November 30 : Dedication Verses

After offering our food to the Three Jewels, we dedicate the merit with this verse: “May we and all those around us never be separated from the Triple Gem in any of our lives. May we always have the opportunity to make offerings to them. And may we continuously receive their blessings and inspiration to progress along the path.” It is difficult to have any kind of guiding light about how to live a good and meaningful life if we are born in a place where we would not meet the Dharma. Our minds are always running after the ten non-virtues and ignorance, anger, and attachment, and we probably would not have any awareness of them without the Dharma to point them out to us.

We can appreciate our families and teachers who taught us certain ethical standards, but most people are not taught to see the afflictions as something to be totally abandoned, or how to create virtue and avoid non-virtue through our motivations. Before I met the Dharma, there was something wrong with other people’s greed and anger, but in general, my anger was necessary and important so people would not walk all over me. As far as attachment, that is what I was raised to do — I was supposed to consume, fall in love, have a good reputation, and show off to my friends. You are actually abnormal in our society if you do not do these things, and selfishness is only bad if you have so much of it that other people notice. Ignorance was just voting for the wrong political party.

The second thing we dedicate to is to have future opportunities to make offerings to the Three Jewels, which are an incredible field of merit because of their spiritual attainments. This includes having a mind that likes to give because the most important thing when we are giving is our motivation. Blessings and inspiration are translations of the Tibetan word “jin lab” which means to “transform into magnificence”. Two conditions must come together for our mind to be blessed — our receptivity and the awakening influence of the Buddhas.

Blessing is not like being hit on the head with a lightning bolt, nor is it a free ticket that erases whatever harm we have done. We are blessed if we are receptive to the awakening energy of the holy beings while doing our practice.

“By seeing this food as medicine, I will consume it without attachment or complaint, not to increase my arrogance, strength, or good looks, but solely to sustain my life.” As with the five contemplations, we remember that food is like medicine nourishing our body so that we are able to practise the Dharma. We are not eating to maximise our happiness, or build our muscles or flaunt how privileged we are that we can afford to eat organic food. We eat without attachment or complaint so we can become fully awakened buddhas and help others attain buddhahood as well. It is easy to tune out these prayers because we say them every day, so it is good to lock our attention onto each word and think of its meaning.

“365 Gems of Wisdom” e-book is out now!