There are five forces we should integrate into all our daily spiritual practices. These are: 1) motivation or intention, 2) familiarity, 3) “white seed” or collection of merit, 4) destruction of inner and outer obstacles, and 5) aspirational prayer.
First we need to develop a strong motivation or wish to actually practise Dharma, and make the decision to do so. If we don’t develop this intention, we’ll never practise.
Next, we should familiarise our mind with whatever practice we intend to work on, such as patience, compassion, etc., by practising it repeatedly both in meditation and out. Meditation on the cushion (or chair) alone isn’t enough; we need to put our meditation object into practice in our daily life and interactions with others too.
“White seed” – white means virtuous and seed refers to the collection of merit. By making offerings to Buddhas and other holy beings, we generate a lot of merit for our mental continuum. When making offerings, we should remember the kindness of living beings, generate compassion for them, and make the offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with the request that all living beings may benefit from our action.
To attain Dharma realisations, we need to use the force of destruction, the application of effort to eliminate our own inner and outer obstacles. Inner obstacles are our delusions, such as ignorance, anger/hatred, and attachment. Outer obstacles include not finding a qualified Teacher, having no opportunity to practise Dharma, having a short life, and lacking basic necessities of life.
When training the mind, we begin and end our practice with aspirational prayer. We begin with a wish to attain the realisation of that particular practice, and we end our practice by dedicating our merit generated during the practice for the benefit of ourself and others.