In the final post in this series, I will be looking at the dedication verses at the end of the Sadhana.
As well as generating a strong virtuous motivation before the Sadhana, we should also be very careful to not let our concentration wane at the end of the Sadhana, but dedicate just as strongly.
Each Sadhana performs a certain function, and we can ascertain this function by reading the Dedication. In the Prayers for Meditation the dedication reads:
“Through the virtues I have collected,
by practising the stages of the path,
May all living beings find the opportunity
To practice in the same way.
May everyone experience
The happiness of humans and gods,
And quickly attain enlightenment
So that samsara is finally extinguished.”
From this dedication we can see that the purpose of engaging in the Prayers for Meditation is actually to benefit others.
We start by recognising that we have generated a vast amount of merit by engaging in the practice. Then we dedicate all these virtues or merit to three main goals. Firstly we dedicate our merit so that all living beings will find the opportunity to meet the Lamrim teachings and practise them as we are doing. If we believe that Lamrim is the way to make our lives truly meaningful, then wishing others to have the same opportunity is the ultimate expression of our cherishing love for them.
Secondly we wish for all living beings to attain fortunate rebirths in future, and be spared lower rebirth.
Finally we wish that all living beings quickly attain enlightenment, so that samsara will come to an end.
If we meditate on these dedications and gain a deep understanding of what this Sadhana will achieve, we will easily develop a strong motivation to engage in the practice sincerely and with strong concentration.
One important benefit of dedicating properly at the end of the Sadhana is that it prevents our merit from being destroyed by delusions such as anger. If we fail to dedicate properly after performing any virtuous act, the merit will be destroyed the next time a delusion arises in our mind. Geshe-la says delusions are like a thief whole steals the treasure of our merit. Therefore it is essential that during the dedication we pay attention to the meaning of the words, and feel in our heart that the merit is firmly dedicated to these three aims.
Another benefit is that the karmic effect of making these dedications is that it creates the cause for us to experience these benefits ourselves in the future. As we are dedicating the merit to the benefit of all living beings (whose number is countless), the merit we generate is likewise almost unlimited. We can even dedicate the merit created by the dedication.
I hope you have enjoyed this short series on how to practise Sadhanas. It was hearing these instructions and using them in my practice that was responsible for my current level of practice – if you put them into practice I am sure you will receive much benefit. Thanks for reading, and best of luck!
May all living beings find great joy in practising the stages of the path, and quickly attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.