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SELFISHNESS

Intro

"Me First"

I believe no one should be selfish.

That leaves all the more for me.

Tumbleweed

Selfish. There are a multitude of justifications for being selfish. Some we hear almost daily, it seems. A few that come to mind are: "If I don't take care of myself, who will?" And, "I have to put myself first so I can take care of others."

If a person wants an excuse, there are plenty of them floating around.

So, let's find out what Perusers of Books have to tell us.

*

The Religious Leaders of Old had a lot to say about selfishness. Let us begin with Buddha:

"The Noble Truth of the Origin of suffering is this: It is craving that leads back to birth, bound up with passionate greed. It finds fresh delight now here and now there, namely, craving for sense pleasures, craving for existence and becoming, and craving for non-existence." (And)

"The man who gathers flowers [of sensual pleasure], whose mind is distracted and who is insatiate in desires, the Destroyer brings under his sway." (And)

"Blinded are beings by their desires spread over them like a net; covered are they by cloak of craving; by their heedless ways caught as fish in the mouth of a funnel-net. Decrepitude and death they journey to, just as a sucking calf goes to its mother."

*

The Qur'an of Islam has this to say:

"Have you seen him who makes his desire his god, and God sends him astray purposely, and seals up his hearing and his heart, and sets on his sight a covering? Who, then, will lead him after God [has condemned him]? Will you not then heed?"

*

Here are two from the Christian Bible:

"What causes wars, and what causes fighting among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and you cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (And this famous one)

"The love of money is the root of all evils."

*

And Jainism has this to say:

"Even were the wealth of the entire world bestowed lavishly on a man, he would not be happy: Contentment is difficult to attain." (And)

"The ignorant one craves for a life of luxury and repeatedly hankers after pleasures. Haunted by his own desires he gets benumbed and is rewarded only with suffering. The benighted [def. morally or intellectually ignorant] one is incompetent to assuage sufferings, because he is attached to his desires and is lecherous. Oppressed by physical and mental pain, he keeps rotating in a whirlpool of agony. I say so."

*

Taoism has these to add:

"He who considers wealth a good thing can never bear to give up his income; he who considers eminence a good thing can never bear to give up his fame. He who has a taste for power can never bear to hand over authority to others. Holding tight to those things, such men shiver with fear; should they let them go, they would pine in sorrow. They never stop for a moment of reflection, never cease to gaze with greedy eyes -- they are men punished by heaven." (And)

"There is no crime greater than having too many desires; there is no disaster greater than not being content; there is no misfortune greater than being covetous."

*

Hinduism also has some powerful statements on this subject, such as:

"Oh my wealth-coveting soul, when will you succeed in emancipating yourself from the desire for wealth? Shame on my foolishness! .... I know you, O Desire, and all those things that are dear to you! The desire for wealth can never bring happiness." (And)

"Desire never rests by enjoyment of lusts, as fire surely increases the more butter is offered to it."

*

Then, finally, Hinduism has this to add:

"Arjuna: What is the force that binds us to selfish deeds, O Krishna? What power moves us, even against our will, as if forcing us?

"Krishna: It is selfish desire and anger, arising from the state of being known as passion; these are the appetites and evils which threaten a person in this life. ....

"Selfish desire is found in the senses, mind and intellect, misleading them and burying wisdom in delusion. Fight with all your strength. Arjuna! Controlling your senses, conquer your enemy. The destroyer of knowledge and realization."

*

A lot has been covered by those who should know, and the Writers of Books.

Now let us see what the Avoiders of Books have to say.

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