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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
THE DALAI LAMA 71 courageous sentient beings. I do not consider this a weakness at all. Bodhisattvas have that kind of outlook, and they are definitely capa- ble of taking strong countermeasures when necessary. Q: When we dedicate the merit from past practices, is it destroyed by present anger or hatred? A: If your dedication is complemented by factors of very strong aspi- ration to attain liberation, or complemented by the factor of bod- hicitta, altruistic aspiration, or a realization of the empty nature of phenomena, then, of course, the merit will remain beyond the scope of destruction and will be protected. Dedication is a very important element of practice in the Buddhist path. We find that in Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realizations, when he outlines the proper manner in which dedication should be practiced, he points out that when you dedicate merit, you must have a very strong motivation of bodhicitta, dedicating your merit for the benefit of all sentient beings. In addition, while you do the dedication, you should have clear realization of the empty nature of phenomena, the illusion-like nature of phenomena. Once you have dedicated merit, it should be “sealed” by the recognition that the agent is inherently empty, and that both this very act and the object of your act are also inherently empty. That is what is called “being sealed by the three spheres.” So through these practices, you can protect the merit. In order for one’s dharma practice to be effective and powerful, it is not enough to concentrate on one aspect of the practice alone. What is required are many complementary factors, the wisdoms, the dedications, and so on. This is particularly true in the approach of the Mahayana path. From Perfecting Patience: Buddhist Techniques to Overcome Anger, by the Dalai Lama; translated by Thubten Jinpa (Shambhala 2018)