The Gyalwang Karmapa explained that quite a few people have come to see him saying that they have a great wish to be of extensive benefit to others, and therefore they need to accumulate great material wealth. This makes him suspicious, he said, and he often asks them why they think they need money to help others. Others seek influence and power in order to be of more benefit to others. This is a mistake, he said, as it is not necessary to be rich or powerful to be of great benefit to others.
Anyone who truly works for the benefit of other beings is a bodhisattva, His Holiness commented. Until we reach the state of a bodhisattva level ourselves, we cannot say with certainty who is and who is not a bodhisattva. Even a dog in the street could be a bodhisattva.
~Karmapa: Day Two – Lojong Teachings at Dalai Lama’s Foundation in Delhi