The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

COMPASSION: THE WISH-FULFILLING JEWEL 205

arises in you at that moment to attain enlightenment for the

benefit of all others.

This compassionate wish is called Bodhichitta in Sanskrit;

bodhi means our enlightened essence, and chitta means heart.

So we could translate it as "the heart of our enlightened

mind." To awaken and develop the heart of the enlightened

mind is to ripen steadily the seed of our buddha nature, that

seed that in the end, when our practice of compassion has

become perfect and all-embracing, will flower majestically into

buddhahood. Bodhichitta, then, is the spring and source and

root of the entire spiritual path. That is why Shantideva could

praise Bodhichitta with such joy:

It is the supreme elixir

That overcomes the sovereignty of death.

It is the inexhaustible treasure

That eliminates poverty in the world.

It is the supreme medicine

That quells the world's disease.

It is the tree that shelters all beings

Wandering and tired on the path of conditioned existence.

It is the universal bridge

That leads to freedom from unhappy states of birth.

It is the dawning moon of the mind

That dispels the torment of disturbing conceptions.

It is the great sun that finally removes

The misty ignorance of the world. 5

And this is why in our tradition we pray with such

urgency:

Bodhichitta, precious and sublime:

May it arise in those in whom it has not arisen;

May it never decline where it has arisen;

But go on increasing, further and further!

Patrul Rinpoche used these four lines to encapsulate the

entire training in Bodhichitta, "the wish," as Maitreya

described it, "to attain perfect enlightenment for the sake of

others." Let me briefly outline this training. It begins by developing

within your mind loving kindness, compassion, joy, and

equanimity toward limitless living beings. 6 Through a practice

of deep contemplation, you cultivate these four qualities to

such a degree that they become boundless and immeasurable.

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