Practicing the good heart, or bodhichitta, is the essence of a good life and the best possible habit. Bodhichitta, which is a heart filled with love and compassion, is also the essence of a Buddha. It purifies negative karma and accumulates positive karma. Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, “The main thing is to practice bodhichitta. Dying with bodhichitta is the best way to die.”
Try to get to the point where your emotional default is into bodhichitta. In other words, what is your automatic reflex to life situations, especially difficult ones? Do you think about yourself, and how you might profit or escape from a situation? Or do you think about others, and how you can help? Progress on the path, and a sign that you’re well prepared for death, is when the former changes into the latter, when you default not into selfishness but into selflessness. If you’re uncertain about what to do in a situation, just open your heart and love. This is training in bodhichitta.
From Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition by Andrew Holecek, page 16