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Excepted From:

A Torch of Perfect Explanation That Lights the Way to Freedom Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche
Dedicating To Enlightenment: Using your present positive action to symbolize all the sources of good accumulated by you and others in the past, present, and future, dedicate them all togetherwith compassion (dedicating them to beings welfare) and with wisdom (dedicating them in order that they may attain the Great Enlightenment). Make the dedication in the same way as did Majushrikumara, applying the seal of no concepts. Since this kind of dedication is extremely important, we shall deal with it in some detail, in two main sections: (A) the reason dedication is necessary, and (B) the method for dedicating.

(A) The Reason One Needs To Dedicate


Dedicating the sources of good that we have created to unsurpassable enlightenment is very important, for as The Way of the Bodhisattva points out, even though we may have accumulated merit, if we fail to dedicate it, All the good works gathered in a thousand ages, Such as deeds of generosity, And offerings to the Blissful Ones A single flash of anger shatters them. It only takes a single cause for exhausting merita surge of intense anger directed toward a special object, or similarly a wrong viewfor ones store of virtuous deeds to be depleted. But by dedicating them to enlightenment, they will never be exhausted but grow greater and greater. This is further explained in the Sutra Requested by Sagaramati: Sagaramati, let us take an example. A drop of spit discarded on the sand will rapidly dry up. But if you spit into the ocean, as long as the ocean does not dry up, your spit will not dry up either. Sagaramati, it is the same with a source of good that you have produced. If you regret it, feel a sense of loss about it, disparage it, or dedicate it wrongly, it will be spent. But if you dedicate it to the oceanlike wisdom of omniscience, it will never be exhausted but grow ever greater.
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Not only that, but such merit also necessarily and definitely becomes the cause of Buddhahood. In the Sutra Requested by Gaganagaja we read: Just as many rivers flowing from different directions Into the ocean all gain a single taste, Positive actions of different kinds Dedicated to enlightenment will also gain a single taste. It is very important to affix the great seal of complete dedication to our sources of good, for as the sublime Nagarjuna says, No other treatises explain What you, the Bhagavan, have taught: To completely dedicate to all beings All ones meritorious deeds. This extraordinary method of dedication is unknown to non-Buddhists and is a feature exclusive to Buddhism. If no such dedication is made, positive actions performed by those on the path of earnest aspiration will mostly have no benefit, in the sense implied by the following quotation: Know that deeds are mostly beneficial, Mostly non-beneficial, or beneficial in every respect Positive deeds performed from the eighth level up until the level of Buddhahood are all beneficial in every respect, as the Four Hundred Verses on the Middle Way explains: When you, the Bhagavan, make a movement It is never without reason: Even the breaths you take Are solely for beings benefit. When Bhagavan Buddhas breathe in and out, it is exclusively for others benefit, so for them there is not an instant that is meaningless. Therefore, in order to make the positive actions we perform on the path of earnest aspiration meaningful, we must dedicate them completely.

(B) The Method For Dedicating


This is divided into four: what is dedicated, the goal to which it is dedicated, for whose sake it is dedicated, and the way it is dedicated. (i) What one dedicates Sources of goodwhich are what we are dedicatingare termed good because they give rise to happiness as their fully ripened effect, and sources because they are the causes of happiness, just as planting seed is the cause of a crop. We can dedicate positive deeds regardless of when they are done, who does them, or what form they take, as we find in the Great Host Sutra: May all beings positive deeds, Those they have done, will do, and are doing now, Become entirely good On the same level as all the good there has been. Positive actions can be classified according to five groups of three criteria. First of all, classifying them in terms of three kinds of doer, there are positive actions performed by oneself, those done by others, and those that are done by both. Second, in terms of the three times, there are good deeds that have been performed in the past, those being performed at present, and those that will be performed in the future. Third, in terms of the three ways in which they are accomplished, there are good deeds performed with the body, with speech, and with the mind. Fourth, in terms of the actual action that is meritorious, there is virtue that arises from giving, from discipline, and from meditation. Fifth, in terms of the fully ripened effect, there are positive acts consistent with worldly ends, those consistent with liberation, and those consistent with omniscience. All these five sets of three can be included in ones dedication. Of these, the most important is the merit that comes from meditation.
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(ii) The goal to which one makes the dedication To dedicate to this lifes goals with thoughts full of attachment or aversion in order to defeat our enemies, say, or to gain something we desireis wrong dedication. Dedicating in order to obtain happiness as a god or human in the next life is inferior dedication. Do not, therefore, dedicate with such ideas in mind. As we read in the Ornament of True Realization, Not including the three worlds . . . And as already quoted, the master Ashvagosha says: All these sources of good that I have accomplished I dedicate as the cause of the state beyond the world, Without thoughts related to cyclic existence, or hopes Of any resulting fame, praise, or happiness, celestial or human. The state beyond the world comprises the three levels of nirvana. Of them, the Listeners and Solitary Realizers nirvanas are inferior with respect to the Great Vehicles nirvana, so we should not dedicate to these, for as the Buddha advises in the Middle Sutra of Transcendent Wisdom: Subhuti, you should dedicate this source of good only to the level of Buddhahood. Do not dedicate it to the levels of Listeners or Solitary Realizers, or to other levels. Dedicate, therefore, only to the level of Omniscient Buddhahood, as in the Prayer of Good Action: All of it I dedicate to enlightenment. And in the Sutra of Complete Dedication: These sources of good I dedicate to Buddhahood. By dedicating to that end, we will incidentally reap all kinds of happiness in the meanwhile (a long life, good health, and happy circumstancesgood family, wealth, and so forth), like the bran one gets as a by-product with the grain from a good harvest.

(iii) For whose sake one dedicates If we dedicate our merit to ourselves alone, or to a few people like our relatives and friends, even if it is an enormously positive action, its benefit will be diminished and it will be wasted, as the Middle Sutra of Transcendent Wisdom points out: Dedicate it for the sake of all sentient beings and not simply to your own gain, for you would then fall to the level of the Listeners and Solitary Realizers. For this reason, we should dedicate it so that all beings, as numerous as space is vast, attain unsurpassable enlightenment, feeling for them an immense love and compassion, for in the countless times they have been our parents, they have shown us nothing but kindness. The Way of the Bodhisattva says: My body, thus, and all my goods besides, And all my merits gained and to be gained, I give them all and do not count the cost, To bring about the benefit of every being. and, Directly, then, or indirectly, Do nothing that is not for others sake. And solely for their welfare dedicate Your every action to the gaining of enlightenment. Even a small source of good dedicated in this way for the benefit and happiness of all sentient beings will grow bigger and bigger and result in the boundless accumulation of merit, because merit that is created with boundless beings in mind will be equally boundless, as the Jewel Garland points out: Theres no measuring the extent of sentient beings, And likewise the benefit. All positive actions that are not thus nourished by Bodhichitta are like the plantain tree: once they have yielded their respective fruits, they shrivel away. On the other hand, virtuous deeds impregnated with Bodhichitta are like the wish-fulfilling tree: once they have borne fruit, rather than being spent, they continue to spread and grow more and more until the heart of enlightenment is reached.
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The

Way

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All other virtues, like the plantain tree, Produce their fruit, but then their force is spent. Alone the marvelous tree of Bodhichitta Constantly bears fruit and grows unceasingly. Unless our good deeds are inspirited with this essential element, they will not become the cause of omniscience, for as Ornament of the Sutras explains: Because they are not completed by outer conditions And the acts themselves are not perfect, Even though their intention is pure, They will not be transcendent discipline. But a dedication underpinned by the extraordinary association of skillful means and wisdom will be a dedication that possesses the four excellent features, as the same text shows: Excellent aim and excellent reliance, Excellent means with determination to be free, And excellent applicationwith these Ones path of aspiration is perfect. It is important to ensure that your attitude is correct in this respect. (iv) The way to dedicate In absolute truth, all phenomena are devoid of any intrinsic nature, and therefore merit too cannot be objectified, being entirely free of the three concepts.u In relative, conventional truth, every aspect of a positive action the agent who performs the action, the object of the action, and the action itselfis like a dream or a magical illusion: although it appears, it has no intrinsic nature. It is with this approach that the dedication should be made, for as we read in the Middle Sutra of Transcendent Wisdom:
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Subhuti, all phenomena are like a dream, like a magical illusion. Virtue too should be dedicated in the manner of its being like a dream. And in the Sutra Requested by Bhadra we find: Not objectifying a giver, A recipient, or the gift itself, In this sameness, for you, Bhadra, May giving be perfect and complete. Similarly, in the Sutra Requested by Druma: Just as in the clear disc of a mirror Ones whole face appears Without a face being there, Druma, know that all things are so. It is not a good thing to have objectification and attachment, considering sources of good to be truly real. The Transcendent Wisdom tells us: It is hard enough for those with conceptual thoughts to have even a semblance of patience, let alone achieve perfect, unsurpassable Enlightenment. And the Condensed Transcendent Wisdom: Conceptualizing good deeds, the Buddha said, Is much the same as eating good food mixed with poison. and, If attributes are absent, it is a dedication to enlightenment; If attributes are present, it is not a dedication to enlightenment. We should therefore dedicate without any objectification and attachment, as the Ornament of True Realization affirms: Absence of objectification, Is the unmistaken characteristic. Dedication is essentially a thoughtthat of transforming sources of good into the intention to gain enlightenmentto which is added the force of special words. The Array of Qualities of Majushris Buddhafield states:
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Everything depends on The intention as a condition: He who makes a prayer of aspiration Will accomplish that very prayer. What, then, is the difference between a dedication and a prayer of aspiration? Most scholars appear to maintain that these are two different names for the same thing. However, the tradition of our Omniscient Dharma King, Longchenpa, asserts that for a source of good that has already been produced, the words and prayer of aspiration together constitute a dedication, while to aspire to a source of good that has not yet been produced is a prayer of aspiration. The fulfillment of the dedication depends on who performs it and where. If the dedication is made by someone with pure, superior motivation in a place where there is a support, imbued with blessings, of the Sugatas body, speech, or mind, it will be fulfilled in accordance with his or her wishes: If made before a Stupa containing my relics, It will be fulfilled, the Sugata declared. Moreover, there are witnesses, who bring about the fulfillment of ones prayer exactly in accordance with its aspiration. The Way of the Bodhisattva speaks of them thus: The Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas both Have unimpeded vision, seeing everything: All lies open to their gaze, And likewise I am always in their presence. Since they have unobstructed vision, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas know our excellent thoughts and deeds, so with this in mind, you should maintain clear faith in the teacher and the Three Jewels, intense compassion for all sentient beings, and a strong desire to dedicate all sources of good to unsurpassable enlightenment. Without abandoning these three feelings, and keeping concentrated in your superior motivation, gather together all your own and others virtuous deedspast, present, and futureand offer the whole in the presence of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the ten directions. By freely donating them, dedicating them to the infinity of beings, your prayer will be fulfilled.
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Excerpted from

Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoches A Torch of Perfect Explanation That Lights the Way to Freedom
OM MANI PADME HUNG HRIH

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Reading and studying the instructions of the Buddha or to offer them to others is spiritual practice. May the Buddhas delight in this gift and grant their blessings. May the merit created by this action join the stream of merits of all the wholesome deeds performed by limitless beings in countless realms since beginningless time. Thus, we Dedicate this vast ocean of virtue and merits for the sake of the Enlightenment of all sentient beings.