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Transfer of Merit - why not demerit - Dhamma Wheel

Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Bankei
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Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Bankei » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:29 am

Hi

Ancient and Modern Theravadins claim merit can be transferred to others. If this is the case why is it that demerit cannot be transferred?

What is the logic behind transference of merit? It is a noble aspiration but doesn't make sense to me.

Thank

Bankei
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Bankei

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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Individual » Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:41 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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mikenz66
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:19 am

There is some discussion of sharing merit here:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1068

The Theravada position is not that the merit gets "given away", it is that we give the opportunity for others (devas, deceased relatives in the hungry ghost realm, etc...) to rejoice in our meritorious deeds.

See the other thread for more details and Sutta references.

Metta
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gavesako
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:07 am

During the recent political trouble in Thailand, some of the parties have performed "Buddhist" ceremonies directed at an (imagined) protective deity of Siam, asking him to "smite their opponents with terrible misfortune" so that they cannot exert their power anymore (i.e. Thaksin and his people). This may sound like voodoo or perhaps transfer of demerit...

:spy:
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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cooran
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:29 am

As has been stated here and in the other thread, Merit is not 'transferred' - it is shared.

Merit and Spiritual Growth ~ Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#merit

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 ---

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tiltbillings
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:45 am


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Dmytro
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Dmytro » Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:49 am

Hello,

The followers of Mahadeva, founder of Caitika school of Buddhism, originated the theory of gifts (deyyadhamma), which stated that the merits gained by the donation can be transferred to anyone. Later this theory evolved in the Mahayana theory of 'transfer of merit' (parinamana).

In Mahayana, Bodhisattva is seen as one who transfers his merits to other believers, and takes their bad karma on himself. This is exemplified by Tibetan breathing meditation practice, whereas with every outbreath one imagines that he is sharing merits with others, and imagines that with every inbreath takes in others' demerits.

The 'parinamana' theory infiltrated into the Theravadin rituals , especially in Sri lanka.

See: http://books.google.com.ua/books?id=PO0lZ-TFssMC

Metta, Dmytro


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:15 am

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

Bankei
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Bankei » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:24 am

Thank you for all or your replies.

Sharing of merit sounds better than transferring of merit.

But if merit can be shared, then surely demerit can be too?

What do you think?

Bankei
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Bankei

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retrofuturist
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:27 am

Greetings Bankei,

An example of sharing demerits would be beating someone up, and then going to your mates to brag about it and get enthusiastic about the fact you'd hurt someone. You've created unwholesome mindstates for yourself and you're prompting and encouraging them in others.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:25 am

Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone. :)
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:34 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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tiltbillings
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:12 am


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Will
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Will » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:47 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

Shonin
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Re: Transfer of Merit - why not demerit

Postby Shonin » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:14 pm

It seems to me that others have the potential to inherit the consequences of my good and bad actions at all times - which is why I act with care. I'm not talking about mysterious ceremonies, but the natural laws of cause and effect.


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