Dedication prayers are extremely important. Each time we pray and generate a wish, it builds power because everything—hell, enlightenment, and everything in between—comes from the mind. For ex-ample, let’s say each day you pray to have the same qualities as Lama Tsongkhapa and to offer benefit to sentient beings and to the Buddha’s teaching just as he did. This makes preparation so that in all future lifetimes you will be able to practice correctly and offer extensive benefit like Lama Tsongkhapa did by having his same qualities within you. If you want to make your life most beneficial, pray like this. Prayers bring results because everything depends on the tip of the intention; everything depends on your mind, your attitude.
Begin each of the following dedications with “due to the past, present, and future merits created by myself, the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and sentient beings...” so that you make the dedications as extensive and meaningful as possible.
“May the precious bodhi mind not yet born arises and grow. May that born have no decline but increase forever more. May we actualize bodhicitta, the loving-compassion thought renouncing self-happiness and cherishing the happiness of others, as quickly as possible.
“In the snowy mountain paradise, you are the source of good and happiness. Powerful Tenzin Gyatso Chenrezig, may you stay until samsara ends.
“May the glorious spiritual masters live long and may all beings throughout limitless space have happiness. By purifying our defilements and accumulating positive potential, may I and all others be inspired to attain Buddhahood quickly.
“May all our virtuous friends and other holy beings, whose only thought is to benefit sentient beings and the Buddha’s teachings, have stable lives and may their wishes be fulfilled immediately. May the glorious spiritual masters live long and may all beings throughout limitless space have happiness. By purifying our defilements and accumulating positive potential, may I and all others be inspired to attain buddhahood quickly.
“May all the father and mother sentient beings have happiness. May the lower realms be empty forever. May all the bodhisattvas’ prayers succeed immediately. May I be able to cause all this by myself alone.
“May anyone who merely sees, hears, remembers, touches, talks to me, talks about me, or harms or helps me never be reborn in the lower realms. May they immediately be liberated from all disease, negative karma, and obscurations. May they generate the entire path, especially bodhicitta, in their mind-streams and attain enlightenment as quickly as possible.
“May no one experience war, famine, drought, earthquake, or any other natural or manmade disasters. By generating love, compassion, and bodhicitta, may everybody live their lives without harming one another. May they help each other as much as possible, and may everyone have inner development, the realizations of the path.
“May we actualize within our minds the complete teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa, the unified path of sutra and tantra, without even a second’s delay. In all future lives, may we be able to offer extensive benefit, limitless like the sky, just as Lama Tsongkhapa did by having the same qualities as he did. May we spread Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings in the minds of all sentient beings and lead them to enlightenment as quickly as possible.
“May whatever action I do with body, speech, or mind benefit sentient beings. May whatever I experience in life—health or illness, wealth or poverty, comfort or problems, financial gain or loss, gain or loss in my spiritual life, life or death, rebirth in the hell realm or rebirth in the human or god realms—be the most beneficial for all sentient beings. May I cause them to attain enlightenment as quickly as possible by myself becoming enlightened.
“Like the Compassionate White Lotus, Chenrezig, may my presence make the suffering of the sentient beings in the area or realm where I live naturally and instantly come to an end. May they and all other sentient beings receive perfect happiness. May those who are having difficulties finding a job find a job. May those who are ill—especially those with illnesses that are difficult to cure, such as cancer, AIDS, leprosy, arthritis, spirit possession, and so forth—immediately be healed. May the blind be able to see and the deaf be able to hear. May those who long to hear the Dharma, receive the Dharma. May those who need a guru meet a guru. May those who need a friend find friends. May those who wish to have children have children.
“Due to the past, present, and future merits created by myself, Buddhas, bodhisattvas and sentient beings, who are like a dream or an illusion, may I, who is like a dream, attain Yamantaka’s enlightenment, which is like a dream, and lead all sentient beings, who are like a dream, to that enlightenment, which is like a dream, by myself alone, who is like a dream.
"May all Dharma projects and activities of the centers be successful at once. May the centers become like wish-fulfilling gems for all sentient beings by immediately pacifying their physical and mental suffering and spreading the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa in the minds of all sentient beings. May the centers and practitioners receive all the necessary conditions to do this successfully.
“May all the Dharma projects to benefit others, including the Maitreya Buddha statue, be immediately successful and of greatest benefit to all sentient beings. May these projects cause faith in the Three Jewels and in the functioning of karma to arise in the minds of all sentient beings. May they cause loving kindness and compassion to arise in the minds of all sentient beings. May people who hear about the Maitreya statue or see a brochure about it, who talk about it or dream about it, or who contribute their time, energy, finances and so forth to it, never be born in the lower realms. May they be able to receive perfect human rebirths in life after life and attain enlightenment soon. If that does not happen during the present era of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, may they be a direct disciple of Maitreya Buddha and receive a prediction of their enlightenment.”
Dedicating for the dying and the deceased
When people have requested you to make prayers for others who are dying or have died, please do so. At the moment, their life is finishing, but sooner or later yours will as well. Other people will use your name, “So-and-so is dying.” They will call, write, or meet each other and share the news that you have died. This will definitely happen.
The Stainless Beam mantra can liberate a person in the lower realms if it is recited seventy times. It immediately liberates someone who has died and been born in the lower realms from that misfortune. Unfortunately, I have not memorized that mantra yet. I am just advertising its benefits!
In general, you can recite any mantra when someone dies, such as om mani padme hum, Vajrasattva, or Medicine Buddha mantra. Reciting the Medicine Buddha’s mantra and praying to him is worthwhile, because in the past he promised to actualize whatever prayers were done in this degenerate time. The Namgyalma mantra is another extremely powerful one to recite for dead people. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche was doing this one time when Lama and I went to have an interview with him in Mundgod. People from all over the world would send offerings and request him to pray for the deceased, but he told us, “People think this mantra is only for long life, but it’s not. It is extremely powerful for purification.” The short Namgyalma mantra is om dhrum soha om amrita ayur dade soha, although normally I recite the long one. You can do one mala of the short mantra or a small number of the long one.
When people die, dedicating as follows is especially good:
“Due to all the past, present and future merits created by myself, the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and sentient beings, may all sentient beings be free from pain and torture from sickness or karma at the time of death. May they have a clear mind, generate strong faith by seeing the deity as inseparable from the guru, go to a pure land, and become enlightened there.
“Alternatively, may they receive a perfect human body and meet a perfectly qualified Mahayana guru when they are young. May they generate renunciation, live in pure ordination vows, and do only actions pleasing the holy mind of the virtuous friend. Being guided by their guru, may they train their mind well in the three principals of the path and actualize the two stages of the tantric path—the generation stage, which ripens the mind, and the completion stage, which liberates the mind. By actualizing these two, may they attain the unified state of Vajradhara, the holy body and mind, the precious state of enlightenment with seven features, as quickly as possible. When they die, may all beings who have made a Dharma connection with me experience this.”
Dedicating to meet qualified spiritual masters
“May our family members, all the students and benefactors, especially all those who have dedicated their lives to benefiting others through this organization, and all other sentient beings, be healthy and have long lives. May all of us in all lifetimes meet only perfectly qualified Mahayana virtuous friends, and from our side may we see them only as enlightened beings.”
I would like to comment on this dedication. I am not saying that I am an enlightened being. However, if we practice looking at our teachers as enlightened beings, we disciples profit greatly. Whether from his or her side the teacher is an enlightened being, a bodhisattva, or an ordinary being, still, from the side of us disciples, we receive great benefit by having devotion. Our faith causes us to receive the blessings of the virtuous friend, the guru. Simultaneously, we receive the blessings of all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, and this becomes a cause to realize the path to enlightenment. That is why we pray to see our gurus only as enlightened beings, to do only actions that please them, and to fulfill their wishes immediately. May it happen like this in all lifetimes from now on.
Praying to do only actions that please the minds of your virtuous friends is the most powerful purification. It counteracts heavy negative karma accumulated in this and past lives, especially that created with your virtuous friends. Fulfilling their holy wishes is the most potent method of quickly completing the collection of extensive merit, and thus the quickest path to developing realizations and creating the cause for all success, be it temporary or spiritual happiness. Praying in this way also helps you avoid mistakes in your relationship with your virtuous friends again in future lives; it allows you to devote yourself to them properly and makes your practice more effective in this and future lives. If you would like to be able to practice better in future lives, this is one way to bring it about. It is very important to pray like this all the time.
One way to have fewer obstacles and to practice better in this and the next life is to purify negative karma, especially that created in relationship with your gurus. This also stops the karmic result of having the tendency to create negative karma with the virtuous friend again in the future. Another way is to practice correctly, as the Buddha and Lama Tsongkhapa explained in lam-rim. Dedicating your merit for this to happen is also important. By generating the wish, the mind has the power to bring success. It is the nature of the mind that by generating many wishes like this, they will be actualized. For example, if you have a strong wish to be born in a pure land and generate that wish frequently, when you die, the power of that imprint on your mind will make rebirth in the pure land easier. Any virtuous wishes you generate again and again become increasingly more powerful, and after some time, they are actualized.