Teacher: the Very Venerable Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Date and Place: July 21, 2005, Flushing, New York
Dedication is very important. If you generate merits from prostration and meditation, and don’t dedicate, then merit becomes small. If you have anger, your merit becomes smaller. If you take pride and show off, like “I did ten thousand chants, and you didn’t”. If you show off like that, then there will be no merit or benefit left. Or if you have regret, like you see a beggar and you feel sad and you give one hundred dollars to him. And when you return home, you regret and think “Oh my God! One hundred dollars is a lot! Better I should not give one hundred dollars because instead I can buy soap, tea, a toothbrush and many things I can put inside the refrigerator”.
Actually, if you dedicate your merits, you then have some independent power (from loosing the merit). However, if you don’t dedicate, then merit becomes less. If you dedicate your merit, then even if you have these three situations like anger, pride and regret, they will not destroy your merits. That’s why I’ll teach you how to dedicate. First you need to think all the Buddha, and Bodhisattvas know about your dedication, and by just thinking (because Buddha and Bodhisattvas are omniscient and know about your dedication), you can use them as witnesses of your dedication.
If you like, you can imagine them in front of you; but if you don’t like to imagine, no problem! Because Buddha and Bodhisattvas are omniscient so you just have to think all the Buddhas know you. Then after that, you have to think that the Buddha, and Bodhisattvas dedicate all the time and they have merit all the time. Then think that you are going to do like them. Your dedication follows their dedication. You imitate them to dedicate your merits. I have done prostration, meditation and refuge, and I will do dedication because these are good actions.
From good actions, you generate good energy that benefits yourself and others. That’s merit. Now I am going to share all merits with sentient beings. I am going to share all my merit with each and every sentient being. At the same time, I am giving it along with Buddha and Bodhisattvas’ merits, and all the merits combined together to be given to all sentient beings. May they be free from all obstacles like disease and problems with mind and body. Finally, may they reach Buddha hood. For these reasons, I am going to dedicate merit to all sentient beings and all the Buddha and Bodhisattvas will grant me this wish and say, “may it come true”.
When we practice, we need to practice with Bodichitta, not only practice for one's self, but also for all sentient beings to reach Buddha hood. For this reason, I am going to practice. That’s Bodichitta. Then, at the end of practice, one needs to share all merits with all sentient beings. That’s Dedication. If you are truthful to these practices, then benefit from your practices accumulates more and more each day. You benefit from your own practice because of your dedication to others. Then if you have regret such as giving one hundred dollars to a beggar, you will have dedicated your merit. You may have regrets when you get home, and it will not affect your merit. It is better to not have regrets at all. So I’ve finished on Dedication. Thank you for coming to this teaching.