Eight Steps to Happiness: The Preliminary Practices
Before we just sit down and do our meditation practice, it is very helpful to do some preliminary practices first. Without some preparation beforehand, our meditation experience won’t be very successful and we are likely to become frustrated and discouraged, and may even quit our meditation practice altogether.
Preliminary practices perform three functions: to purify our mind of negativity, accumulate merit (or good karma / positive energy), and help us receive the blessings (inspiration) of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the holy beings, by making our minds more open and receptive to them. A simple preliminary practice that does all of these is to recite some prayers before meditating.