A Warm and Friendly Heart—Affectionate Love
"In general, whenever we see our child, husband, wife or parents a heart-warming feeling of affection naturally arises within us and we hold them dear. But such affection does not arise when we see other sentient beings, especially those who disturb us. If we are to develop true bodhichitta this warm feeling must be extended to embrace everyone. if as a result of long and continual meditation our mind becomes accustomed to looking upon each being with affection and warmth, we have realized this fourth stage in the development of the mind of enlightenment."
Pure Concentration—Abiding in a Tranquil State Free from Distractions
"Bodhichitta and the wisdom directly realizing emptiness are like the two wings of a bird that can carry us to our destination, the ground of enlightenment. To realize emptiness directly, we need to attain tranquil abiding. Without tranquil abiding, our mind is unstable, like a candle flame exposed to the wind, and so we are not able to realize clearly and directly realization of emptiness. It is not just the direct realization of emptiness that depends upon tranquil abiding; we also need tranquil abiding to attain spontaneous realizations of renunciation and bodhichitta..."
The Supreme Good Heart—The Wish to Benefit Others
"Bodhichitta is the supreme good heart. This profoundly
compassionate mind is the very essence of spiritual training. Developing
the good heart of bodhichitta enables us to perfect our virtues, solve
all our problems, fulfill all our wishes, and develop the power to help
others in the most appropriate and beneficial ways. Bodhichitta is the
best friend we can have and the greatest quality we can develop."
Increasing Concentration and Wisdom—Seeing the Real Nature of Things
Emptiness is not nothingness but is the real nature of phenomena; it is the way things really are. Emptiness is the way things exist as opposed to the way they appear. We naturally believe that the things we see around us, such as tables, chairs, and houses, are truly existent because we believe that they exist in exactly the way that they appear. However, the way things appear to our senses is deceptive and completely contradictory to the way in which they actually exist. Things appear to exist from their own side, without depending upon our mind.
Although things appear directly to our senses to be truly, or inherently, existent, in reality all phenomena lack true, or inherent, existence...If we dream of an elephant, the elephant appears vividly in all its detail—we can see it, hear it, smell it, and touch it—but when we wake up we realize that it was just an appearance to mind. We do not wonder, 'Where is the elephant now?', because we understand that it was simply a projection of our mind and had no existence outside our mind. When the dream awareness that apprehended the elephant ceased, the elephant did not go anywhere—it simply disappeared, for it was just an appearance to the mind and did not exist separately form the mind. Buddha said that same is true for all phenomena; they are mere appearances to mind, totally dependent upon the minds that perceive them.
...Notwithstanding their real nature, we are fooled by appearances, and grasp at...tables, bodies and worlds as truly existent. This grasping mind is self-grasping. The result of grasping at phenomena in this way is that we develop self-cherishing, attachment, hatred, jealousy, and other delusions, our mind becomes agitated and unbalanced, and our inner peace is destroyed.
To understand how all phenomena are empty of true, or inherent, existence, we should consider our own body. Once we have understood how our body lacks true existence, we can easily apply the same reasoning to other objects."