Advice on What to do Before Beginning Daily Meditation

Before we begin our daily meditation, we should clean our room and prepare our altar by cleaning it and making offerings. If we have no altar, we do not need to worry, we can simply visualize Padmasambhava in front of us.

The seven offering bowls which are offered on the altar symbolize the seven offerings:
๐Ÿ”ธWater for drinking,
๐Ÿ”ธWater for washing hands and feet,
๐Ÿ”ธFlowers for adorning the head or hair,
๐Ÿ”ธIncense for smelling to please the nose,
๐Ÿ”ธLamp for seeing to please the eyes,
๐Ÿ”ธPerfumed water to sprinkle on the body, to refresh it, and
๐Ÿ”ธFood to please the taste.
Music to please the ears can be an eighth offering.

The offerings which we make on the altar are symbolic. In our minds, we offer all pleasant things that we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. We offer the light of the sun and the moon, all fresh flowers, all pleasing smells, all delicious food, and so forth, everything wonderful. Since these offerings are made to the Three Jewels and the Three Roots, who do not have any greed or desire for these offerings, they are made for the benefit of all sentient beings. After we have prepared our room and our altar, we begin our meditation with the common outer practice which is the four thoughts to turn the mind.

These are:
๐Ÿ”ธThe preciousness of human birth,
๐Ÿ”ธ Impermanence and death,
๐Ÿ”ธthe cause and effect of karma, and
๐Ÿ”ธThe suffering of saแนƒsฤra.
By meditating on these four thoughts, the mind is subdued and one is led to renounce saแนƒsฤra.

Then we do the extraordinary inner preparation, which is the preliminary practice. Within the Ngondro, there are:
๐Ÿ”ธgoing for refuge,
๐Ÿ”ธgenerating Bodhicitta,
๐Ÿ”ธVajrasattva purification,
๐Ÿ”ธmaแน‡แธala offering,
๐Ÿ”ธand the prayer of Guru Yoga

Thinley Norbu
Small Golden Key
Translated by Lisa Anderson
Shambala
ยฉ๏ธ2012