What is merit?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Stillness
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Re: What is merit?

Post by Stillness »

In brief, AN 4.57 speaks of long life, beauty, happiness, and strength as karmic results of the act of offering food. Now bare in mind that this discourse has no parallel even in the Pali Canon. But the MN 135 has 17 parallels. Therefore, in this case, it’s safe to assume the teachings given in the MN 135 are authentic. According to MN 135, refraining from the destruction of life will result long life. And, refraining from anger will result beauty. The strength can be taken as an attribute of being healthy which is a result of being refrain from harming beings. The happiness is an universal outcome due to one or many wholesome results.

Interestingly, there’s a story in Vinaya where Suppavāsā (the devotee mentioned in AN 4.57) said to cut flesh from her thigh to cook for a monk who craved to eat meat!

As in the AN 4.57, the same later tendency of attributing various good outcomes of a single action also can be seen in Dhammapada 109 where it speaks of long life, beauty, happiness, and strength as outcomes of performing service and paying respect to elders/superiors. The service and respect may have become wanting at a later time in India as they were able to take two separate places in the above mentioned list of 10 meritorious actions. In some Asian Buddhist communities, this stanza also used as a blessing mantra at the end of meetings/functions if a monk is available there to chant it.

Interestingly, Dhammapada 109 also without any parallel except in the ancient Indian “Laws of Manu” (Manusmṛti).
befriend wrote: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:40 pmStillness, Buddha recommended doing good things not only refraining from evil.
Isn’t refraining from unwholesome itself a wholesome action?

As my availability with an online facility ends today, I won’t be able to participate further in the discussion for some time.
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Volo
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Re: What is merit?

Post by Volo »

Stillness wrote: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:10 am Interestingly, Dhammapada 109 also without any parallel except in the ancient Indian
According to Anandajoti's "Parallels to the Dhammapada Verses", it has parallel in Gandhari Dhammapada (Gāndhārī 172 [11.11] Suha)
WorldTraveller
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Re: What is merit?

Post by WorldTraveller »

Volovsky wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:27 am
Stillness wrote: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:10 am Interestingly, Dhammapada 109 also without any parallel except in the ancient Indian
According to Anandajoti's "Parallels to the Dhammapada Verses", it has parallel in Gandhari Dhammapada (Gāndhārī 172 [11.11] Suha)
Perhaps he/she meant non-Buddhist parallels. However, Pali and Gandhari has one word difference.
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Volo
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Re: What is merit?

Post by Volo »

WorldTraveller wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:07 am Perhaps he/she meant non-Buddhist parallels.
But then it would actually prove legitimacy.
However, Pali and Gandhari has one word difference.
Can you post the Gandhari version of the verse? Since I don't have the text.
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StormBorn
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Re: What is merit?

Post by StormBorn »

Volovsky wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:21 am
WorldTraveller wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:07 am Perhaps he/she meant non-Buddhist parallels.
But then it would actually prove legitimacy.
I think having the stanza or the meaning of it somewhere else in the first four nikāyas would actually prove legitimacy. That's my view only. :smile:
Volovsky wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:21 am
WorldTraveller wrote: Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:07 amHowever, Pali and Gandhari has one word difference.
Can you post the Gandhari version of the verse? Since I don't have the text.
Pāli Dhp 109: “Abhivādanasīlissa, niccaṃ vaddhāpacāyino; Cattāro dhammā vaḍḍhanti, āyu vaṇṇo sukhaṃ balaṃ.
Gāndhārī Dhp 172: “Ahivadaṇaśilisa nica vridhavayariṇo catvari tasa vardhadi ayo kirta suha bala
Manusmṛti 2.121: “Abhivādana.śīlasya nityaṃ vṛddha.upasevinaḥ catvāri tasya vardhante āyur dharmo yaśo balam.
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”
simsapa
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Re: What is merit?

Post by simsapa »

Santānaṃ punāti visodhetī ti ‘puññan’ ti.
"It cleanses and purifies the mental continuum, thus it is called 'merit'."

It consists in the wholesome volition (kusala cetanā) present on any occasion of dāna, sīla or bhāvanā performed by a non-arahant.
What is the source of this? Is there a source that clearly says it's the wholesome volition (kusala cetanā)?
thepea
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Re: What is merit?

Post by thepea »

Merit is reward.
You can say the fruits or ones kamma.
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