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Ben wrote:Hi Phil
Have you looked at the Study Guide on Merit at Access to Insight?
I'm not sure whether it specifically answers your question but it might prove to be a worthwhile resource.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... html#intro
Summarizing the ten meritorious actions, they are:
giving, transference of ones merit and appreciation of someone elses kusala, which are ways of daana, generosity,
abstention from akusala, paying respect to those who deserve it and helping, which are ways of siila,
the development of calm, listening to the Dhamma and explaining it, and the development of right understanding, which are ways of bhaavanaa, mental development.
There is another meritorious action which can go together with all kinds of kusala, namely, the correction of ones views. Seeing kusala as kusala and akusala as akusala is one way of correction of ones views, but there are many degrees of it, as we shall see in chapter 2.
In the Suttas, there are only `three bases for making merit' explicitly mentioned by the Buddha, namely, 1. Giving (dàna-mayaüŋ pu¤¤a-kiriya-vatthu), 2. Moral conduct (sãla- -mayaüŋ pu¤¤a-kiriya-vatthu) and 3. Meditation (bhàvana-mayaüŋ pu¤¤a-kiriya-vatthu)
The other seven bases are also mentioned in the Suttas but not explicitly. An example would be the following stanza in a Sutta in the Aïguttara-nikàya:
`When gifts are given to noble,
Upright and equi-poised persons,
The merit thus acquired is pure,
And abundant alike.
And they who rejoice in it (anumodanti, by exclaiming ßSàdhu!û),
Or render their service (veyyàvacca) there,
They also receive that merit (pu¤¤a),
And their merit is in no way smaller.'18
Thus the seven bases for making merit, such as `rejoicing in other's merit' (abbhanumodana) or service (veyyàvacca) etc., should be understood as being included in the above three. They are judiciously highlighted by the commentaries in this way:
In 1. Giving (dàna) is included:
6. Transference of merit, and 7. Rejoicing in other's merit.
In 2. Moral conduct (sãla) is included:
4. Reverence, and 5. Service.
In 3. Meditation (bhàvana) is included:
8. Expounding the Dhamma, and 9. Listening to the Dhamma.
Correcting one's view (10), however, is included in all three (1,2,3).
Thus the bases for making merit in brief are three and in detail ten.
`Let therefore a man (advises the Buddha) train himself in merit-making that yields long-lasting happiness. Let him cultivate the practice of giving, virtuous conduct and a mind of mettàā. By cultivating these qualities the wise man arrives in untroubled and happy states. Hence, do not fear merit-making. `Merit-making' is a term denoting happiness, what is desirable, pleasant, dear and charming.'
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