The compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all others is called Bodhicitta in Sanskrit: bodhi refers to ourenlightened essence, and citta 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. Bodhicitta, then, is the spring and source and root of the entire spiritual path. This is why in our tradition we pray with such urgency:

Those who haven’t yet given birth to precious Bodhicitta,
May they give birth,
Those who have given birth,
May their Bodhicitta not lessen
but increase further and further.