Merit

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 2560
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Doi Phra Koed, Chom Thong, Chiang Mai

Re: Merit

Postby Dhammanando » Sat May 23, 2009 1:39 am

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:A skeptic might ask, "So, where is this merit collected?"


If it's a materialist conception of kamma (like that of the Jains) that the skeptic is interrogating, then she's justified in asking such a question. But if it's the Buddhist conception then she's simply making a category mistake.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but puñña is also distinguished from ordinary currency in that it is not a limited commodity.


Not necessarily. Only a finite amount of merit can be accumulated in a single lifetime. Of course when multiple lives are taken into account then merit-currency does become potentially unlimited, but then so does ordinary currency when other factors are introduced (e.g. when a nation is subjected to the fiscal profligacy of a Robert Mugabe or a 1970's Labour government).

In any case, let's not push the simile too far.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/very-like-a-whale/

How, though, can something real thus impermanent be limitlessly produced?


How couldn't it? If the round of saṃsāra is without discernible beginning then there's no limit to the number of puñña-generating wholesome cittas that might have arisen in any given continuum, nor to the number that might arise in the future.

If puñña could be limitlessly produced and puñña brings happiness, how could one even say that life is dukkha?


1. In addition to the mental factors that generate puñña, there are those that generate its opposite, pāpa, which ripens in pain.
2. Puñña can't be generated just because one wants it to be, or wants the fruits that it brings, for the conditions responsible for it are anattā, hence out of one's control.
3. Even if there were only puñña, and no pāpa, there would still be dukkha, for puñña ripens as pleasurable feeling, but even pleasurable feeling is included in the dukkha of formations.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Sundɑrɑromɑ̄nɑ
Pɑli Romɑnisɑtion


sɑrɑ̄: ɑ ɑ̄ i ī u ū e o
kɑɳȶɑjɑ̄: k ƙ ɡ ɠ ŋ
tɑ̄lujɑ̄: c ƈ j j̛ ɲ
mudɗɑjɑ̄: ʈ ȶ ɖ ȡ ɳ
dɑntɑjɑ̄: t ƭ d ɗ n
oʈȶɑjɑ̄: p ƥ b ɓ m
ɑvɑɡɡɑ̄: y r l v s h ł
niɡɡɑhītɑ̊: ɑ̊ i̊ ů

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Merit

Postby Individual » Sat May 23, 2009 2:00 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:A skeptic might ask, "So, where is this merit collected?"


If it's a materialist conception of kamma (like that of the Jains) that the skeptic is interrogating, then she's justified in asking such a question. But if it's the Buddhist conception then she's simply making a category mistake.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but puñña is also distinguished from ordinary currency in that it is not a limited commodity.


Not necessarily. Only a finite amount of merit can be accumulated in a single lifetime. Of course when multiple lives are taken into account then merit-currency does become potentially unlimited, but then so does ordinary currency when other factors are introduced (e.g. when a nation is subjected to the fiscal profligacy of a Robert Mugabe or a 1970's Labour government).

In any case, let's not push the simile too far.

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/very-like-a-whale/

How, though, can something real thus impermanent be limitlessly produced?


How couldn't it? If the round of saṃsāra is without discernible beginning then there's no limit to the number of puñña-generating wholesome cittas that might have arisen in any given continuum, nor to the number that might arise in the future.

If puñña could be limitlessly produced and puñña brings happiness, how could one even say that life is dukkha?


1. In addition to the mental factors that generate puñña, there are those that generate its opposite, pāpa, which ripens in pain.
2. Puñña can't be generated just because one wants it to be, or wants the fruits that it brings, for the conditions responsible for it are anattā, hence out of one's control.
3. Even if there were only puñña, and no pāpa, there would still be dukkha, for puñña ripens as pleasurable feeling, but even pleasurable feeling is included in the dukkha of formations.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Very good response! Thanks.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8186
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Merit

Postby cooran » Sat May 23, 2009 9:31 am

Hello all,

I found this to be an interesting dhamma talk:

Spectrum of Merits ~ Bhikkhu Aggacitta
http://sasanarakkha.org/print.php?conte ... erits.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
retrofuturist
Posts: 15729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Merit

Postby retrofuturist » Mon May 25, 2009 8:55 am

Greetings,

And if having decided that creating merit is something worthwhile (yes, it is!) then you can also see...

The Bases For Making Merit
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/making_merit.htm

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

User avatar
retrofuturist
Posts: 15729
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: Merit

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 26, 2009 1:33 am

Greetings,

Also....

Merit
http://www.roundfree.org/roundfree_merit.htm

A summary from a Dhamma talk about merit given by Achan Chaiyawat Kapilakan at the Buddhist Study Foundation, Wat Burana-Siriwatayaram, Bangkok, Thailand.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.” (MN 31)

Never again...

User avatar
for49
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:37 pm

Re: Merit

Postby for49 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:23 am

good skills and perfection


Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine