. On the other hand, with an altruistic intention, all your behaviors would naturally and eventually harvest benefits for yourself.