The vow to perfect oneself in order to perfect others is called the thought of enlightenment or bodhichitta. This implies that every single action word or thought even the most trivial is dedicated to the good of all beings. To accomplish the good of others, we must first perfect ourselves by purifying and transforming our minds. This is the aim of what we call the preliminary practices, which establish the foundations of all spiritual progress. In this book, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explains a key practice text composed by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892) on the Vajrayana preliminaries: taking refuge, generating the thought of achieving enlightenment for the sake of all beings, performing the meditation, and recitation of Vajrasattva to remove hindrances on the path to enlightenment, offering the mandala to accumulate merit and wisdom, and developing proper reliance on a spiritual teacher. Clear, direct, and personal, these instructions illuminate the heart of Vajrayana practice. Included here are the Tibetan text as well as the mantras and prayers commonly recited in conjunction with this practice.
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