Coping with Pain  Posted 20 Aug 2018
“Archbishop Tutu, many people, when they get ill, don’t feel very joyful. You’ve been able to maintain that joy in the face of suffering. How have you been able to do it?”
“Well, I have certainly been helped by many other people. One of the good things is realizing you are not a solitary cell. You are part of a wonderful community. That’s helped very greatly. As we were saying, if you set out to be joyful, you are not going to end up being joyful. You’re going to find yourself turned in on yourself. It’s like a flower. You open, you blossom, because of other people. And I think suffering, maybe even intense suffering, is a necessary ingredient for life, certainly for developing compassion.
The Dalai Lama agreed, “So as you have rightly mentioned, a self-centred attitude is the source of the problem. We have to take care of ourselves without selfishly taking care of ourselves. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot survive. We need to do that. We should have wise selfishness, rather than foolish selfishness. Foolish selfishness means you just think only of yourself, don’t care about others, bully others, exploit others. In fact taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life. So that is what I call wise selfishness.”
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 Excerpts from: The Book of Joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, Hutchinson: London 2016, selected by Len Warren.