From what can selfishness and egotism proceed if not from the concept of "self" ('sakkayaditthi')? If the practice of any form of meditation leaves selfishness or egotism unabated, it has not been successful. A tree is judged by its fruits and a man by his actions; there is no other criterion. Particularly is this true in Buddhist psychology, because the man 'is' his actions. In the truest sense they, or the continuity of kamma and 'vipaka' which they represent, are the only claim he can make to any persistent identity, not only through the different phases of this life but also from one life to another.
Attentiveness with regard to body and mind serves to break down the illusion of self; and not only that, it also cuts off craving and attachment to external objects, so that ultimately there is neither the "self" that craves nor any object of craving. It is a long and arduous discipline, and one that can only be undertaken in retirement from the world and its cares. Yet even a temporary retirement, a temporary course of this discipline, can bear good results in that it establishes an attitude of mind which can be applied to some degree in the ordinary situations of life.