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Lions Roar : May 2018
stretches our minds and creates the pos- sibility for it to actually happen, because if we cannot imagine something, it’s nearly impossible to actualize it. In this radical imagining, our vision includes everyone equally in our love. This develops our generosity, loving- kindness, and commitment to the equal- ity of beings. This kind of beneficence does not condone anyone’s destructive actions. Rather it looks toward the pos- sibility of liberating and transforming the ignorance that drives people’s destructive actions. Dedicating the merit of our medita- tion or spiritual practice is closely related to setting an intention at the beginning of our practice. This cultivates what is called bodhichitta, or awakened mind. So we enter into meditation with the intention to benefit all sentient beings. After that, we engage in the practice, and then, when we’re done, we make our dedication. In the same way that making a dedication enhances and empowers our spiritual practice, it can empower all our actions in daily life. The merit accrued from any action—even if it is just wash- ing the dishes or walking to work—can be dedicated to the benefit of all beings. That means we can make a dedication at the conclusion of a spiritual practice, or at the end of our day, after a meal, or at the conclusion of any activity. There are many different formulas for dedication. You can also create a dedica- tion in your own words. Some of the most common are: When we meditate, things change inside us. One way or another, Zen is the thing that changes everything. Sometimes we have big shifts and pretty much everything changes; sometimes we have lots of little shifts. When you are looking for awakening, you don’t know what you’re looking for. People think "That's not for me, I couldn't have that." But it's not an achievement or something to grab. if you knew what it was, you’d already have it. So it's more like something coming into consciousness that you've noticed for a long time but not really taken account of. So the likelihood is that it is for you and it's waiting just under the surface. Awakening comes as a surprise, and it also comes as an old friend, someone you’ve always known. John Tarrant Pacific Zen Institute Koans For Change LION’S ROAR | MAY 2018 30