We begin Dharma practice by developing loving Kindness and compassion. There is no end to Dharma practice, but if there were, it would end with loving Kindness and compassion. This is the core essence of Dharma practice. Developing loving Kindness and compassion is the essence of any Dharma practice we can do. All teachings have the same message, that of generating loving kindness and compassion. So it is crucial that we know how to essentialism all of the Dharma teachings, not thinking that all these Dharma teachings have separate goals. When we practice Bodhicitta, loving-kindness, the goal is already here, right here in each of us, in this moment. It does not exist in the future when we are better practitioners. The goal IS what we are doing right now. Practicing loving and kindness is the goal of the practice. When we practice love and compassion for other beings, for ourselves, we are truly enlightened in that moment. There is no other definition of enlightenment apart from having loving Kindness and compassion.
The goal is already actualized in this moment. The goal is the practice itself. This is a very Mahayana idea, because normally we think a goal is something we obtain in the future, as the result of the practice of meditation or loving Kindness. But in this way our Dharma practice is based on expectations and selfish motivations and lacks the authentic heart-connection needed to free us of delusion. Ironically, the goal is not in the future. The ever-present goal is already here. The path itself is the goal. This paradox characterizes the teachings. In many ways the teachings are paradoxical because we approach everything from a material point of view. We approach the teachings with a mentality of lack, which means we think the teachings are going to give us something. We think we are going to get something special from listening to teachings and practicing Dharma. But Dharma practice does not turn us into somebody special. Dharma practice only reveals what has always been present within each of us, but has been obscured by the pettiness of our desire, ambition, greed, hatred and ignorance. This is why it is so important for us to always check our motivation. When we check our motivation, we can see what is false and discard it through simply seeing. The seeing itself is the energy of Bodhicitta (Enlighten mind), of loving Kindness and compassion. Seeing does not come from our intellect. Awareness is unconfined, universal love, whereas the intellect, the ego, is limited to selfishness and does not have the capacity to see itself. Ignorance, not recognizing who we are, this is the characteristic of our delusion.