The Mirror of Essential Points

The king of perfect dedication
Is the means of increasing the root of virtue.
This teaching is the specialty of Shakyamuni,
Which is not taught by other teachers.

—Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

Without prayers of aspiration, expressing one’s noble wishes, our meditation lacks something important, a certain vital richness. Your aspirations must be inspired by the altruistic spirit of bodhicitta, awakened heart-mind. Express them in the presence of a holy object or in a sacred place. For example, when you go to Bodhgaya, the place of the Buddha’s enlightenment, first offer one thousand flowers, one thousand butter lamps, and one thousand alms to beggars. Sit next to the Vajra Throne—the seat of the Buddha’s enlightenment—and, with the sacred place as your witness, offer a mandala with a completely open heart to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Then simply sit, let go of your ego completely, and let go of the idea of offering. Now make the sincere aspiration “For the sake of all sentient beings, may I realize rigpa,” the awakened state. Don’t pray selfishly; do not use such a precious circumstance to be egotistical. Instead, make this wish: “Even if I don’t become realized in this life, may I realize rigpa in the next life to benefit countless sentient beings.” The combination of that circumstance and your pure aspirations will be very, very powerful and even can influence world peace.

Unfortunately, these points are missed in the West. The sincere force of our aspirations, the influence of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas as the support, the sacred place itself—all these together create a kind of powerful energy that also enhances our potential for being stable in rigpa. Westerners, though, often don’t give much thought to such matters as aspirations and accumulation of merit; they think these things are mostly for beginners. In fact, making aspirations is an advanced practice for advanced practitioners.

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