Work as Practice: Applying the Three Supreme Methods

While in retreat at Sea to Sky Retreat Center in the summer of 2005, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche composed a sadhana for those who offer their work as practice. There is a worldwide community of people who volunteer their services to accomplish Rinpoche’s expansive vision to benefit all. Some wash dishes, some oversee large investment funds, some offer counseling services, and all work many hours without pay. There are thousands of ways to offer work as practice. Khyentse Foundation exists because of its 100+ volunteers. Rinpoche teaches that applying the Three Supreme Methods helps enhance the merit of these good deeds.
Here is an excerpt from the sadhana:
If one approaches an offering of service with basic good intention, then one accumulates merit. But when three wholesome attitudes
known as the Three Supreme Methods are genuinely applied, an outwardly mundane task can even become a paramita.
To apply the Supreme Methods begin by refining your intention, thinking you will perform the work for the sake of all sentient beings. Remember you are not making an offering of service to bolster your self-gratification, recognition, or mileage points. As Shantideva said, look upon yourself as a utensil and think,
I have offered my body to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,
A guide for those who journey on the road.
For those who wish to go across the water
May I be a boat, a raft, a bridge.

The complete sadhana is available for download. We are grateful to Rinpoche for offering this precious instruction. May the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion benefit all.