Preliminary Practices 

Preliminary Practices 

Date Posted:
August 2009

A student wrote asking about preliminary practices and Rinpoche sent the following advice.

My dear Tim,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. You are a stable and growing inspiration – not only for practicing Dharma but for dedicating your life to goodness – to liberating yourself and all other sentient beings. Also, you want to engage in ordination, which is taking strong responsibility to liberate yourself from the ocean of samsaric sufferings. It is especially taking responsibility to liberate countless sentient beings from the ocean of samsaric sufferings, the continuation of which has no beginning.

My advice is when making important decisions in your life, the most important thing for you and all other sentient beings is to think well. One must see it thoroughly. One must look at it thoroughly – not just for a few days or a few months. Here in the Tibetan tradition, ordination is until death. It comes down to the point of what happens to oneself by following attachment. Delusion can harm us and all sentient beings. This is how it has been since beginningless rebirths. This effort, (of following attachment), has been with us from time without beginning, from beginningless rebirths. So, by not following desire and delusion, you achieve liberation – everlasting happiness – and, of course, with bodhicitta, you reach enlightenment.

Not only that, but you will be able to liberate countless sentient beings, from whom you have received all your past, present, and future happiness, from the oceans of samsaric suffering – delusions and karma.

The objective or purpose of this life decision you are making is not just for the temporary happiness of this life and not for the samsaric happiness of future lives. Of course, the benefit of practicing Mahayana Buddhism has vast amounts of benefit. Living in ordination correctly, living in the vows of the precepts of the high ordination, makes it much easier to achieve this goal.

Your main deity to achieve the quickest enlightenment is Tara Cittamani – the highest yoga tantra aspect, also, Kalachakra. You can take the Kalachakra initiation and do some practice with that, also some retreat, but the main thing is on the basis of Tara, practicing mind training, lam-rim and the three principal paths. Try to learn as much as you can and then focus on that – the generation stage and completion stage. First, the main thing is lam-rim. After a few years, then, the main focus is the generation stage.

Your preliminary practices to do, to purify obstacles and generate realizations, purify negative karma and delusions, and create the necessary conditions to achieve realizations and to receive the blessings of the guru in your heart are as follows:

  • 20,000 guru yoga – for blessings of the guru for the common realizations of the lam-rim, and the uncommon realizations of the tantric path.
  • 300,000 tsa-tsas – mostly Mitukpa, but then also do a few of the seven Medicine Buddhas, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and the Thirty-five Buddhas.
  • Also, read the Golden Light Sutra.

Take care of your life with Dharma, in the Dharma (bodhicitta),

With much love and prayers...