Three Points to Practice in Engaging Thought of Awakening
Engaging in thoughts of awakening can be explained in three varying degrees of detail. They can be explained concisely, in moderate detail and in more comprehensive or greater detail.
To explain in the most concise and simplistic way, to cultivate thoughts of awakening, a practitioner should follow the principle of eschewing harmful deeds and instead engage in performing virtuous deeds. If one is powerless for whatever reasons to avoid causing harm to others, then at the end of each day, one must confess and make a vow to renounce such deeds in the future. If the practitioner commits non-virtuous acts in the night, then one must confess those negative deeds by the very next day. At the end of the practice, one must always dedicate even the slightest accumulation of merit to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The Buddha said in the Advice to a King (Sutra):
“O great king, you have so many duties and so many activities that you are not able to train day and night in all the perfections from generosity to wisdom. Therefore, great king, you should constantly call to mind, hold in mind and mentally cultivate faith, striving and aspiration toward the perfect, complete awakening. You should delight in the virtuous deeds of others. Having delighted, you should offer (that merit) to all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas. After offering it, you should share it with all sentient beings in general. Then, every day you should dedicate the merit to unsurpassable awakening so that every sentient being will perfectly realize the qualities of the Buddha.
O great king, if you act in this way, you can rule your domain, your royal duties will not suffer and you will also bring to perfect completeness the preparatory accumulation for attaining awakening”.
So therefore, as the Buddha advised, even a king who is burdened with great responsibilities can find the time to engage in the thought of awakening by constantly engaging in mindfulness in his actions. By mentally cultivating faith, aspiring towards awakening, rejoicing in the virtuous deeds of the others and dedicating all virtuous thoughts and actions for the benefit of all sentient beings, even a person in such a stressful position can still engage his thoughts towards awakening.
–Khöndung Asanga Vajra, June 2019