People often wonder why there are such great benefits associated with practicing bodhicitta. To account for this, Buddha Shakyamuni gave four reasons.

First of all, when you grow in this way, you are not just doing it for one or two people. You are developing love and compassion for all beings, so there is great cause for an infinite expansion of merit. The practice truly brings joy and happiness to all sentient beings directly or indirectly, so it is a great source of spiritual energy and miraculous abilities. This is the first reason given to account for the immeasurable power associated with the practice of bodhicitta: the infinitude of the objective focus -- all sentient beings.

The second reason given is that, when considering the experience of all sentient beings, you feel from the bottom of your heart that you would like to remove their misery. Since you are no only thinking of the misery of one or two friends, but you are aspiring to remove the suffering of all beings, the power of this virtue expands infinitely. This is the inconceivable power arising from the aspiration to relieve all of their suffering.

The third power is related to the fact that you would like to establish them in the unceasing happiness and joy of enlightenment. This is called the power of giving, the great aspiration to share happiness with all beings.

The fourth power is associated with tireless endurance. As we have already mentioned many times, the bodhisattva's endeavor is not just for one or two days. His or her commitment perseveres until every single sentient being is totally free from suffering and realizes ultimate enlightenment.

On the basis of these four great factors, bodhisattvas accumulate great power to remove the troubles and obscurations of self and others.


from the teachings of


Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche

Quotes used in this section of the website are excerpted from the chapter, The Four Immeasurables
published in The Door to Inconceivable Wisdom and Compassion, Sky Dancer Press, 1996