Of all the prayers in the universe none is as powerful as the Bodhisattva Prayer. The Bodhisattva Prayer is the aspiration to lead all sentient to complete enlightenment and liberation from the six realms of suffering known as samsara.
The thought of I or self is the only obstacle to reaching enlightenment and liberation. If the I can be dissolved without enmity then you will become enlightened. Constantly remaining in that view is liberation. When the thought of self arises in your mind it is like a cloud gathering in the sky blocking the natural radiance of your true nature. Continually clinging on to the thought of self even more clouds gather creating a thunderstorm of discursive thoughts, emotions and actions that only serve to increase the delusion of self and its suffering. The best way to disperse the delusion of self is to become selfless by thinking of others more than yourself and develop love, compassion, and wisdom towards all sentient beings, from a single insect on a single blade of grass to the highest wisdom of Samantabhadra. With this aspiration the awakening of Bodhicitta will dawn in your mind stream dispersing the dark clouds of a thousand eons bringing the natural clear light awareness to the forefront of your being.
Some people say that practice makes perfect. But, we say that only perfect practice makes perfect. Imperfect practice only makes imperfect. What goes in is what comes out. A religion or spiritual practice that liberates their practitioners is Buddhism. A religion or spiritual practice that doesn't is a cult. You can practice one billion Buddha tantras for one billion years but if you still haven't developed the awakened mind of Bodhicitta you still won't be any closer to enlightenment. Chan Master Huihai once said, "if you keep searching for the Buddha you will spend an eternity in samsara and never see a single one. But, if you can see the nature of your own mind for just an instant then you will see all of the Buddhas in the entire universe". Our original nature is none other than the Buddha itself; compassionate wakefulness free from all attachments to the five skandhas of thoughts, feelings, conceptions, impulses and consciousness.
To dispel the demon of self and all the clouds that arises from the delusion of self the Lord Buddha in his infinite wisdom taught us the unexcelled method of increasing our own enlightenment and wisdom by wishing the same for others. If you pray for someone else's enlightenment without a thought of reward then the karma of that prayer comes right back to you bestowing all of the blessing of enlightenment upon you. If you pray for one hundred people to reach enlightenment then the karma comes back to you one hundred times. Now, if you wish for all of the sentient beings in the entire universe to become fully and completely enlightened then think of the results and immense blessings that will rain down upon such aspirations. This is the path of the Bodhisattva. Being selfless the self is dissolved, and if there is no self, there is no place for suffering to attach itself to.
As long as sentient being remain in samsara may I too remain so that I may inspire them to recognize their own true nature, free from both attachment and aversion, hope and fear!!!
[Source: Purify Our Mind]