The Visualization of Exchanging Yourself with Another
The practice exchange of yourself with another is an important practice in the cultivation of Bodhicitta. Indeed, cultivating loving-kindness in our minds not only benefits others but also benefits ourselves. This is not only true from the Buddhist point of view but is also corroborated by scientific research.
There are many methods of the exchange of self and others. To sum up my point, when an animal is being killed, visualize it as if you were being killed; when the animal’s head is being cut off, visualize it as if your head was being cut off. So visualize in this way and try to see how you feel if suffering like this and try to familiarize the practice. This is the best method to practice Bodhicitta and also the essence of altruism.
Compassion and meditation are regarded as some of the primary characteristics of Buddhism. Nowadays in the US, some famous universities have been doing research on meditation and the practice of compassion. They examined the physical and mental condition of certain people before and after such practice. The experimental study demonstrated that through compassionate practice and meditation, their mental condition improved immensely and they had great benefits to themselves. The research also proved that such practices bring great benefits to the people around them. We can gradually realize this. The practice of compassion can first benefit the practitioner him or herself.
I have read the book called Deadly Emotions, which stated that if a person holds too much anger, his blood will become poisonous. If the blood was injected into other animals, it would cause them to get poisoned. So we should cultivate warm-heartedness in our minds. This notion is not just based on Buddhist teaching, but has also been proven scientifically. Altruism generates incredible merits and is not merely a theoretical Buddhist doctrine. In our daily life, either in the East or the West, we all need to cultivate the altruistic mind.