Whatever practices we do, whether the common ones of taking refuge and making prostrations, the various trainings in bodhichitta, the methods for purifying the defilements of body and speech, or the uncommon practices of the Secret Mantra (the visualization and recitation of Vajrasattva, guru yoga, or meditation on the yidam deity), all that we do—and this is very important—should be accompanied by the three “supreme methods.”
The first of these methods is the attitude of bodhichitta. All beings possess the
tathagatagarbha, the seed of buddhahood, but this is obscured and veiled. As a result, they wander in samsara. The first method is therefore to be determined to liberate them from this ocean of suffering.
The second supreme method is to have a mind free from conceptualization, which means to practice without distraction. Even if we make only a single prostration, we should not just go through the motions mechanically, with our thoughts and words elsewhere. On the contrary, we should practice with a concentrated mind, and never be carried away by distraction.
The third supreme method is to conclude with dedication. Whatever merit has been generated must be dedicated for the sake of beings, who are as many as the sky is vast. In fact, if we forget to round off our practice with the excellent attitude of bodhichitta, dedicating the merit to others, this merit could be destroyed in a moment of strong anger or defilement.
For this reason, all positive actions should immediately be followed by an act of dedication for the welfare of all beings. The benefits of this supreme method are immense; dedication renders merit inexhaustible and causes it to increase constantly.
Counsels from My Heart