IntroductionDeveloping the realizations of the stages of the path to enlightenment depends upon four things: accumulating merit, purifying negativities, receiving the blessings of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Spiritual Guides, and training the mind in the actual meditation on the stages of the path. The supreme method for accomplishing the first three is the six preparatory practices. These are:
1 Cleaning the meditation room and setting up a shrine with representations of Buddha's body, speech, and mind.
2 Arranging suitable offerings.
3 Sitting in the correct meditation posture, going for refuge, generating and enhancing bodhichitta.
4 Visualizing the Field for Accumulating Merit.
5 Accumulating merit and purifying negativity by offering the practice of the seven limbs and the mandala.
6 Requesting the Field for Accumulating Merit in general and the Lamrim lineage Gurus in particular to bestow their blessings.
The essence of these six preparatory practices is contained in the following prayers, which should be recited with each session of meditation.