Engaging in your daily practice for the benefit of all living beings

The only thing we can take with us when we die is the karmic causes we have created for ourself.  A pure practitioner is not concerned with results, but is exclusively focused on creating good causes.  We have a fininte amount of time in this life to create good causes, so we need to make sure that every moment we dedicate to doing so we get the most karmic bang for the time invested.

The basic daily practice we do is the Yoga of Buddha Heruka (adding Dorje Shugden on at the end).  So the question is how do we engage in this practice in such a way as to create the maximum amount of good causes while we do it?

There are three things we can do:

First, we should take the time before we begin the practice to generate a qualified bodhichitta motivation.  Bodhichitta multiplies the power of our practice by the number of living beings – in other words, infinitely.  But it is not enough to just say ‘bodhichitta’, you need to actually generate the mind of bodhichitta.  To do this, I find it most helpful to recall that every living being is an aspect or a part of my mind and my dream.  I have imprisoned all living beings into contaminated aggregates and they are suffering terribly as a result.  I have made a terrible mess of the universe of my mind, and now I need to clean up the mess I have made, I need to right the wrongs I have committed, I need to undo the samsara that I have created.  Since the enitre universe and all of the beings within it are only the fabric of my mind (my mind is currently in the shape of a samsara filled with suffering beings), to correct for everything I need to reshape my mind in the aspect of a pure land in which all beings are free.  My mind is currently uncontrolled and is shaping itself as a samsara, but now I need to gain control of my mind and intentionally shape it as a pure land.  Only a Buddha can do this fully and compltely and irreversibly, therefore I need to become a Buddha.  How?  By engaging in the practice of the Yoga of Buddha Heruka, the method for reshaping my mind.  The advantage of this contemplation is it also functions to make our practice a practice of purification.  We acknowledge all the wrongs we have committed, and we resolve to do right by all living beings by undoing all that we have done.  This mind is absolutely orthogonal to all of the negativities we have ever created, and so therefore functions to purify all the negative karma we have with respect to all living beings very very quickly.  For me, bodhichitta is my main purificaton practice.

Second, we need to practice guru yoga throughout our practice.  Every visual apsect, every mind we generate, every intention we should correctly see as a manifestation of and inseparable from our guru.  The Guru functions karmically as the focal point for all the countless Buddhas.  We recall this fact, so that we have the feeling that when we make offerings, prostrations, requests, etc., we are doing so to all the countless Buddhas.  We are calling upon all of them, we are mixing our mind with all of them.  When we generate a visual form in the practice we recognize the nature of this visual form as being all of the Buddhas, so throughout the entire practice we are cognizant of the fact that we are mixing our mind with the minds of all the Buddhas in every aspect of the practice.  Since there are countless Buddhas, this too multiplies the power of our practice by the number of Buddhas.  We receive a flood of blessings, because they are all trying to bless our mind.  The most important mind to generate with guru yoga (besides the recognition that the guru is the synthesis of all the Buddhas) is the mind of total and complete surrender to him.  From the perspective of our Dharma practice, there are three things:  the conditions of our practice (outer, inner and secret), our practice itself (what we are doing) and the final objective/destination of our practice (the enlightenment of all beings in the aspect of ourselves and all beings abiding in Keajra as Heruka).  We surrender completely the outer, inner and secret conditions of our practice to Guru Dorje Shugden.  We surrender our practice itself completely to Guru Tsongkhapa (he guides us as to what to do and he even engages in our practice for us within our mind).  We surrender the final objective/destination of our practice as being Keajra.  We have no other objective, we let go of and leave behind (renounce) all other goals and objectives.  Renunciation in this context is not a foregoing something good that we are depriving ourselves of, rather it is a leaving behind of all things less worthy, desirable and meaningful. 

Finally, when we engage in the practice itself, we should do so either as all living beings or for all living beings.  Living beings are currently samsaric beings in our dream because we have been having them engage in samsaric actions.  By engaging in the practice as all living beings, in other words, recognizing ourselves as all living beings and imagining that they are all engaging in the practice, we karmically reshape our mind such that in the future living beings will appear to us to be engaging in the stages of the path to enlightenment – engaging in pure actions instead of contaminated actions.  Imagining they are doing this is one of the most virtuous things we can do towards them, and for us it creates several great causes.  First, we get the karma as if we were engaging in our practice countless times since in effect we are doing so.  Second, we create the causes to have Buddhas engage in our practice for us within our own mind, we are doing it for living beings creates the causes for Buddhas to do it for us.  Since they know how to engage in the practices perfectly, if we learn to surrender to their engaging in our practices within our mind for us, we too will come to practice perfectly.

Within the context of the Yoga of Buddha Heruka, how specifically do we do this?

  1. When we do refuge, bodhichitta, through to the mandala offering, we imagine that all living beings are around us and we are all collectively engaging in the practice, like a universal puja, towards Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka and the field of merit in front of us.
  2. When we engage in the Migstema prayer (which I add to the practice) and the request to GSBH, we dissolve all living beings into us, generate the mental recognition that they are in us, that we are them (imputing our I on all living beings in the aspect of us engaging in these requests).
  3. When we dissolve everything into the Dharmakaya, we imagine that we have freed all living beings from the samsara we normally project them in/imprison them in.
  4. When we arise as Heruka, we imagine that we are inside the minds of all living beings (in the aspect of the Dharmakaya), and that we are generating the Heruka Body Mandala within their mind in order to accomplish the function of the mandala in their mind, like a medical treatment of their mind. 
  5. When we do the checking meditation of the mandala we recall the symbolism of each aspect of the mandala, and we recognize that as we are performing these different functions inside of their mind as a means of healing/treating their minds.
  6. When we recite the mantras, we imagine each mantra is like a magical spell we are casting which functions to accomplish the function of each mantra on the mind of all living beings.
  7. When we do the Dorje Shugden part (which I add) we recall how all beings and the entire universe are empty (the fabric or ocean of our mind), and we request that he accomplish his function for all living beings within your dream, so that everything that happens to every single being function to channel or herd all living beings to enlightenment.
  8. When we dedicate, we once again recall emptiness and dedicate to reshape our mind according to the dedication prayers so that all beings are freed.

Yes, this is a lot to do and it takes time to become skilled at doing so, but if we do, the power of our practice will be augmented infinitely.  We will make the most out of the little time we have to engage in formal practice.

10 thoughts on “Engaging in your daily practice for the benefit of all living beings

  1. Cher Ryan,
    Je pratique tous les matins le Yoga d’Herouka. je ne saurais commencer une seule journée sans cette magnifique sadhana à laquelle, suivant les conseils de Vénérable Ghéshéla dans son livre, j’ai également ajouté la partie du Protecteur Dorjé Shugden.
    De te lire, je vois une magnifique façon de donner plus de signification et d’efficacité à ma pratique. Un grand merci d’être toujours et pour toujours mon bienveillant enseignant.

  2. bodhisattva4you,

    Kadam Engen est une émanation de Hérouka flagrante à mon avis.

    Je me réjouis de votre pratique quotidienne!

    Mariatonella, i agree, this is wonderful!

  3. Hi and thanks so much for your fantastic blog.
    I am slightly confused concerning ‘other sentient beings’. In many of your posts, including this one, you talk about my dream and them being trapped by me in my dream. Are they not each a separate continuum also in their own dreams and am I not appearing in their dream in the same way? its almost as if you are saying that they only exist in my mind and are not actually sentient beings which poses the question in my confused mind- am I the only sentient being? I am sure the answer is no but please help me in my ignorance! – many thanks and thanks again for such a wonderful site.

    • Ah yes, you have identified one of the most difficult to understand paradoxes of the Prasangika view of emptiness. Everything, including other sentient beings – and even their minds – are completely empty. In other words, you are 100% dreaming other living beings, including their minds and everything they project. And the same is true for everyone else. How can we reconcile this? The me that you see and know is a creation of your mind. The you that you see and know is a creation of your mind. The you that I see and know is a creation of my mind. The me that I see and know is a creation of my mind. Who is the real me? Who is the real you? Nobody at all.

  4. Thanks Kadampa Ryan- most helpful. Forgive me but i have been trying to get to the bottom of this for some time! May I ask another … Is the me that you see and the me that I see (although different as our minds are different) actually the same manifestation of emptiness? only loaded with my and your delusions? otherwise how could we be communicating in a consistent manner?

  5. Yes, I think your understanding is close to correct. The you that I see is a manifest object to me and a hidden object to you. The you that you see is a hidden object to me and a manifest object to you. The you that I see is a manifestation of the emptiness of the you that I see; and the you that you see is a manifestation of the emptiness of the you that you see. These are two different emptinesses. But conventionally, we both agree we are talking about “you.” So that’s how we can communicate.

  6. Thanks again. So there are many emptinesses of ‘me/you’, each a reflection of the perceiver. We conventionally ‘recognise’ each other and communicate on that basis- conventionally/functionally . No wonder there is so much misunderstanding in the world 🙂

    So… any action I take on another only truly affects me (my karma) and is reflected in the manifestation of their emptiness in my mind? but conventionally their own manifestation of their emptiness will observe this action by convention also but in their own deluded mind it may seem so different?

    … Ultimately my non virtuous action then, can only hurt others if they are subscribing to the same convention as me? Hence a pure mind cannot be harmed?

    Thank you so much for your very kind assistance.

  7. My actions and my thoughts are hidden objects inside your mind. But they too are also empty from your perspective (and mine). Ultimately, everything is a manifestation of the emptiness of our very subtle mind of great bliss. And the same true for everyone else. Contemplate deeply hidden versus manifest objects and much will be revealed.

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