My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much for your kind email and thank you for your kind service to me, to sentient beings and to the teachings of the Buddha.
Regarding your question about practice, what comes out very good is for you to practice Chenrezig and Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, which also contains a lamrim prayer. The lamrim contains the whole path to enlightenment, so each time you read it, imprints of the whole path to enlightenment are left in your mind. If you can, do Lama Chöpa (Guru Puja) from time to time. That is also very good.
The other thing if you have time is to do Lama Chöpa in the morning and Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga in the evening, and after that you can do dedication prayers, such as the King of Prayers. In this way you are doing very extensive dedication every day for all sentient beings, and it also creates the cause for you to be reborn in Amitabha’s pure land at the time of death.
You can also do any other prayers, like Vajrasattva, in the evening time. Recite the long mantra at least twenty-one times, with the remedy of the four opponent powers. If you can, do prostrations by reciting the Thirty-five Buddhas names one time through. It would be very good if you can also do that in the morning, so that would be twice a day. That would be very good.
If you find time, study the lamrim and do meditation. Study one lamrim text, going through it step-by-step, meditating on each part in order to have realizations, then when you finish the text start again at the beginning, from guru devotion. In this way you can go through it three times. This is called effortful meditation.
Then do effortless meditation, no matter how many weeks, months or years it takes. Continue until you have stable realizations of guru devotion, until you see the one guru as all the buddhas from your side, and one buddha as all the gurus from whom you received a Dharma connection. Do this until you can see that one hundred percent and you are able to see it for a long time without effort.
If possible, also do a little bit of meditation each day on the graduated path of the lower capable being, the different levels. Meditate on the perfect human rebirth, until you see from your side how precious this human body is, more precious than wish-granting jewels, than skies of wish-granting jewels. Meditate on this human body as most precious, until you feel this for months and years without effort, that it is most precious. You can go on like that relating to each meditation, so after that meditate on its usefulness, how it is difficult to find again, etc. Then impermanence and death, which has the nine-round meditation, then the sufferings of the lower realms, refuge and karma.
After you have these realizations, train the mind in the path of the middle capable being, particular the sufferings of the deva and human realms, the general sufferings, the six and twelve types, and the twelve links, until you see that samsara is like being in the center of a fire or like being in prison. It’s unbelievable. Then without effort you will have renunciation to be free from samsara, every second without effort.
Also meditate on bodhicitta until the thought to achieve enlightenment arises day and night without effort, and you want to achieve enlightenment for every person you see.
Then emptiness. You should do this every day, I’m not sure of the time, by reading the Heart Sutra or different quotations, reciting and meditating, even if it is a short verse on emptiness.
Realize that the real I—what appears, what you trust in—is false. Recognize it as false and then see it as empty; after that see it is totally empty, it does not exist. From the beginning by training the mind in that we see as a result—what we realize first is ultimate truth and through that we realize the truth for the all-obscuring mind—that the I exists in mere name. We realize that as a result it is merely labeled by the mind. We see the I exists in mere name and because it exists in mere name that’s why it is empty, so unified emptiness and dependent arising. When we realize that, then we have completed the understanding of emptiness.
Continue in that, by training the mind in that we achieve great insight meditation—emptiness with the realization of shinä, calm abiding, deriving rapturous ecstasy of body and mind.
By training the mind in that, it leads to the direct perception of emptiness, which ceases the seed of delusion, then no delusion and karma, no suffering, and we achieve nirvana. We achieve the ultimate nature of the mind, free from delusion and karma, and with the support of bodhicitta we develop ultimate wisdom. By developing ultimate wisdom, the direct perception of emptiness, by developing that with the supporting method, bodhicitta and so forth, then we can achieve full enlightenment. We are able to see the subtle obscurations and complete the mind in all the realizations, and we become a perfect guide, able to do perfect works for sentient beings.
Also recite OM MANI PADME HUM and do Chenrezig meditation to purify negative karmas and defilements collected since beginningless rebirths. This is the most powerful purification and the way to collect the most extensive merits, and the way to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings—to free every single sentient being from the oceans of samsaric sufferings and bring them to the peerless happiness, full enlightenment.
Please continue to make your life most meaningful with the thought of bodhicitta day and night and in everything that you do.
With much love and prayers ...