If we observe what happens when we think only of ourselves and act out of self-interest, we see that our actions maintain and strengthen our egocentric fixation which is the root cause of our wandering in cyclic existence. If our activity has no other purpose than reinforcing and maintaining this fixation then all we are doing is simply continuing our suffering.
This is why it is very important that we develop in our mind-stream the firm intention to hunt out and reduce this egocentric grasping. To do this work, from now on we should completely dedicate our body, speech and mind to accomplishing the benefit of beings.
We should try to give up all forms of personal satisfaction and never bring harm to anyone. It is absolutely essential to examine our mind with great care and to question ourselves incessantly to see if we are really trying to help others or if we are just trying to manipulate them and use them for our own ends. In this way, the moment we recognise a negative state of mind we can immediately act upon it and develop an altruistic motivation which becomes increasingly stable.
However, if our desire is to help others whilst leaving our self-centred tendencies intact, our efforts are sure to fail. This is why it is so important to free the mind from all the negative habits which hold it back so that its benevolent qualities are truly able to flourish.
Loving compassion is not something which is simply limited to an aspiration. It must also be manifest through actions. Therefore we need to undertake an apprenticeship of the practice which consists in training our body, speech and mind in the accomplishment of virtuous actions. The positive result of these actions is dedicated to all beings so that they attain enlightenment as quickly as possible. In this way we can be sure that our positive aspiration is translated into action and beneficial results for all beings.
When developing compassion we understand that throughout the past, beings have accumulated a vast number of actions, of which some were positive and others negative. The result is that now, in this life, they experience all sorts of favourable and unfavourable situations.
Due to the great variety in their negative behaviour, beings now undergo many different forms of suffering. The different types of experience that beings have, act themselves as the conditions for the creation of new negative actions which in turn are the causes of future suffering. In short, despite the great diversity in conditions and states of existence, all of them are characterised by suffering.
This is the reason why we formulate the wish that all beings be totally liberated, not only from suffering, but also from their habitual tendencies. For it is these tendencies that provoke them endlessly to create the actions which result in suffering. Day and night, we should constantly make the wish to be able to free beings completely from suffering. Our wish is to have the capacity to help them to adopt the truly positive state of mind, which is the mind of enlightenment, as this will be the cause of their future happiness.
(English translation of an extract from the book
'Mahamoudra', éditions J C Lattès)