Islam and Buddhism on Overcoming Self-Centeredness and Developing Love

According to the “Quran,” self-centeredness refers to following one’s own self-will, dominated by self-importance, selfishness and negative emotions, as opposed to following God’s will. The way to overcome self-centeredness is through sincere worship of God by means of submission to God’s will, faith and excellence both in character and in acts of service to God’s creations. Love for all beings and helping them to overcome suffering, then, is a way of worshiping God and coming closer to perfection. According to Buddhism, self-centeredness comes from unawareness (ignorance) of how oneself, all others and everything exists. It is overcome by correct understanding. Love is developed by realizing that everyone is the same in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering, but because of beings’ unawareness of reality, they just create more suffering for themselves and others. Despite these very different philosophical views, the sincere practice of both Islam and Buddhism lead to the same goal of overcoming selfishness, developing love for all beings, and working to alleviate their sufferings.