66. Preparation for Generating Bodhicitta I — Prostration
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 66
In front of the representations of the Three Jewels—the image of the Buddha, sacred scriptures, and stupa—arrange offerings such as fresh flowers, incense, and so on. Take refuge in the Three Jewels and generate bodhicitta.
Visualize that suspended in the space before you are your guru, the Three Jewels, yidams, dakas, dakinis, and Dharma Protectors gathering like cloud banks.
Imagine you emanate your own body in hundreds, thousands, on and on, until infinity such that all your emanations cover the entire surface of the earth. Together with all beings of the six realms in the three worlds of existence, you prostrate in unison to the refuge deities centered on your root guru. Recite prayers in the Golden Light Sutra, the Confession of Downfalls to the Thirty-Five Buddhas, A Collection of the Honorable Titles of Buddhas, Fortunate Aeon Sutra, the Tantra of Repairing Violations by Peaceful or Wrathful Means, and so on. Put your palms together and place them on the crown of your head, at your throat, at your heart in sequence, or just one of these three parts. Next, kneel down and touch the floor at five points of your body—the forehead, two palms, and two knees. Then stand up straight, put your palms together again, and continue the prostrations in the same way for hundreds or thousands of times.
Prostration can be done with a full-body version or a half-body one; what we usually accumulate is the full-body version for 100,000 times. Many of you have completed this requirement in the context of the five inner preliminaries. But even if that’s done, you’ll still offer at least three prostrations every morning for gathering merit.
In addition, over the years we have established the regime of making three prostrations prior to every Dharma teaching, which not only is meritorious, but also accords with the examples of great masters who always stick to this gesture of showing respect.
However, our Dharma hall is quite full during teaching sessions that there is no room for each person to kneel down and prostrate. In this case, for monks and nuns, you can simply bow three times in a symbolic way with your robes. Please don’t seem to be like “making prostration is none of my business” and you couldn’t care less about it one way or the other, such a manner is hardly advisable. Even amidst heavy crowd, it’s not physically taxing to bend the body slightly forward. That is, we shall not miss any accumulation of merit, even in dribs and drabs.
Dedicate the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.