transfer of merit

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transfer of merit

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:46 am

I was just doing a search on this and didn't turn anything up. Maybe I'm not using the right search terms.
So, for a question. How is a transfer of merit practiced? By whom, to whom and how, when or why does one rightly consider themselves the owner of meritorious kamma to beneficially transfer to another being?
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:58 am

Hello Nathan, all,

Maybe try "Sharing of merit".

Merits - Can they be transferred? - By Ven Aggacitta
....in Nandamata Sutta (AN 7:53). One early morning, Nanda’s mother was happily chanting some verses from the Sutta Nipata when she suddenly heard a voice saying, “Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu!” She looked around in surprise. At that moment, Vesavana, King of the Yakkhas was actually passing by. When he heard the melodious chant, he stopped to listen and was so delighted that he cried, “Excellent!” When Nanda’s mother discovered that it was King Vesavana, she happily told him to let her chanting be a visitor’s gift to him. In return, King Vesavana informed her that the Venerables Sariputta and Moggallana will be arriving this way tomorrow with the whole community of monks and advised her to prepare breakfast for them. She should then dedicate the merits accrued to him.

The next day, after the dana, Venerable Sariputta asked Nanda’s mother how she knew that the monks were passing this way. She told him the story of King Vesavana, after which she dedicated the merit and its fruit for the happiness of the king. In this sutta it would seem that merit could apparently be 'transferred' for Venerable Sariputta did not object to Nandamata’s dedication, unlike the case of Culasaccaka.

There appears to be some sort of inconsistency here. In the end verse of the Kaladana Sutta (AN 5:36), the Buddha said that all those who either gave dana or offered their services as well as those who were not involved at all but witnessed the offering and then rejoiced in it, share the same amount of merits. It is clear now that while merit cannot actually be shared or transferred (for each of us is the heir of our own karma), it can be gained when a person rejoices in the good that is done. Merit is thus 'shared' in this way.
http://sasanarakkha.org/dhamma/2007/03/ ... erred.html

SHARING OF MERITS By Ven. Sayadaw U. Sumana
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... Merits.htm

metta
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby Fede » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:01 am

"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: transfer of merit

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:27 pm

Thanks everyone. Sharing merit yielded 313 hits on accesstoinsight. Can anyone point me towards anything instructive about appraising one's own merits, such as they might be and how such sharing is right practice. I would not want to assume I have any merit to offer anyone. I'm shooting for harmlessness, possibly blamelessness if that is possible. I think I've so far blown it with those enough to be more of a real concern so far. :tongue:

Thanks for the links. I'll read those first.
:anjali:

For instance, I've been living with ants since my house burned down last summer and I moved back into the renovated '67GMC schoolbus that I lived in for 15 years. It is past it's best before date, a fact of all things. So, it is an ant house now. All things considered I have simply considered them having seniority at this point. But for all my attention I see a lot more dead ants than if I wasn't living with them. They are prolific but not too bright. More driven than guided. Hard to know what the relative merits are of one's lifestyle decisions. Hopefully a code of conduct can alleviate the need for a lot of independent judgment calls. I'm curious if bhikkhus would have this sense that conforming to the training and discipline with heart and mind would be highly meritorious and that at a given point one wouldn't even maintain any personal need for the merit anyways.

Here is a real mind bender one for socialists, democrats and capitalists. It seems to me that the historical world with a handful of kings and many commoners was far more equitable to the mean broadly supportive of the quality of human life in general than a world with a million kings and six billion slaves will ever be. Not that one should expect that there will ever really be any greater kind of equity more or less achievable by human beings overall than whatever we may actually observe. I do acknowledge at the least the very obvious humanitarianism that surpasses or traverses other isms. But I don't think the radically organizationally accelerated dynamic of our times has been conducive to our long term success as a species. It is very impulsive and potentially psychotic on a massive scale. Our reach has clearly exceeded our grasp. Imho only an idiot would refuse to consider removing their hands from the fire. But please don't take any expression of doubts of my own or of any other merits to be reflective of the true condition of all these things. No doubt many people are rightly confident of their merits, I simply haven't really given that much thought. I've focused more on the demerit that arises or that persists for me as this has appeared more imbalanced in terms of my education and experience. It is easy to have high ideals, it is hard to achieve even humble ones.

Sorry to go on, haven't had much time to post lately. I'll stop for now. It's been a long day.

metta & upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:20 pm

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:when or why does one rightly consider themselves the owner of meritorious kamma to beneficially transfer to another being?


In popular Buddhist practice in Asia it can be on any occasion when one has just done something that is likely to be meritorious (that is, assuming that it was done with the right state of mind). The most common occasions will be after giving a gift, undertaking the five or eight precepts, listening to a sermon or completing a session of meditation.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby SeerObserver » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:02 pm

This is a useful article that happens to touch on some of what Ven. Dhammanando mentioned.
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:39 pm

Thank you both for this further. I haven't yet had time to examine this today but I will likely get to it soon. I am always only secondarily interested in 'popular practice' and primarily interested in sound interpretation(s) of the Dhamma & Vinaya. I still view that presentation as superior to my own tentative views regardless of what those might be in any regards at any given point.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:45 pm

Hi Nathan,

nathan wrote:I am always only secondarily interested in 'popular practice' and primarily interested in sound interpretation(s) of the Dhamma & Vinaya. I still view that presentation as superior to my own tentative views regardless of what those might be in any regards at any given point.


Okay, then these are the two main Pali sources:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/khp/khp.1-9.than.html#khp-7

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe36/sbe3606.htm
(Scroll down to "Offerings to the Dead")

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Nathan,
Okay, then these are the two main Pali sources:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/khp/khp.1-9.than.html#khp-7

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe36/sbe3606.htm
(Scroll down to "Offerings to the Dead")

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Much appreciated Ven. Dhammanando, thank you again, as always.
:anjali:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby Thanavuddho » Sun May 17, 2009 11:03 am

Luang Por Plien Answers Questions

In the beginning of this session Ajahn talks about the practice of sharing merits
“Tasmātihānanda, attadīpā viharatha attasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā, dhammadīpā dhammasaraṇā anaññasaraṇā.”(DN16)
Forum: http://www.avoinsangha.fi
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Re: transfer of merit

Postby Will » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Glad to find a second thread on Transfer of Merit. I thank those who have provided links and thoughts.

It still is puzzling, that evidently, only the dead (and only some of the dead) can actually receive such a transfer. The living can benefit by cheering on the virtue of others or actually doing what they were inspired by others to do - but that is about it.

In Mahayana the Earth Store sutra mentions that the dead will receive one-seventh of the benefit of such dedication of merit, while the dedicator will get six-sevenths.

Will have to ponder more on this question.

See also these threads:

search.php?keywords=merit&terms=all&author=&sc=1&sf=titleonly&sr=posts&sk=t&sd=d&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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