Accumulate Merit

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Accumulate Merit

Postby Astus » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:43 pm

"With no understanding of the meaning of absence,
But engaging only in mere studies
And failing to engage in meritorious acts-
Such base people are lost."

(Nagarjuna: Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning, v. 31, tr. Thupten Jinpa)

"Practicing as a lay practitioner is conducive to cultivating merit, but disadvantageous to cultivating wisdom. For laypeople already possessing plenty of karmic blessings, it’s even easier for them to cultivate merit."
(Shengyan: Living Lay Life versus Living the Monastic Life)

Doing good things generates good karma, that's a basic doctrine of Buddhism. Charity is the most straightforward way to accumulate merit. The laity supports the monastics by donations and in return harvests merit. But besides material support there is another kind. The Dhammapada says: "The gift of the Dhamma excels all gifts" (v. 354). In chapter five of the Prajnaparamita Sutra in 8000 Stanzas it is explained that the greatest amount of merit is accumulated when one not simply copies and gives away the sutra but also explains them to others. In the Diamond Sutra it is regularly stated how memorising and spreading the sutra generates greater merit than any other kind of giving (e.g. ch. 11-16, 24). The Lotus Sutra has several chapters (17-19) describing all the immense merit gained by reading, reciting, teaching and simply hearing about the sutra. In the penultimate chapter (13) of the Vimalakirti Sutra we are told that the merit of that scripture is immeasurable, because "the enlightenment of the Buddhas arises from the Dharma, and one honors them by the Dharma worship, and not by material worship".

The Dharma-Seal Sutra Spoken by the Buddha for Ocean Dragon King, that teaches briefly about the four seals, states: "if one can accept, uphold, read, and recite them, and can understand their meanings, although he spends little effort, he will gain lots of blessings. The merits and virtues that he gains will be the same as reading and reciting eighty-four thousand Dharma-Stores." That is, by understanding the four seals one covers all the other sutras and the merit of their studying.

But there is more. Tendo Nyojo (teacher of Dogen) is often quoted, "Just-sitting is all you need. You don't need to make burning incense offerings, meditate upon the names of buddhas, repent, study the scriptures or do recitation rituals." The sole practice of zazen is enough. Linji goes one step further:

One day the Councilor Wang visited the master. When he met the master in front of the Monks’ Hall, he asked, “Do the monks of this monastery read the sutras?”
“No, they don’t read sutras,” said the master.
“Then do they learn meditation?” asked the councilor.
“No, they don’t learn meditation,” answered the master.
“If they neither read sutras nor learn meditation, what in the world are they doing?” asked the councilor.
“All I do is make them become buddhas and patriarchs,” said the master.
The councilor said, “Though gold dust is valuable, in the eyes it causes cataracts.”
“I always used to think you were just a common fellow,” said the master.
(Record of Linji, p. 301, tr. Sasaki)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Accumulate Merit

Postby lobster » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:40 am


So much to do. Such little effort. So much done. :woohoo:

Must be time for the popcorn :popcorn:
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Re: Accumulate Merit

Postby muni » Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:24 am

Astus wrote:"With no understanding of the meaning of absence,
But engaging only in mere studies
And failing to engage in meritorious acts-
Such base people are lost."

(Nagarjuna: Sixty Stanzas of Reasoning, v. 31, tr. Thupten Jinpa)

Thank you, this is very encouraging.

I so think the idea of having to know, shouldn't keep me enslaved by mere mind. But this is what us conditioned beings called people, is told, we should know and know, in our self created suffering dreamworld. We need to know the key to break through the habitual walls to awaken.

But I don't say we should stop studying, deepening insight. Only regarding liberation of conditioned life, this cannot by conditioning us by merely accumulating knowledge and taking the knowledge itself as the meaning of the Buddha.
This is maybe for some like accumulating clouds in order to find the open sky.

While the right appropriate knowledge, different for each of us, can be the medicine to understand. Gratitude for all shared knowledge for all of us.
By the grace of all I should like to shoot here for all their wrong things they write (oops), I myself can be free of my own grasping. :smile:

*Namaskar* :anjali:
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
(Mark Twain)
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Re: Accumulate Merit

Postby Will » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:37 am

These Ten Dharma Practices are central to Mahayana merit gathering:

The ten categories alluded to above condense all the various approaches
to practicing and engaging in the sacred Dharma. What are these ten?
They are (1) transcribing the words that form the basis of the sacred
Dharma, which is comprised of the Great and the Lesser Vehicles; (2-
3) making offerings to and giving generously to the Dharma and those
who teach it; (4) making use of one’s ear faculty to listen to the words of
the Dharma; (5) reading Dharma books; (6) memorizing the words that
express [the Dharma]; (7) explaining their meaning to others; (8) chanting
from memory; (9) taking the meaning to heart; and (10) meditating
on this meaning single-pointedly and in the correct manner. It is taught
that these ten Dharma activities condense every activity that relates to
the sacred Dharma and that each entails an immeasurable amount of
The sacred Dharma is the source of all benefit and happiness and is
the path that transcends the world. Therefore, any action linked to it is
extremely meaningful. The value of writing or hearing a single verse is
widely praised in the sūtras as being superior to any mundane fundamental

From the shastra Middle Beyond Extremes 131-32
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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