Dear Establishing a Daily Practice students,
If you don’t have a meditation space and altar in your home, please set one up. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If you already have an altar, you might want to re-examine it in light of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s guidance in the required readings hand-out. I’ll expand the discussion on how to prepare an altar in the next class.
Please come to class next week having read: Required Readings handout — pages 1 – 17; 57 – 64. Wish fulling golden light of the sun — pages 1 – 68. These readings will be very helpful for understanding why a daily practice is so important and for setting your motivation. If you are coming primarily from a Zen / Theravadan background, you’ll also find these readings to be interesting.
Also, order a copy of the practice manual “Shakyamuni Buddha – A Daily Meditation on Shakyamuni Buddha” from the FPMT online shop. Written by Lama Zopa Rinpoche for use by beginning students, it is a clearly outlined practice complete with guided meditations for developing one’s motivation, the mind of refuge, and the thought of bodhichitta. In addition the practice contains mantra recitation and visualization based on Shakyamuni Buddha and a Lam-rim prayer in the form of a request for blessings to develop all the realizations on the path to full awakening. We will use this prayer book during class and you should try to do this practice daily. It takes 3 – 5 days for your order to arrive from FPMT. This practice is not available as a PDF download from FPMT, unfortunately, I checked. The practice is included in Essential Prayers Volume 1 in case you already have that book.
Please print the following prayer booklet. We will be doing some of these prayers together in class: 8 prayers to benefit the dead.
You might want to use a meditation journal to record your thoughts and observations. This can be helpful for tracking changes over time.
- On a piece of paper, write down your short-term goal for your daily practice just until the end of this course in early December. For example, your goal might be to do the Shakyamuni Daily Practice three times a week, and maybe calm abiding or vipassana meditation the other four days a week. Be realistic! This is for your personal use only, you will not be asked to share your goals in class.
- Do at least three prostrations a day using whichever version you feel comfortable with.
- Recite at least ten malas of the Chenrezig mantra, OM MANE PADME HUM
- Recite as many Medicine Buddha mantras as possible, TAYATA OM BEKANZAY BEKANZAY MAHA BEKANZAY RADZA SAMUDGATAY SOHA
Do you find it difficult to establish a daily practice, and if so, why? What kind of experience in your life would it take to change your mind? Why do you think people tend to turn to the Dharma in times of stress and then abandon their practice when things are going well?
Please share your thoughts with the group using the Comment feature below.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email: email@example.com.