The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

General forum on Mahayana.

The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby spiritnoname » Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:12 am

I think dedication of merit is misunderstood a lot and is worth having a discussion about.

Does anyone know about it?
spiritnoname
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 9:25 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:25 pm

From what I understand:

It relieves the suffering of those born in woeful realms (such as dead relatives) and makes the duration of their births there shorter.

It is understood as simply a way of practicing bodhicitta, which doesn't necessarily mean your good karma is "received" by another, but rather, your own good karma is made even greater by not taking personal ownership of it. So you are not hindered by pride of your moral actions, you do good for the sake of others.
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby spiritnoname » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:36 pm

So here's the misunderstanding, people think they're giving each other good luck, or at least wishing it...

That's not how I was taught, in fact that kind of thinking as criticized because it makes no sense and it really diminishes the dedication.


I was taught that dedication of merit is similar to maybe dedicating a hospital to the sick, like saying, " I do this good action for all of you and to further what good can be done."

So say you do your sadhanas, recitations, meditations, or talks, then at the end, you state what you're doing it for and what your aim was.

Stating your aim in itself, making it clear in your mind, makes you much more able to do good things in the future, it causes your good qualities to grow.

So anyways, that's what I was taught, maybe now you can dedicate merit without having doubt because it doesn't make sense.
spiritnoname
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 9:25 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby ground » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:49 pm

spiritnoname wrote:I think dedication of merit is misunderstood a lot and is worth having a discussion about.

Does anyone know about it?


Through virtuous activities you collect merits.
But before starting this activity you purify your motivation in that you direct it towards the benefit of other beings.
After you have collected the merits you give them mentally away to others, to provide benefit for them. This is what "dedicating" means.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:32 pm

spiritnoname wrote:So here's the misunderstanding, people think they're giving each other good luck, or at least wishing it...

That's not how I was taught, in fact that kind of thinking as criticized because it makes no sense and it really diminishes the dedication.


I was taught that dedication of merit is similar to maybe dedicating a hospital to the sick, like saying, " I do this good action for all of you and to further what good can be done."

So say you do your sadhanas, recitations, meditations, or talks, then at the end, you state what you're doing it for and what your aim was.

Stating your aim in itself, making it clear in your mind, makes you much more able to do good things in the future, it causes your good qualities to grow.

So anyways, that's what I was taught, maybe now you can dedicate merit without having doubt because it doesn't make sense.

Understanding it as good luck is still a noble belief, though. If a person does think of karma as "luck," and thinks they're actually taking away their own luck to give to another -- that's a delusion, but a very compassionate and noble one.

Christians take the view, "Jesus was God in human form, came to us, and died for our sins." Muslims take the view of Jesus as a prophet, Muhammad as his prophet, and revealed the Qu'ran. Hindus have even more complex mythologies of great cosmic beings and energies, in a vast inter-dimensional story.

...All of these are merely views. But despite that, each of them can use these views like a hammer: they can use it for violence or for compassion. If they use it for compassion instead of violence, what is the problem? It is better that they penetrate the view to find emptiness, but filling the heavens and emptying the hells is second-best. :)
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby spiritnoname » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:56 pm

TMing, how can you give away merits? :coffee:


Individual, that's very true.
spiritnoname
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 9:25 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Hillman » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:06 am

Individual wrote:From what I understand:

It relieves the suffering of those born in woeful realms (such as dead relatives) and makes the duration of their births there shorter.

It is understood as simply a way of practicing bodhicitta, which doesn't necessarily mean your good karma is "received" by another, but rather, your own good karma is made even greater by not taking personal ownership of it. So you are not hindered by pride of your moral actions, you do good for the sake of others.


I agree with this interpretation. :namaste:
User avatar
Hillman
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:42 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby spiritnoname » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:04 am

So you can give people your good luck?
spiritnoname
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 9:25 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:05 am

spiritnoname wrote:So you can give people your good luck?

It would be good if Venerable Huifeng or some other Buddhist monastic could cite a Mahayana sutra on this question. :)
Individual
 
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby ground » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:36 am

spiritnoname wrote:TMing, how can you give away merits? :coffee:


In the same way I can collect them :coffee:

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby spiritnoname » Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:07 am

TMing, I'm too rude to you, I thought that was a good way to go about things here, but I think I should talk less abrasively to you, there are better ways to talk to you.
spiritnoname
 
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 9:25 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby ground » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:06 am

SNO

no no. That's okay. You asked a justified question. But I really think that my answer is appropriate. Because if you doubt that merits can be given away then you also should doubt that they can be collected in the first place. But the latter may have a significant impact on your path.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Jechan » Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:11 am

Hi All,

There is a chapter in the Ksitigarbha Sutra which speaks of merit dedication for the dying and deceased. It also emphasises the filial duty of children to dedicate merits to their parents after death.

"World Honored One, the bad habits of beings range from minor to major. Since all beings have such habits, their parents or relatives should create blessings for them when they are on the verge of dying in order to assist them on the road ahead.
That may be done by hanging banners and canopies; lighting oil lamps; reciting the sacred Sutras; making offerings before the images of Buddhas or sages.
Another way to assist them is by reciting the names of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Pratyekabuddhas so that the recitation of each name passes by the ear of the dying one and is heard in his fundamental consciousness.
"Suppose the evil karma created by beings were such that they should fall into the evil destinies. If their relatives cultivate wholesome causes on their behalf when they are close to death, then their manifold offenses can be dissolved.

If relatives can further do many good deeds during the first forty-nine days after the death of such beings, then the deceased can leave the evil destinies forever, be born as humans and gods, and receive supremely wonderful bliss. The surviving relatives will also receive limitless benefits.

"When men or women laden with offenses who failed to plant good causes die, even they can receive one-seventh of any merit dedicated to them by relatives who do good deeds on their behalf. The other six-sevenths of the merit will return to the living relatives who did the good deeds.

I have quoted a few important paragraphs in relation to merit dedication in this Ksitigarbha Sutra from chapter 7: Benefiting the Living and the Dead, but you can read the entire chapter at this site:

http://www.siddham.org/yuan_english/sutra/earth_07.html
南無妙法蓮華経
User avatar
Jechan
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:07 am
Location: Osaka, Japan.

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby ground » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:20 am

Thank you for these quotations.

Merits are very concrete. Merit can be directly experienced. Sometimes it is called the "blessings of the Buddhas" or the "blessing of the Guru".

In most cases hindrances are a sign of a lack of merits.

Dedicating merits - in the sense of giving them away - is an "activity" in the context of the first paramita. And if there is are no inherently real giver, no inherently real given and no inherently real recipients it is supreme giving.


Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby swampflower » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:19 pm

Dedication of merit may be a form of mind training.
The dedication emphasizes that we are not following the Path for our own sake. The motivation to collect merit is for the benefit of others. If we merely pile up merit without dedication we may just be accumulating a heap of stuff. This will defeat the purpose of cutting away clinging and demonstrates incorrect view.
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā
User avatar
swampflower
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:18 pm
Location: Bellefonte, PA

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby nirmal » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:43 pm

There is a poem in the creative writing section on dedicating merits under 'The Poems". I have been told that when we transfer merits, 70% of the merits are returned to us because of our act of kindness.The other party only gets 30%.Sorry I have no reference or link on this matter.
User avatar
nirmal
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:22 pm

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby ground » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:18 pm

nirmal wrote:I have been told that when we transfer merits, 70% of the merits are returned to us because of our act of kindness.The other party only gets 30%.


You should really forget that, because this thought may prevent you from dedicating although you think you do


Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 1782
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:31 am

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby nirmal » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:28 pm

Hi TMingyur,

Thanks for the reminder but I never think of such things in my practice.Thus,there is nothing to forget.

May the Buddhas be with you
User avatar
nirmal
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:22 pm

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby nirmal » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:43 pm

The practitioner who gives out his merits and the sentient beings who receive them are actually in one spiritual body as both are in sunyata.The legs cannot say," We need no eyes." The eyes cannot say,"We need no legs." If one takes food which becomes blood after digestion,this blood will circulate throughout the entire body nourishing every cell.Likewise when our spiritual food turns its merits to others,it is also this way.When hot water is poured into cold water,they become mixed just as one cannot distinguish which drop of water was which, neither can one distinguish which merit is the practitioner's and which is the sentient beings'.Yet the cool drop meeting the hot one becomes a little hot even though it may not be as hot as the practitioner's.This is how one's merits may be shared by others.
User avatar
nirmal
 
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 9:22 pm

Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:09 pm

nirmal wrote:The practitioner who gives out his merits and the sentient beings who receive them are actually in one spiritual body as both are in sunyata.The legs cannot say," We need no eyes." The eyes cannot say,"We need no legs." If one takes food which becomes blood after digestion,this blood will circulate throughout the entire body nourishing every cell.Likewise when our spiritual food turns its merits to others,it is also this way.When hot water is poured into cold water,they become mixed just as one cannot distinguish which drop of water was which, neither can one distinguish which merit is the practitioner's and which is the sentient beings'.Yet the cool drop meeting the hot one becomes a little hot even though it may not be as hot as the practitioner's.This is how one's merits may be shared by others.



Beautifully put. :)
Left
Blue Garuda
 
Posts: 2000
Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:23 pm

Next

Return to Mahāyāna Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

>