My very dear Jane,
Thank you very much for your kind letter, and sorry for the long delay in replying.
According to my observations you should:
- Do Black Manjrushri practice. Chant one mala every day.
- Recite the Om Padmo mantra. Recite six malas a day.
- Read the Long Life Sutra eleven times. Print it out a few times or photocopy it on very nice paper.
- It is very good if you can offer Naga Torma and do the Naga Incense puja. You can get this practice from the FPMT Education Office. However, it is very important to do this only on the special naga days. It cannot be done on any day, so you need to check a Tibetan calendar before to make sure it is a good day. It would be very good if you could do the naga practice at a beach or near a spring. At Chenrezig Institute, a little bit up from Geshe-la’s house, on the right side, there is a place where water comes out of the ground. You can do it there and at other places at Chenrezig.
- It is very good if you can take the Eight Mahayana Precepts more frequently. Taking them collects extensive merit and purifies negative karma, It would be very good if you can take them as much as you can.
- It is important that you start doing Samayavajra practice.
- Also, do one longlife practice every day. You can choose—it could be White Tara, Amitayus, etc.
Try to live your life as much as possible with a bodhicitta motivation and do lam-rim meditation. If you can, try to spend one month mainly focusing on guru devotion. Follow the outline according to the lam-rim texts and try to meditate until you achieve stable realizations.
After one month, continue circling through the lam-rim outlines—renouncing this life and future lives, realizing bodhicitta and emptiness—until you attain stable realizations. In this way, continue through the lam-rim every day. Your main practice is the lam-rim for now and later tantra.
With much love and prayers...