What does “preliminary practice” of Tibetan Buddhism mean? It means preparatory practice. Despite the fact that ultimately we need to attain the wisdom of emptiness, without laying a solid foundation of cultivating renunciation and bodhicitta, we are not able to realise emptiness.
Once one has realized emptiness, then one can solve the final problem. The final problem is not how to have a better life, or make more money. It is resolving the problem of birth, old age and death. It is to be liberated from cyclic existence. It is not just for one’s own liberation. It is to return and liberate more sentient beings. To have more people be freed from life and death. This is the ultimate goal of our practice.
Lay practitioner’s practice starts from observing precepts. Observing precepts is also considered as a kind of practice and it is in fact most vital. I have met many lay practitioners who, despite the fact that they have taken refuge in the Three Jewels and believed they’re a seasoned practitioner, have yet to take the five precepts of lay practitioners. This is rather unreasonable. In order be a lay practitioner, observing precepts is paramount. Precepts are the foundation of all practice and developing wisdom. Without observing precepts, one is not a genuine practitioner, thus observing precepts is compulsory.
Buddhist culture is an ancient culture which is universal and profound; corporate culture is a young culture with a history of just thirty years. Although they appear more than two thousand years apart, the two cultures can be very closely connected. If we are able to integrate both, whether on the operation of a business or as a guide to our life, the effect can be surprisingly positive.