For us practitioner of motivation, practice refuge, take refuge, recite the refuge, recitation such as sang gye kyab su chi .., in pali and sanskrit, however in english, chinese, whatever language. I personally prefer that you do it with your own language. Also you know it doesn’t have to always be, you have to always recite something that is composed by the lamas of the past. Although I should recommend that you do that because it must have so much blessing. You make up your own. Like I take refuge to the buddha, dharma, sangha, please protect me from all kinds of suffering, all kinds of problems, accidents, diseases, bad news and bad dreams and all that. You also take refuge to the buddha, dharma , sangha, please protect me from my selfishness – mahayana path. Everything. You can even, so much so that you can even take refuge this way. Take refuge to the buddha, dharma, sangha, so that you will actually really take refuge to buddha, dharma, sangha. Really, everything like turning to the practice of the refuge. So that I will have right motivation, so that I will actually want to take refuge. So that I will have no doubt to the buddha, dharma, and sangha.
If you want to elaborate, you can have a statue of the buddha, if that helps you. If not necessary statue of a buddha, even a dharma text such as a Vajracchedika Sutra or a Heart Sutra, or whatever, even the text that you have, you can put it on the shrine. You can make offerings of whatever is available or whatever you can. Incense, flower, water. If you don’t have, or if you cant have it because of a certain situation such as in the aeroplane, then you visualize because you are a practitioner of motivation.Remember. It is not as if certain amount of flower will please the triple gem. You can actually offer one flower and think in billion, that it manifests into billions.
You can add everything, not only make offerings and recitation, but everything that you do should help you, everything what you do in your daily life, if possible, should help you assisting in this mind frame of taking refuge. Such as if you see a dharma text lying on the floor, definitely not stepping over it, putting on a higher place or better place. Really it has got nothing to do with the dharma text wishes to be in a better place. It is a reminder for you. Even in the midst of such a busy situation, if you encounter a dharma text and if you don’t step, deliberately go other way. It is reminding you. It is for that small moment. So much merit because in that small moment the discipline is working. If you see a monk and of course when we say we see a monk we are talking about the picture of the form of a monk such a robes, yellow, red, whatever. Robes, when you see, from the distance, or from near, generating an offering, respect, and really rejoice of having such beings who have taking this kind of path walking in the street or wherever. Of course you will have argument, these days the monks, who knows what kind of – are they real monks. In fact it was in Swayambhunath , the indian, Vasubandhu saw a monk, robed as a monk, but he had a small baby. Correct me, and he was plowing a field, a paddy field. And he got so sad and that is where he dissolved his life and till today you still see his stupa near Swayambhunath, somewhere near there. Of course there is this kind of situation but according to the many Mahayana text, Buddha Shakyamuni said, only an enlightened being like Shakyamuni Buddha can judge who is good and who is not good. No one, we don’t know. Who is a bodhisattva. Who is not bodhisattva. We never know. And at the least, the robe, the banner of the dharma, it is a reminder for you, it is a reminder for invoke inspiration, devotion. So creating that kind of joy is so important.
And creating the statues. In other words, if you know how to create one by yourself that is fine also but maybe actually buying one, commission somebody to create one. These are all on the outer level.
In the inner level, which is much more important, creating the Buddha you don’t necessary go to the shop and buy a bronze statue of the Buddha. But you really think, visualize him in front of you. Even so with your own flesh and eyes, this eyes that you have you don’t see them. Having confidence that they are there. Even so you don’t see them. Generating that kind of mind stream of really trusting that the buddhas and bodhisattvas are in front of you.
Also as of the dharma, not only buying the text and putting on the shrine, but reading it. Really in the sutras there are many methods like that. You can just read it without, your mind can think about all kind of things. Just read, that alone is good. Contemplating on it. Writing, hand writing or printing. Or keeping the text in your home on the shrine are all times next to you as some kind of a, something to remind you. Dharma text, a book, whatever, always holding with you.
And you do all of this, everything I am just saying is basically just like a form of reminding the triple gems.
By the way, ?? or the taking refuge, quintessence of taking refuge is remembering the triple gem. In fact there is a short sutra, recollection of the triple gem..Recollecting, remembering the buddha, dharma and sangha is actually the quintessential form of taking refuge. And when I say remembering the buddha, many of us immediately think when you remember the buddha you have to sort of go from A to Z. Like first you have to make the throne, then you ask, you tell the buddhas to come, to sit here, make offerings, all that ritual. You don’t have to. Even at any point in your day, maybe when you are entering into a restaurant, a moment of thinking name of the Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni, not even chanting that, TAYATA OM MUNI MUNI MAHA MUNIYE SHAKYAMUNI SOHA, not even that, just remembering the Buddha’s name, or just some kind of incident or account of the Buddha such as him talking to Subhuti. Or him folding his robes. Or him walking bare feet, begging bowl in the Mandhata street begging alms. Him teaching in the presence of, him teaching surrounded by all the four supreme disciples. Something like that, remembering the Buddha. Remembering the dharma. All compounded things are impermanent, all emotions are pain. Something like that. Just remember that.
So you don’t have to do, of course this is my suggestion but you know there is this question how should we practice the dharma and lead our life. We have some kind of a formula, like morning or evening, you allocate a time or a place like a shrine and you allocate 7.30 in the evening or 6 in morning before you go to work you sit in the shrine and chant some mantras and finish the mantras hundred times, something like that. Which is good. I am saying this is good. But I would suggest, when you finish your breakfast, when you finish your morning prayers, as you walk towards, as you go inside a taxi, as the day unfolds, if you think about Buddha folding his robe count one, count as one. And then somewhere after a big argument with your friend or after a big bargaining in a shop you think about all compounded things are impermanent. Count as two. So maybe you can discipline yourself thinking, you can discipline yourself, this week you try to think of the buddha dharma and sangha, even in the toilet by the way. Never ever limit it, this is one place where I should not be thinking about the buddha. There is no such thing. Take shower, whenever, at that time if you think, count, mentally count. So maybe this week during the, not during that official allocated practice time, not that time, just in the course of the day, if you think about the buddha, dharma and sangha, maybe this week about five times a day. Then next week you add one more. So if you gradually add remembering the triple gem there is just no way you will be attached to this life. There is no way that you will not be understanding the maya.
What happens then. As you remember the buddha, dharma and sangha again and again – see as Shantideva said you just have to get used to it, everything. You get used to it.
By the way, my advice, never ever again – now that I said this, never ever hold a mala and try to think of the buddha fifty times in row, you know like count. And then finish it and then think about – that doesn’t work it is good but better inserting this remembering the buddha at really odd times. Unexpectedly you try to insert the remembrance of the buddha dharma and sangha. Specially maybe most unlikely places and most unlikely times like time when somebody scored the goal for instance. Try to remember that, you know like really. By doing that, as you develop this, what will happen? You will remember the dharma such as all compounded things are impermanent.