In Tibetan monasteries, it is often the case that before giving a high teaching the teacher will wait for the student to have a dream indicating his or her readiness to receive the teaching.

The Mother Tantra says that if one is not aware in vision, it is unlikely that one will be aware in behavior. If one is not aware in behavior, one is unlikely to be aware in dream. And if one is not aware in dream, then one is unlikely to be aware in the bardo after death.

We enter the bardo, the intermediate state after death, just as we enter dream after falling asleep.

Therefore, the first practice is calm abiding, in which the mind is trained to be still, focused, and alert.

Begin the practice by sitting in the five-pointed meditation posture:

  • the legs crossed,
  • the hands folded in the lap in meditation position with palms up and placed one on top of the other,
  • the spine straight but not rigid,
  • the head tilted down slightly to straighten the neck,
  • the eyes open.

The eyes should be relaxed, not too wide open and not too closed. The object of concentration should be placed so that the eyes can look straight ahead, neither up nor down. During the practice try not to move, not even to swallow or blink, while keeping the mind one-pointedly on the object. Even if tears should stream down your face, do not move. Let the breathing be natural.

Generally, for practice with an object, we use the Tibetan letter A as the object of concentration. It is good to use something connected to the sacred, as it serves to inspire you. Also, try to use the same object each time you practice.

If you wish to use the Tibetan A you can write it on a piece of paper about an inch square.