About “Dedication of Merit” or “Blessings”
“Dedication of merit”, or blessings, represents a traditional practice in Buddhist cultures wherein practitioners bring others to mind while recollecting goodness or developing a heart of goodwill. The practice has numerous benefits. Those living who know they are recollected in such a way may take comfort. Those who have passed, the Buddha taught, could in many cases receive the benefits of such pure intention (Khp 7, AN 10.177). Individuals who take on the practice develop their capacity for love without conditions and also brighten their relationship to memories of the deceased. Additionally, in reminding us of the fragility of life and circumstance, the stories given to the Blessing Braid serve as an encouragement towards heedfulness and skillful action.
Those who sign up to be part of the Blessing Braid community receive an email at the end of each week, or at the end of each day on which names have been submitted if they prefer, with the details of those for whom blessings have been requested. Members then spread mettā, or loving-kindness, to those listed. Each Saturday after the group meditation, Clear Mountain’s community dedicates chanting to those whose names were submitted over the previous period. Just as those chanted for are held in loving-kindness, those spreading blessings grow in compassion. The Blessing Braid aims to bind the wider community together and serve as a caring expression of meditative intent, and a deep, skillful practice for any who desire or need the support.
To become a member of the Blessing Braid, email its coordinator, Alison Shaw, at [email protected], with your name and email address. For those who sign up to be part of the Blessing Braid community, we will send you notifications of blessing requests weekly, unless you request to be notified of new requests on an “as needed” basis (daily, if applicable). Your information will not be used for any other purpose apart from the Blessing Braid, and you may request to be removed from the list at any time. Members are encouraged to spread mettā towards those individuals listed in whatever way they feel most inclined, whether lighting a candle, dedicating a daily chant, or simply developing a heart of loving-kindness in their meditation. If they wish, members may also send messages of goodwill to those requesting blessings who decide to list their email. Even if you don’t feel able to join as a member, consider taking a moment to recollect and dedicate goodness to the names listed below.
To request a dedication, fill out relevant details in the shared Google sheet below. Requests will be sent out to the Blessing Braid at the end of each day and week. Additionally, each Saturday, all names accumulated over the past week will be read out for those gathered at Clear Mountain’s community gathering to recollect and dedicate chanting to. Every other Saturday, the previous two weeks’ list will be deleted to make room for the next two weeks’. You may enter requests for the same person multiple weeks in a row. If you wish your request to be sent only to Blessing Braid members, email it to [email protected]. Finally, if you would like to receive messages of goodwill from those in the community, you may enter your email alongside the request.
If the person you are requesting for is of sound body and mind, consider getting their permission before submitting a request. If privacy is a consideration, you may consider saying something like, “Please dedicate merit to a dear friend who was just diagnosed with cancer” or “please spread loving-kindness for a man who has transitioned to hospice care this week.” Unless they are deceased or incapacitated, please get permission before listing someone’s full name or linking to their photo. Additionally, please use discretion in regards to sensitive details or excessive background information.