What makes the bodhisattvas, the children of the buddhas, appear? First they generate strong compassion for all sentient beings. They appear because they have the mind of compassion and bodhicitta. Therefore, what we should really have the most interest in and the most faith in is compassion. The root from which all the happiness and good things in this world arise is compassion.
from the book The Heart of the Dharma: Mind Training for Beginners
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Further quotes from the book The Heart of the Dharma:
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