and all sentient beings fundamentally have the buddha nature

as our innermost essence, and that to realize it is to be free of

ignorance and to put an end, finally, to suffering. So each time

we begin our practice of meditation, we are moved by this,

and inspire ourselves with the motivation to dedicate our practice,

and our life, to the enlightenment of all beings in the spirit

of this prayer, which all the buddhas of the past have prayed:

By the power and the truth of this practice:

May all sentient beings enjoy happiness and the causes of


May they be free from suffering and the causes of suffering;

May they never be separated from the great happiness devoid of


And may they dwell in the great equanimity that is free from

attachment and aversion.

Good in the Middle is the frame of mind with which we

enter into the heart of the practice, one inspired by the realization

of the nature of mind, from which arises an attitude of

nongrasping, free of any conceptual reference whatsoever, and

an awareness that all things are inherently "empty," illusory,

and dreamlike.

Good at the End is the way in which we bring our meditation

to a close by dedicating all its merit, and praying with real fervor:

"May whatever merit that comes from this practice go

toward the enlightenment of all beings; may it become a drop

in the ocean of the activity of all the buddhas in their tireless

work for the liberation of all beings." Merit is the positive

power and benefit, the peace and happiness that radiate from

your practice. You dedicate this merit for the long-term, ultimate

benefit of beings, for their enlightenment. On a more immediate

level, you dedicate it so that there may be peace in the world,

so that everyone may be entirely free of want and illness and

experience total well-being and lasting happiness. Then, realizing

the illusory and dreamlike nature of reality, you reflect on

how, in the deepest sense, you who are dedicating your practice,

those to whom you are dedicating it, and even the very act

of dedication are all inherently "empty" and illusory. This is said

in the teachings to seal the meditation and ensure that none of

its pure power can leak or seep away, and so ensure that none

of the merit of your practice is ever wasted.

These three sacred principles—the skillful motivation, the attitude

of nongrasping that secures the practice, and the dedication

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