Can one always act for the benefit of others or shouldn’t one sometimes think of oneself?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If one thinks like that, there is some fundamental misunderstanding. To the extent that we work for others, they also do something for us. Of course, we should also act intelligently. One shouldn’t give free-loaders money or give difficult people the chance to be difficult. If someone is always hanging on your apron strings, you shouldn’t let them take advantage of you—that doesn’t help anyone. The best thing is a cheerful exchange with others, where everyone gives what they have.

The more you give on a human level, the more you get. The mind is like a well. If you always draw water from it, then it is always fresh. But if you don’t take any water, then at some point there are five dead frogs lying in the well and you can’t drink from it.

I wouldn’t think about myself so much. When we think of ourselves we have problems, but when we think of others we have important things to do! I wouldn’t bring this “I” into it at all. I would try to see what is most useful. Sometimes it might be more helpful to do something for oneself, and other times to do something for others. You might do chin-ups to make yourself strong, and then later you can carry a piano up the stairs for someone else. When you act in this way, you won’t have so many concepts involved. If you do what is in front of your nose and always have the feeling of “we,” then everything is big.
This way you will also experience that we are all mutually dependent on each other—that we all condition each other in a reciprocal way. If one starts with the attitude of doing things for oneself, one might have to change lanes to understand that it’s about a “we.” But if one doesn’t distinguish between “I” and “we” but just does what needs to be done—what is fun and what flows in each moment—then everything is a gift. Then power-fields and connections appear; possibilities condense out of space and you are always at home. The most important thing is to always be in one’s center, to rest within oneself, to trust oneself. Out of this center, we can then act from a position of surplus and power.