Editor Nicholas Vreeland notes in the foreword that this book grows out of two talks given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Buddhist view of selflessness. The result is a very erudite and philosophical book. The Dalai Lama sets the context for his main topic with background on the preciousness and impermanence of human existence, the nature of the laws of cause and effect on karma, and the ways in which all of us are caught up in a web of suffering.
In order to move beyond the attachments, clinging, opinions, and aversions of the grasping self, Tibetan Buddhists try to cultivate the altruistic mind. Here needs and desires are set aside so that others can be number one. As the Dalai Lama puts it:
"We begin our training by reflecting on the disadvantages of self-cherishing and the advantages of working for the well-being of others. This we do by means of analytical meditation, calmly scrutinizing and contemplating these notions over many months and even years, so that we may eventually perceive others to be more important than we ourselves."
The Dalai Lama also recommends the meditative practice of tonglen — giving and taking with deeply felt compassion for the pain and suffering of others. A Profound Mind shows how selflessness can lead to a life animated by wisdom.