My most dear, most kind, most precious, wish-fulfilling one,
Thank you very much for your kind letter and for clarifying what happened in your life.
As you asked for practices, the most important thing when you first wake up, what you should meditate on, is the morning motivation, The Method to Transform a Suffering Life into Happiness (Including Enlightenment). This changes your motivation for the whole day.
Now regarding your daily practices, a very important one is reciting OM MANI PADME HUM mantra and also reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra and names. These are very important: Chenrezig and Medicine Buddha.
Medicine Buddha is for success. The biggest success is to achieve enlightenment for sentient beings, to free them from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment by yourself. For that you need success. Of course, you can do the Medicine Buddha practice for success in becoming free from samsara, success in attaining a higher rebirth, success in meeting the Dharma and any other success that you need in this life.
Because you asked generally for practices, here I am sending you many years of practice. This could be a whole life of practice. I am advising that you don’t have to feel, “How dare he send so many practices!” You don’t have to freak out or think about jumping off the roof or jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. You don’t need to feel like this.
Please do these preliminary practices, as much as you can, gradually. Do what you can, one by one, or two together, like that. Try that and take it easy. You don’t have to think that everything has to be done in one day. Don’t think like that.
- Prostrations to the Thirty-Five Confession Buddhas: 50,000
- Mandala offerings: 500
- Dorje Khadro (burning offering) mantras: 300,000
- Water bowl offerings: 7,000
- Four immeasurable thoughts: 300,000 recitations. You are so lucky, because when you think about each one of the four immeasurables you collect more than skies of merit of good karma. You are able to achieve realizations quickly and achieve enlightenment quickly and you are able to free the sentient beings from samsara and bring them to enlightenment quickly.
Lamrim Study and Practice
The main lamrim text for you is The Essential Nectar, a commentary by Geshe Rabten. There is also the root text, but the commentary explains in more detail.
The Essential Nectar is your meditation guide book and the other commentaries you can read are texts like Liberation in the Palm of your Hand, Lama Tsongkhapa’s Middle Lamrim or Great Lamrim.
When you read the text mindfully from beginning to end, that is the meditation. Anything you don’t understand you can write down in a book and ask a geshe or a student who has studied the lamrim well.
Read The Essential Nectar from beginning to end four or six times. Read it through slowly, relating it to your own life.
To gain effortful lamrim experience, meditate according to the lamrim outline. Go through the cycle of meditations three times, spending the specified number of months on each subject, and then do effortless meditation.
Highest Yoga Tantra
When you take your main deity initiation, then you can do retreat on that; the enabling retreat.
The reason for taking Highest Yoga Tantra initiations and doing the practices is because this is the quickest way to achieve enlightenment in this life, then to be able to free the numberless sentient beings from the oceans of samsaric suffering and bring them to enlightenment the quickest.