Determinations are a tool that are seldom taught to lay yogis. They are done by silently repeating your wholesome intention three times before a sit or at the beginning of the day. Choose the determinations carefully and make sure that whatever it is, that it is appropriate for the circumstance. A few examples: ‘May, during this sit, my mindfulness remain unbroken for five (or ten, etc.) minutes.’ ‘May this practice lead to deeper wisdom.’ ‘May this practice lead to greater harmlessness in self and others.’ Making unreasonable determinations weakens the practice and will create striving, judging and anxiety to enter into the practice. Be careful.
A determination such as, ‘May enlightenment arise in this sit,’ is not useful despite its wholesome sounding intention. Use determinations appropriate to time, skill and conditions. Choose your phrases with care and repeat them the same way each time. Then just allow them to be forgotten until the next formal opportunity to do them again. Let them heat up on their own.
Going for Refuge & Taking the Precepts, Bhikkhu Bodhi. 2. See Homage, Refuges, and Precepts in the index.
Merit (puñña): 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merit_(Buddhism). Wikipedia. 2. Sharing merit (puñña-dhārā), in some variation is to silently or out loud offer phrases such as, “I share whatever merit I have with all beings everywhere so they too, like myself, may attain happiness, peacefulness and complete freedom from suffering.’ 3. Merit: A Study Guide, Thanissaro Bhikkhu., Mudita: The Buddha’s Teaching on Unselfish Joy, Access to Insight.
Mettā (Loving-kindness): 1. ‘The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.’ 2. Nyanaponika Thera. Note: Kindness is the balance of all four.
Formal Forgiveness: See suggestion at end of the Guide.
The Four Sublime States (brahma viharas): Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity, Nyanaponika Thera. http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/four_sublime_states.php.
Paramis: See footnote 42.
Forgiveness (khama). Forgiving; enduring; bearing tolerance; patience; endurance. Wisdom Dictionary.
Faith (saddhā): 1. Faith in early Buddhism focused on the Triple Gem, that is, the Buddha; his teaching (the dharma); and finally, the community of spiritually developed followers or the monastic community seeking enlightenment (the saṅgha). Wikipedia. 2. Faith in a more contemporary understanding will mean to have verified confidence in the meditation, our ability to do the mediation, and the teacher/teachings that have shown us the way. allan cooper.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya