The most important thing is the motivation in life. This transforms ka-ka into gold. The motivation decides the direction of one’s life: not seeking the happiness of this life, which is just one life and so short, but the happiness of all future lives. We work for 60-70 years of happiness in order to achieve just five minutes of happiness.
Thinking of the happiness of all future lives is the virtuous motivation which makes an action beneficial. The problem is the wrong motivation of clinging to the happiness of this life. So, anything we do with this motivation—meditation, prayer, etc.—is not virtuous, even though it may look like virtue. It is not Dharma.
Just having a virtuous motivation directs your life to happiness. All the realms of suffering—gods, humans, lower realms—are all eliminated with this motivation toward the direction of everlasting happiness. Of course, bodhicitta (the awakening mind), cherishing others’ happiness and bringing them all to ultimate happiness, and bodhicitta which seeks work for others and enlightenment for their benefit is the most satisfying, happy life.
In the morning, first rejoice like this. Think: “So far I did not die. I could be in hell or an animal. Even if I was a human, maybe I would be the type of human with no connection with Buddhism, just having the shape of a human but being just like an animal, mentally completely dark, like stepping off a cliff.” Think: “I have attained a perfect human rebirth and met the Buddha in human form in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other high lamas. The buddhas take care of me. How incredibly fortunate I am. What a great opportunity I have. I can create any happiness I want, even the Pure Land, if I don’t attain enlightenment in this life. I will be able to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all others.
“This human life is more precious than a gem because I can create the happiness of this life and all future lives for myself and others—this is the purpose of my life and my responsibility, because all the happiness I have attained is due to others. Even this body is due to the kindness of others, my parents, and so on.
“Many people don’t have a perfect human rebirth, but I do. So, I am responsible. Also, I am responsible because I have the opportunity to liberate countless sentient beings.
“From now on until I die, I will never be separate from bodhicitta. Everything I do, eating, sleeping, sitting, walking, and so on, is for others. If I do this just for myself, I just create problems for myself.” This is the most important practice.
Chanting mantras is good. Why? To develop a good heart. It is just one method. But this [above] is the most important practice. If you practice like this there will be no regret in the future. You will enjoy happiness more and more. This prayer on the motivation of life is the first practice for you to do.
Secondly, think: “Due to all my past, present, and future merits, collected by me, may any sentient being just by seeing me, criticizing me, having contact with me, never be reborn in the lower realms. May they find faith in the Dharma. May all their wishes be fulfilled instantly according to Dharma and may they instantly attain enlightenment.”
Thirdly: “Due to all the past, present, and future merits collected by me, whatever I attain—failure or success, living or dying, pleasure or pain, being reborn in the lower realms, eating, sleeping, walking—may it become most beneficial for sentient beings.”
Conclude with this prayer: “Whatever I achieve by being in this world, universe, house, place, university, may all these people never be reborn in the lower realms but attain happiness. May all beings with AIDS and all incurable illnesses be immediately healed. May those who have depression have their hearts filled with bliss. May anyone with relationship problems be filled with joy. May those who live in poverty have wealth. May those who are jobless find jobs. May those wishing to find a friend find the friend who brings only happiness instead of friends who cause suffering. May all war and famine be ceased.”
Fourthly: “Due to all my past, present, and future merits, may my family and I meet only qualified gurus in all future lives, see only enlightened beings, and do those actions that are pleasing to the virtuous friends in all lifetimes. “ This is to make the purpose of our life vast.
Fifthly, if you want to do meditation, make a light offering to Manjushri, or you can offer to Lama Tsongkhapa since he is the same as Manjushri. Then do Lama Tsongkhapa guru yoga and lam-rim prayer for a few minutes to increase realizations. If you can, recite 21 Mig Tsema prayers, or more if you wish, with white light purifying all obstacles so you can develop your mind. You can do 10-15 mantras with white light flowing into you, and you achieve the Clear Wisdom, the Quick Wisdom, and the Profound Wisdom. Then, for the rest you can do a short version where the light generates the Wisdom to recite Dharma and the Wisdom to Help. Also, you can generate other Wisdoms, like Debating Wisdom and Writing Wisdom. Altogether you can do one mala or you can do one mala for each wisdom.
Finally, dedicate the merit: “Due to these merits, may bodhicitta ripen within my heart, my family, the leaders of countries, violent people, and all sentient beings.” When you dedicate to all sentient beings it is like adding your money to everyone else’s. It’s like making a huge fund.
“Due to these merits may I achieve enlightenment and bring all sentient beings to enlightenment by myself alone.” Merit that is collected without bodhicitta means you receive the fruit just once. But bodhicitta it is like a wish-granting tree, it never stops granting you your wishes.
To protect the merit which we have collected extensively from anger or heresy we seal it with emptiness. Think: “These merits appear to exist from their own side. May the merit, which is empty, may the ‘I’ which is empty, attain Lama Tsongkhapa’s enlightenment, which is empty from its own side.
“Due to these merits may I have the same qualities as Buddha and Lama Tsongkhapa. May my merits be dedicated exactly as they dedicated their merits. I dedicate my merits exactly the same way Samantabhadra did.
“May the teachings of Buddha, especially those of Lama Tsongkhapa, spread and enter the hearts of all people on this earth.”
When you go to bed, you can do 21 Vajrasattva recitations. You can also do the 35 Buddhas practice, visualizing that you are prostrating. Then do the dedication as stated in Vajrasattva. When going to bed, remember the meaning of your life. Also, when going to class, go with the attitude that you are going for all sentient beings. Then it brings the most happiness and joyful things. Remember why you are there.
Vajrasattva Meditation and Mantra
On the crown of your head, on a lotus and moon seat, are Vajrasattva father and mother, their bodies white in color, with one face and two arms, holding vajra and bell, cleaver and skullcup, and embracing each other. The father is adorned with the six mudra-ornaments and the mother with the five mudra-ornaments. They sit in the vajra and lotus positions. In his heart, on a moon-disc is a HUM encircled by the mantra-rosary, from which cascades a stream of white nectar, cleansing you of all sickness, evil spirits, black karmic debts, and obstacles.
OM VAJRASATTVA SAMAYA/ MANU PALAYA/ VAJRASATTVA TENO PATITHA/ DRI DHO ME BHAVA/ SUTO KHAYO ME BHAVA/ SUPO KHAYO ME BHAVA/ ANU RAKTO ME BHAVA/ SARVA SIDDHIM ME PRAYATSA/ SARVA KARMA SUTSAME/ TSIT TAM SHRI YAM KURU HUNG/ HA HA HA HA HOH/ BHAGAVAN SARVA TATHAGATA/ VAJRA MAME MUNTSA/ VAJRA BHAVA/ MAHA SAMAYA SATTVA AH HUNG PHET (recite 21 times)
Through my ignorance and delusion,
I have transgressed and degenerated my commitments.
Spiritual master, savior, be my refuge.
Lord, holder of the vajra,
Endowed with great compassion,
In you, the foremost of living beings, I take refuge.
Vajrasattva and his consort then dissolve into you, and your three doors of body, speech, and mind become inseparable from Vajrasattva’s body, speech, and mind.