Deeds of Merit

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Deeds of Merit

Postby phil » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:21 am

Hi all

I'm interested in learning more about what the classical texts have to say about the ten deeds of merit. Were they laid out in the suttanta, or do they first appear in the commentaries? Is it taught in the texts that doing merit to seek favourable rebirth is the most suitable path to follow for householders of dull insight such as myself? Thanks for any feedback/links.

Metta,

Phil
p.s there is a very good book by Sujin B on the topic, which I might use for discussion elsewhere.
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Deeds of Merit

Postby Ben » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:42 am

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
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Deeds of Merit

Postby phil » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:18 am

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
kind regards

Ben


Thanks Ben. Looks very helpful. I agree with that introduction, we Westerners might tend to underestimate doing merit because it feels rooted in self wanting to get goodies, and also because we hear of some corruptions of the teaching involving money in ways that would be prohibited by the Buddha.

By the way, in case anyone is wondering, the ten deeds I'm referring to are not kusala kamma patha. They are different from that. Here is a summary of them from the intro to the Sujin B book I mentionned.

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.


Any info about where these are found in the classical texts would be appreciated. Thanks.

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Deeds of Merit

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:45 am

Greetings Phil,

See this text...

THE BASES FOR MAKING MERIT
A COMPILATION FROM PâLI SOURCES BY MAHINDA WIJESINGHE
UNDER GUIDANCE AND INSTRUCTIONS FROM VENERABLE ¥âöADASSANA

http://beyondthenet.net/thedway/making_merit.htm

... and of specific relevance to your question...

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.'


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Deeds of Merit

Postby phil » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:40 am

Thanks Retro!

Metta,

Phil
Last edited by retrofuturist on Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: verbatim quote removed
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo


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