I have been challenged on this point a couple of times, and today a good friend of mine repeated that he thought Buddhism was selfish, and that the Gotama was also selfish when he left Yasodhara and Rahula.
We were talking of my urge to ordain as a bhikku, and he said in his opinion that was the most selfish thing of all.
We argued a bit, and I can certainly understand what he was talking about. It does seem selfish, from his perspective.
People leaving everything, going away to meditate or become monks, not really contributing to the world in a positive way, etc.
What I need is a couple of good arguments for why Buddhism isn't selfish, and specifically why ordaining as a monk isn't selfish.
I've read a couple of articles refuting this perceived selfishness by pointing out that Enlightenment is done on the behalf of all beings, or something along those lines. And also referring to the mahayana Bodhisattva's vow as an example of engagement with the worldly world... but those arguments seemed a little nebulous to me, and didn't really seem particularly persuasive to my friend, who doesn't believe in a potential Enlightenment anyway.
Grr, I'm fresh out of ideas. Maybe it IS selfish, and that's okay.
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.