How do we ensure the purity of our motivation when giving a teaching or listening to one? One way is by reciting special prayers of aspiration before we begin. Now, for a teaching to truly become Buddhist, it must be predicated on the practice of going for refuge in the Three Jewels—the Buddha, the Dharma, and the community of true practitioners. For a teaching to become a teaching of the Mahayana tradition—the bodhisattva path—it must be based on the generation of bodhichitta, the altruistic awakening mind, which strives for enlightenment for the purpose of benefiting others. To begin, then, we remind ourselves of these two practices of going for refuge and generating the altruistic awakening mind by chanting or reflecting on the following stanza:
To the Buddha, Dharma, and the excellent assembly
I go for refuge until I am enlightened.
Through pursuing the practices of giving and the other perfections,
may I attain buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Middle Way
Photo by Olivier Adam of Dharma Eye