manas wrote:Sorry if my post offends, but I just wanted to point out an issue in Buddhism, and some other religions, that I find a little disturbing. It is the idea of 'making merit' for oneself, by 'doing good works'. It sounds just a little calculating and self-serving to me. If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round, I will give the apple to the starving beggar child, yes even if that means I miss out on a million 'merit points' and a thousand years of feasting in Heaven.
manas wrote:It is the idea of 'making merit' for oneself, by 'doing good works'. It sounds just a little calculating and self-serving to me.
m0rl0ck wrote: If an arahant is plump, isnt he doing it wrong?
manas wrote:And on the side of 'demerit' - the reason I don't kill little bugs, isn't because I would would incur a reaction for doing so; the reason I don't kill them, is because I feel for them, I have empathy for these little creatures. Same with human beings. How sad that some folks actually need to be threatened with pain and suffering, so that they restrain themselves from inflicting it on others.
manas wrote:Give where there is the greatest need, not where it will make things better for oneself.
m0rl0ck wrote:Ok wait a minute. If an arahant is plump, isnt he doing it wrong?
SDC wrote:You'll NEVER see a plump arahant. Ever. Unless of course it's due to a medical condition they have no control over.
Sekha wrote:SDC wrote:You'll NEVER see a plump arahant. Ever. Unless of course it's due to a medical condition they have no control over.
And in virtue of what?
The greatest need in the world right now is to keep the sasana alive and healthy, because it will benefit humanity and all living beings much more than anything else. It is because the benefit for the world as whole is maximum when one contributes to the prolongation of the sasana, that in turn the benefit for the giver is maximum, provided he is truly motivated by altruism. In other words, it is always better to help an arahant (if he truly is one and we're being really helpful) than helping anyone else, not for one's own sake but for the world.
More generally speaking, it is always better to help beings who have a higher sense of morality because they will in turn take advantage of the help we have provided them to help others. On the contrary, if I save the life of a serial killer and he goes on killing more people, I will gather less merit and impact the world less positively than if I save the life of a surgeon who is going to save the life of many people. The same if I give money to a beggar who is going to do no better than getting more drunk with it. Or if I give money to a monk, or even offer requisites to immoral monks.
Once again, self-merit is gathered through "helping" the world as a whole, so it does make sense to choose one's gift's recipient carefully. That said, we should always try to be responsive to those who are in need and ask for help, no matter who they are.
To keep one’s precepts merely out of a prudential wish to avoid unpleasant vipākas no doubt bespeaks of an inferior level of motivation, but don't you think it's better than not being motivated towards sīla at all? And I doubt the unkilled bugs would find it in the least sad.
Kim OHara wrote:m0rl0ck wrote: If an arahant is plump, isnt he doing it wrong?
That was more or less my thought, too.
manas wrote:If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round..
santa100 wrote:manas wrote:If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round..
Ok, plumb or not plumb, the key antecedent assumed that it's a real arahant and all 3 people are within viewable distance to one another. With that in mind, you can still go ahead and give your only apple to the arahant knowing that s/he with the selfless virtue of a true arahant will in turn give it to the starving beggar child. You'd still gain a million 'merit points' and at the same time the starving child would still be saved. Problem solved. Sorry if it sounded a bit too...calculating..
clw_uk wrote:Which seems to still rest on a transaction based morality, a business deal