On whichever path you follow — the Mahayana path, and especially the Vajrayana path, which includes visualizations, recitations, and foundation practices — all practices are of course very, very important. But the most important practice of all is the cultivation of compassion. Without compassion, no matter what you do, it will not be the direct cause of enlightenment. For a practice to be a direct cause of enlightenment, you must have enlightenment mind. And to have proper enlightenment mind, you need compassion. Without compassion you can’t have the other qualities.
from the book Freeing the Heart and Mind: Introduction to the Buddhist Path
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