By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 1 October, 2016
What is it to do good in the world? This is a question often asked especially in these most tenuous of times. What is most interesting is that when we think of doing good, we begin to think not only about the needs arising in our own neighborhoods, but needs extending into the global arena. Not that we have outgrown community service in our own neighborhoods, but now new opportunities to serve have piqued our interest far abroad. With these new opportunities we think of the opportunity to not only assist others, but to expand our own definition of doing good. In that we begin to explore the Buddhist dedication of merit as shown below.
Ma Jaya speaks of service
When my guru Ma Jaya spoke about service, she focused a great deal of time with working with AIDS. She always exhorted us to follow her lead in doing service to those suffering and to whoever else needed assistance. In fact, every spiritual religion or practice contains recommendations and suggestions about performing acts of kindness and service to people in need.
What is Buddhist dedication of merit?
Today I am exploring the concept of Buddhist dedication of merit, which adds an extra fillip to serving. Buddhist dedication of merit allows us to share all of the blessings, and all the merit and goodness that we earn. We send out all the benefits that would otherwise accrue to ourselves, to every living being in the world.
The simple practice of Buddhist dedication of merit
Buddhist dedication of merit is a really simple practice. You simply make a wish for whatever need you perceive in the world, for whatever wholesome change you wish to take place and send the goodness out with a singleness of mind. With Buddhist dedication of merit, it can take any form, specific or general, personal or universal.
Buddhist dedication of merit is also practiced in groups. When you combine all the spirit, shakti and energy of a good wish, it no doubts renders the connection very strongly. The spirit of giving sends our prayers for well being throughout the world to all creatures as far as our minds extend.
Finding the worth of dedication of merit
I find this Buddhist dedication of merit practice very effective in my own life. I notice that when I pray for myself,it is usually full of self-longing, self-pity or just complaining. However, when I have Buddhist dedication of merit in mind, I somehow feel transformed. I am using my own suffering and the merit accrued to assist others. That makes for transformation in this moment. What occurs is that suddenly I become a giver of goodness rather than seeking consolation for myself. In that moment, I begin to feel more worthy as I am doing a good service instead of thinking about myself.
Expanding boundaries of Buddhist dedication of merit
I don’t even have to limit this Buddhist dedication of merit practice to pain, but it can include any negativity I am feeling. It’s empowering to know that I can also transform a negative feeling to a feeling of kindness extended outwardly. After all these years of attempting to become spiritual, it’s almost as if the answer is just as simple as this Buddhist dedication of merit practice.
Here is a favorite Buddhist prayer:
May every living being,
Our minds as one and radiant with light,
Share the fruits of peace,
With hearts of goodness, luminous and bright.
If people hear and see,
How hands and hearts can find in giving, unity,
May their minds awake,
To Great Compassion, wisdom and to joy.
May kindness find reward,
May all who sorrow leave their grief and pain;
May this boundless light,
Break the darkness of their endless night.
Because our hearts are one
This world of pain turns into Paradise
May all become compassionate and wise,
May all become compassionate and wise.
If you have a question about “Buddhist dedication of merit,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
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