where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

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where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:58 pm

does this practice have its roots in the Buddhas teachings or is it a cultural thing?
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Re: where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby Skeptic » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:30 pm

Maybe it has something to do with this?

...As water raining on a hill
flows down to the valley,
even so does what is given here
benefit the dead.
As rivers full of water
fill the ocean full,
even so does what is given here
benefit the dead.

"He gave to me, she acted on my behalf,
they were my relatives, companions, friends":
Offerings should be given for the dead
when one reflects thus
on things done in the past.
For no weeping,
no sorrowing
no other lamentation
benefits the dead
whose relatives persist in that way.
But when this offering is given, well-placed in the Sangha,
it works for their long-term benefit and they profit immediately.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:35 pm

It has its origins in the Suttas:

E.g. the Tirokuḍḍa Sutta taught to King Bimbisāra
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Re: where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby BKh » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:36 pm

Another important sutta is AN 10.177 Janussonin Sutta: To Janussonin (On Offerings to the Dead)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

It is also a major theme in the Petavatthu. It is a great read if you can find a copy.

There are a few mentions of sharing merit with devas in the suttas, but I can't remember where.
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Re: where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:49 pm

BKh wrote:There are a few mentions of sharing merit with devas in the suttas, but I can't remember where.


As to sharing it with devas, in DN 16 we find:

31. And the Blessed One thanked them with these stanzas:

Wherever he may dwell, the prudent man
Ministers to the chaste and virtuous;
And having to these worthy ones made gifts,
He shares his merits with the local devas.

And so revered, they honor him in turn,
Are gracious to him even as a mother
Is towards her own, her only son;
And he who thus enjoys the devas' grace,
And is by them beloved, good fortune sees.

After this, the Blessed One rose from his seat and departed.


It seems to my recollection that most of these sorts of passages coagulate around the later parts of the early material, into the later material. Much of the early stuff (sutta nipata, et al) doesn't seem as concerned about merit, as far as I can recall.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: where does 'sharing of the merrits' come from?

Postby BKh » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:13 pm

daverupa wrote:As to sharing it with devas, in DN 16

Excellent. Thank you. I think there are a few more as well.

daverupa wrote:It seems to my recollection that most of these sorts of passages coagulate around the later parts of the early material, into the later material. Much of the early stuff (sutta nipata, et al) doesn't seem as concerned about merit, as far as I can recall.


Since this post is in the Discovering Theravada, the distinction of early-early and later-early material might not matter so much. The concept of merit, although not the sharing of, is found in the Sutta Nipata (Mangala, Kasibharadvaja, etc), but perhaps not in the parts that some would view as early-early.

The OP asked if the practice of sharing merits had its roots in the Buddha's teaching. As far as that goes, I think the answer is clearly a yes.
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