Yes, what initially drew me to Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism in particular was seeing monks on tv when I was a boy. I have been depressed almost my entire life, it just took me a while to realize it. Father died when I was young, I was raised by a single, depressed and crazy mom in a cult, my brother tried to kill himself when I was 14, my best friend was my cousin who went insane, every girlfriend I've ever had cheated on me, I didn't fit in at school or college, I went through every "outsider" culture any halfway intelligent person could go through before realizing belonging to rebel culture wasn't really belonging to anything and so I just basically grew up into a solitary man. What initially drew me to buddhism was the story of Avolikiteshvarah which made break down and cry in public when I first read it. And now, of course, someone has recently told me that the Buddhas aren't real; the real buddha is your mind (which I think is a misunderstanding, personally, but hey nothing like a little extra doubt and loneliness to spice up one's life, right?)
I have no problem realizing other people suffer. I can't believe I actually had to type that in order for that to be known. Do you think I would explain how I know how fortunate I am and somehow not realize suffering is everywhere? My point in explaining how hopeless I am and why I have doubts that my practice will accomplish much of anything is because can you imagine if I was born in Nazi Germany? Or if I was really ugly or had muscular dystrophy or something? I'm relatively lucky even by everyday standards. When you start talking about how fortunate human birth is and how fortunate it is to be born in an era where there are Buddhist teachings and how fortunate I am to have come in contact with Dzogchen and to have received transmission from a master... then I am EXTRAORDINARILY lucky.
But, here I am. Can barely cope sometimes. If I could do a "Freaky Friday" type body transfer with a number of people, I'm sure they could go out there with this body of mine and get a good job and function just fine in society. Everything wrong with me is on the inside, really. And it is not going away... even though I stopped giving a shit about myself a long time ago.
It's really not an egotistical thing, although I understand how you can say "oh yes it is!" because there's always that shade of self-interest whenever you are considering yourself, feeling sorry for yourself, etc. How I would accurately describe it is like this: It's like if you keep getting up and someone just keeps pushing you back down, it doesn't take very long before your feelings no longer get hurt that someone is pushing you down; it's easy to see the suffering and the ignorance of people who keep pushing you down. They do that because they think it is making them happy. But, after a while, you lose the urge to bother getting back up. Why bother? To save sentient beings? If anything, as I invest my time in the four thoughts, the harder my heart gets, actually. It's like a callous whenever it's not breaking and bleeding everywhere. I try to use my shitty job to help the people I work with, I try to make my wife happy with humor and little gestures since I can't buy her things, I pet my kitties, I talk to my neighbors, I pick up trash and do chores to make other people happy. When that's done, I sit alone and wish I was dead half the time.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron