Prerequisites for Cultivation of Concentration:
1. Establish a pure, clean mind:
If you want to obtain the power to cultivate concentration, you must be ready in all matters, among which the first is a pure intent or commitment. But this cannot be obtained by making a vow without practice, or by promising your guru that you will observe the precepts and follow his instruction and then forget everything about them. What this means is that you resolve to cultivate concentration to become a Buddha, to achieve great enlightenment for the sole purpose of liberating all sentient beings in the three worlds and the six realms. Only when you start with such an absolutely pure and virtuous mind can you accomplish your cultivation. No one who starts with an impure and unkind heart can achieve the correction concentration. To cultivate concentration, all your behaviors must be motivated by doing good deeds. Master Padmasambhava, Tsongkhapa, and other great dharma kings all held the same view, “Everything must be done for goodness.” This tells us the most important point in cultivation is to do everything for the good and nothing for the evil, just as the Three Cumulative Pure Commandments say, nothing but good should be done or even touched. Moreover, you must generate the Bodhi Mind to achieve enlightenment for the liberation of all sentient beings. It is very important that you do not cultivate only for yourself but for the emancipation of all sentient beings, and once you generate this virtuous mind, you will definitely attain the correct concentration. Why is this so? It is just logical: when you are resolved, all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in ten directions will see it and realize that your Bodhi Mind will become the eternal virtue of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Then They will lead you to the attainment of Buddhahood. They will all bless you; as a result, you will receive Their blessing power. Besides, all the Dharma Protectors will also come to protect you, rid you of all evil karma and increase your power in kindness and virtue, so that your ignorance and afflictions will give way to the correct concentration.
2. Achieve a Content Heart:
The second point is that the practitioner of cultivation must have a heart that is very content. In the process of cultivation, you must constantly keep your heart content and feel happy. Do not be greedy, nor hanker after fame or wealth, and have no lustful desires. You should avoid any fuss or nitpicking over any external conditions. In the present world, do not care about your living conditions, such as the house you live in and its surroundings, the clothes you wear and the food you eat everyday. Just feel content with them, then you will always be happy and stay far away from greed and egoism. Otherwise they will become an enormous obstacle to hinder and isolate you and bar your way to accomplishment.
3. Adhere to the Rules of Contemplation:
This means that after receiving the commandments or precepts, you must follow the rules of practice without any infringement or deviation. Do only what conforms to the rules and abstain from what is contrary to them. Stay away from what runs against the rules but keep close to what facilitates and supports the rules.
The above three prerequisites were given by Dorje Pamu. Some Tibetan masters also include staying in an agreeable place where nourishment is easily attainable, that is free of wild animals, that does not harm, and where one is accompanied by compatible friends, as well as not having many activities or those activities that are in discord with cultivation.
How to Cultivate Meditative Stabilization:
Your master should help you determine the most suitable object that you should use as a focus for your meditation. This will change as your practice evolves. You should also learn the eight features of Buddha Vairochana’s posture from your master. The first seven deal with the physical posture while the eighth includes how to settle down the internal winds. It is important to remember that in Buddhism, unlike in the meditation practices of other non-Buddhist systems, the external body is not the most important factor; the main concern is the internal winds. This is what we are training to do, not to become “dead-wood” meditators or just reduce the stress of our overly busy lives. Dorje Pamu told us that, in general, we use the sedentary postures for meditation, but do not excluding standing postures. You can even contemplate while walking. At first, the sedentary postures may not be comfortable. Just sitting still might in itself be a challenge. However, do not be discouraged. In time the body and mind will learn these forms—but only if you practice them! You can start with just five minutes sessions, but gradually work up to be able to sit for longer periods.
Dorje Pamu told Zhaxi Zhuoma that you need to be able to sit for at least two hours to become accomplished. One of the disciples who recently received the Vajra Substitute Body Meditation Dharma was meditating at least eight hours a day 8-9 years ago. Keep that goal in mind, but don’t let it discourage you from starting. You start where YOU are at. If you do not start now, when will you start? On the way to the crematorium or cemetery?