The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:00 pm

Rael wrote:Whats this after his enlightenment thing???

when did he attain enlightenment?

Did he not attain this in the infinite past...??

Was not his whole life a three act play so to speak???

In the lotus sutra, i know of no other sutra to refer to ,and again "honestly" i think the lotus sutra is BOGUS..Says he in fact attain Buddhahood a long time ago....

the whole take the universe put it into a sack and with each step as you walk east take one particle out stop and place it on the ground....however long it takes to empty the sac one particle at a time multiply that by an infinite amount of Kalpas( a kalpa being the lenght of time it takes for a nymph to render a huge stone into dust by coming down with a silken scarf and rubbing it across the huge stone once a hundred years....how long it takes to wear it all down is the measurement of one kalpa ) an infite amount of kalpas is still not long enough.....the sutra goes on forever with multiplications to the power 2 or 4 and then you start all over multiplying that by infinities to get when He first attained Buddhaood.....


And it seems The Tulku I learn under said Buddha did not first attain enlightenment under the Bodhi....He said His life was an act so to speak ...Hiswhole life was a teaching....

Soooooo....then the whole poison mushroom to kill Him thing..not unlike Nargajuna who needed someone to kill him...

they don't die they have to be Killed it seems.....

questions questions....i ain't letting it go....ROFL!!!!!

i need these answered clearly.....thats why i is here....


Well, I guess there is what I call the 'Jesus' argument that he was not a human, but already enlightened as a Buddha who chose to be born in a manner which allowed him to teach the true path, for the benefit of all beings. Wouldn't that make Shakyamuni more of an emanation?

What I've been prodding at with a stick, as Devil's Advocate, is that if we deem it possible for a person to become a Buddha whilst still alive as a human, have they reached Mahaparinirvana before death, which makes their every act free from the consequences of karma as Greg defined it.

They can certainly influence others with their karma, so are they split away from the consequences of collective karma ? Others may also act upon them, as with the poisoned food episode. I guess it depends to what extent we feel previous karma can continue to ripen for a Buddha, and to what degree of detail. Was his choice to eat the poison also due to karma ripening, or just the causal presentation of the conditions which enabled the choice ?

On topic, there is the consideration of merit. Could Buddha as a human continue to generate merit if he could no longer be affected by karma?
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby mutation » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:48 pm

The dedication of merit is basically the reiteration of your refuge and bodhicitta.

At first, you make the commitment "I will attain enlightenment, and liberate all beings", and then, after you have completed a virtuous act, you sort of... refresh your commitment "In accordance with my previous commitments, I will use this merit for the temporary and ultimate benefit of myself and all sentient beings". The virtuous act benefits you, providing you with a clearer mind, more virtuous habits, and helpful conditions, both immediately and in the future. Dedication is the commitment to use all of these things (the "merit")to benefit others in whatever way you can as opposed to just reaping the benefits of virtue and running off to enjoy them by yourself.
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:18 pm

Yeshe wrote:But previous karma could surely not be involved in his deliberate choice to eat poisoned meat? And then become ill and die?
His previous karma lead to him taking a human form, as a consequence of taking a human form his physical aggregate was subject to all of the consequences of human form: birth, sickness, ageing and death. His choice to eat meat did not lead him to accumulate karma vippaka that would then lead to a subsequent rebirth since sickness, old age and death no longer effected his mind stream (as it effects an unenlightened being). He became ill and died from ingesting "off" food because he had a human body. That said, Guru Rinpoche was capable of detoxifying poison that was fed to him BUT there is also the other example of Milarepa when he was poisoned: even though he suffered great physical pain from the poison (he showed how much pain he was suffering to one of his students by projecting the physical force of the pain onto a wooden door, the door was reduced to splinters by the magnitude of the force) did not show this pain by rolling around on the ground, screaming and yelling and cursing and groaning like we would.

...but when it comes to Shakyamuni, did he enter Mahaparinirvana on his awakening or at his death?
According to Theravadra, Mahaparinirvana occurs at death (I think it is the same in Mahayana and Vajrayana as well)

They can certainly influence others with their karma, so are they split away from the consequences of collective karma ?
Let's get something straight here, I know of no scriptural reference to collective karma. Influencing others so that they act in a certain manner creates karma viapaka for you, but then how the others act will create karma vipaka for them (not you). Your consequences will be based on how you influenced them (speech, action, thoughts), your motivation for influencing them and how you feel about what the outcome of the influence was. You cannot, though, directly reap the outcomes of anothers action. Their action, their outcome!

On topic, there is the consideration of merit. Could Buddha as a human continue to generate merit if he could no longer be affected by karma?
I imagine so, but I guess it would be like pouring water into a full glass.
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:24 pm

Rael wrote:Whats this after his enlightenment thing???

when did he attain enlightenment?

Did he not attain this in the infinite past...??

Was not his whole life a three act play so to speak???
Within the context of this discussion I don't think that it really of any consequence if he actually reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree or if it was all just an act to get us off our asses, to make us start practicing (and dedicating).
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:28 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Yeshe wrote:But previous karma could surely not be involved in his deliberate choice to eat poisoned meat? And then become ill and die?
His previous karma lead to him taking a human form, as a consequence of taking a human form his physical aggregate was subject to all of the consequences of human form: birth, sickness, ageing and death. His choice to eat meat did not lead him to accumulate karma vippaka that would then lead to a subsequent rebirth since sickness, old age and death no longer effected his mind stream (as it effects an unenlightened being). He became ill and died from ingesting "off" food because he had a human body. That said, Guru Rinpoche was capable of detoxifying poison that was fed to him BUT there is also the other example of Milarepa when he was poisoned: even though he suffered great physical pain from the poison (he showed how much pain he was suffering to one of his students by projecting the physical force of the pain onto a wooden door, the door was reduced to splinters by the magnitude of the force) did not show this pain by rolling around on the ground, screaming and yelling and cursing and groaning like we would.

...but when it comes to Shakyamuni, did he enter Mahaparinirvana on his awakening or at his death?
According to Theravadra, Mahaparinirvana occurs at death (I think it is the same in Mahayana and Vajrayana as well)

They can certainly influence others with their karma, so are they split away from the consequences of collective karma ?
Let's get something straight here, I know of no scriptural reference to collective karma. Influencing others so that they act in a certain manner creates karma viapaka for you, but then how the others act will create karma vipaka for them (not you). Your consequences will be based on how you influenced them (speech, action, thoughts), your motivation for influencing them and how you feel about what the outcome of the influence was. You cannot, though, directly reap the outcomes of anothers action. Their action, their outcome!

On topic, there is the consideration of merit. Could Buddha as a human continue to generate merit if he could no longer be affected by karma?
I imagine so, but I guess it would be like pouring water into a full glass.
:namaste:



Hmm. If Guru Rinpoche was capable of detoxifying poison fed to him then Shakyamuni must have been so. If he knew the meat to be poisoned and chose not to detoxify it, and still ate it, then I can't see how his previous karma led to that decision. Born as a human and dying as a human yes, but deciding to eat poison surely not. Perhaps, as with Jesus, he knew how to avoid a path which would lead to a particular death, but took it anyway.

Now, I think you can reap the consequences of another's actions. If you feed someone poison and they eat it, your karma is worse because they completed the action which led to them being poisoned. Similarly, if you lay a landmine, your karma is worse if someone steps on it.

I mention Mahaparinirvana because isn't it at that point that a being becomes free from samsara and karma, rather than at the point of awakening when a being is fully 'awakened' but still subject to them:

''Here the Tathagata passed away into the state of Nibbana in which no element of clinging remains!''
(http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html)

As for the merit, if he generated more, he could always dedicate it! ;)
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:34 pm

Yeshe wrote:Hmm. If Guru Rinpoche was capable of detoxifying poison fed to him then Shakyamuni must have been so. If he knew the meat to be poisoned and chose not to detoxify it, and still ate it, then I can't see how his previous karma led to that decision. Born as a human and dying as a human yes, but deciding to eat poison surely not. Perhaps, as with Jesus, he knew how to avoid a path which would lead to a particular death, but took it anyway.
A Buddha, in their omniscience, can see the consequence of any action and can thus act in a manner that will not produce karma vipaka. Now why Buddha chose to eat meat or why Guru Rinpoche decided to not die is something that I am not capable of explaining since I could nevr really understand the motivation of a fully enlightened being since I am a dull witted moron.

Now, I think you can reap the consequences of another's actions. If you feed someone poison and they eat it, your karma is worse because they completed the action which led to them being poisoned. Similarly, if you lay a landmine, your karma is worse if someone steps on it.
Yes but the consequences are for having fed them poison and for having laid the mine, the consequences are not those of eating the poison or stepping on the mine, as these are not your actions.
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:57 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Hmm. If Guru Rinpoche was capable of detoxifying poison fed to him then Shakyamuni must have been so. If he knew the meat to be poisoned and chose not to detoxify it, and still ate it, then I can't see how his previous karma led to that decision. Born as a human and dying as a human yes, but deciding to eat poison surely not. Perhaps, as with Jesus, he knew how to avoid a path which would lead to a particular death, but took it anyway.
A Buddha, in their omniscience, can see the consequence of any action and can thus act in a manner that will not produce karma vipaka. Now why Buddha chose to eat meat or why Guru Rinpoche decided to not die is something that I am not capable of explaining since I could nevr really understand the motivation of a fully enlightened being since I am a dull witted moron.

Now, I think you can reap the consequences of another's actions. If you feed someone poison and they eat it, your karma is worse because they completed the action which led to them being poisoned. Similarly, if you lay a landmine, your karma is worse if someone steps on it.
Yes but the consequences are for having fed them poison and for having laid the mine, the consequences are not those of eating the poison or stepping on the mine, as these are not your actions.
:namaste:



OK - I'lll stop the Devil's Advocacy now! LOL :)

The last situation is a coin-flipper I think - as your action is 'completed' if you succeed in killing someone you intended to kill, so karmically should be worse than if you fail. However, I understand what you mean as the completing action is taken by another person whose karma is theirs alone.

Wonder if that applies to merit? If you intend to protect your family by electrifying a fence around your house, and instead one of them actually touches it and dies, your intention and action was still pure, so meritorious. But is any of that lost by the death? In that case I think not.

Yet in the case of intending to kill someone, acting on it by putting a lethal device in their way, which then does kill them, surely that must bear the karma of a completed action?

Hmm - maybe I'm introducing 'moral' justice a little too much.
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:21 pm

Yeshe wrote:Yet in the case of intending to kill someone, acting on it by putting a lethal device in their way, which then does kill them, surely that must bear the karma of a completed action?

Hmm - maybe I'm introducing 'moral' justice a little too much.
When you plant a mine your intention is to kill or maim the person who steps on the mine thus, I imagine, you will suffer the consequences of intentionally trying to kill or maim regardless of whether you try to do it directly (eg shooting somebody) or somewhat indirectly (eg planting an explosive device, ie a mine).
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:10 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Yet in the case of intending to kill someone, acting on it by putting a lethal device in their way, which then does kill them, surely that must bear the karma of a completed action?

Hmm - maybe I'm introducing 'moral' justice a little too much.
When you plant a mine your intention is to kill or maim the person who steps on the mine thus, I imagine, you will suffer the consequences of intentionally trying to kill or maim regardless of whether you try to do it directly (eg shooting somebody) or somewhat indirectly (eg planting an explosive device, ie a mine).
:namaste:


Yes, what I was trying to establish is that beyond the karma of 'trying' there is the additional consequence of 'completing' the successful act. Simple if you shoot someone as the final act of completion is your own, but maybe not so simple if the final act is what you desired, but is completed by someone else (as they tread on the mine).

It's the last bit I'm unsure about, but I feel that if your plan works and the person dies, the karma is worse than if you fail.

It's akin to being a car driver who accidentally kills a cyclist, compared with the driver who tries to kill a cyclist and fails. In both the karma is negative, but I would suggest that worse karma would be that of the driver who wants to kill the cyclist and bullies the cyclist into a fatal error as they are crushed under a truck. Again, it is the cyclist who 'completes' the action.

The same would apply with merit. If you accrue merit from planning an action and creating the causes and conditions for it, even if somebody else completes it (maybe under your instructions) you should surely gain merit from the final act as well, as it would not have been possible without your planning and initiation.

I expect gurus woud have an answer, but would there be a consistent 'Buddhist' view?
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby Kaji » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:46 pm

What an important topic! In Chinese Buddhism the practice of dedicating or transfering merit (迴向) is of fundamental importance.

In the Avataṃsaka Sūtra (Flower Garland Sutra), the Buddha said that Samantabhadra Bodhisattva made ten great vows in the path to full Buddhahood, which any Mahayana Buddhist should learn and follow - and the tenth vow is "to transfer all merits and virtues to benefit all beings" ("普皆迴向").

Also in the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, listed are the stages of any Bodhisattva's progression to Buddhahood. Amongst the stages are "The Ten Transferences" ("十迴向"). Read more about them here: http://www.buddhistbooks.info/avatam/chapt25.html

I understand almost all beginner practitioners in Chinese Buddhism are taught fairly early to transfer merit every time they do good deeds or Buddhist practices, e.g. charitable acts, eating vegetarian, complying with precepts, reading sutra/mantra, repentance, paying respect or making offerings to the Triple Gems, rejoicing in other people's good deeds or Buddhist practices, etc.

How do you transfer merit? Easy! During or after doing the good or Buddhist deed, think in your heart that you are transfer merit to the beings that you want to transfer merit to. You may also specify how you want the transfered merit help them, e.g. for advancement in Buddhism, for being reborn to the Pure Land, for good health, for cleansing bad karma, for success, for wisdom, for opportunity to learn Buddhism, for meeting other good people... for anything positive really.

In Chinese Buddhism, there are a number of pre-written texts for merit transference. Beginner Buddhists are taught early to use them.

You can transfer merit to any number of beings. You can even state all beings in the Dharma realm as your merit transfer target. A very common practice is to also transfer merit to your karmic debtors (怨親債主).

As another poster mentioned, in the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Sutra it is stated that it is of utmost importance to do good and Buddhist deeds in the 49 days after the death of a person and transfer the merit to him/her. The sutra states that 1/7 of the merit will go to the deceased person's bardo, whilst you (the living person doing the deeds) gets 6/7. The mechanism behind this ratio is not explained in the sutra.

I have also read that when you transfer merit to another or many other beings, it is best if you can let go of your desire to hold on to merit - hence you should dedicate all the merit on your hand to others. What would happen is that you get even more merit for trying to give away your merit. Now you can also transfer that "bonus" merit.

Oh, and you can transfer not only your own merit, but also others' merit. Every time you see or hear someone doing something good or Buddhist in nature, you can (similarly, with your heart) transfer that merit to whoever you want.

On the other hand, when you observe a bad or evil act, firstly do not rejoice in it. Secondly you can repent on behalf of the one doing the act. And guess what - that repentance (even if it is not for yourself) is a good deed, the merit of which you can transfer.

With the above two practices, you can make reading newspaper or watching news on TV a Buddhist practice.

As you can probably see, despite the fundamental nature of merit transference in Mahayana, it can be an advanced Buddhist topic.
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby chuan chang » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:33 pm

Sharing of my understanding of Merit.

AT HOME
when we do our morning and evening lessons.
we stand at the side of the altar.
we recite mantras and sutras.

mantras are language of the Buddhas, Gods and Ghosts.
spirits will come to hear the mantras and wait for your merits dedication.
so you must do this on a daily basis.

should the day, you do not do the lessons,
the spirits who wait and do not get the merit will not be happy.

==================================================================

there is a chinese saying.

when merit is complete , naturally wisdom opens.

at home lessons or prayers
best is not to transfer the merit as this your individual merit.

at temple , it is different
the prayers is from a GROUP, so the merit is also the GROUP,
therefore it is transfer to ALL

==============================================================

PRAYERS AT HOME
or MORNING LESSONS

one should stand at the side of the altar.
one is attending class and
the Buddhas are teaching the Dharma
one is not to stand in front of the altar.
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:25 pm

Is it common, or can one, dedicate merit to a specific person? Say you have a friend who's going through some trouble, and you meditate, chant sutras, etc.; can you dedicate the merit gained from that specifically to said friend, for said reason?
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: The Proper Meaning of Dedicating Merit

Postby shaunc » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:07 am

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:Is it common, or can one, dedicate merit to a specific person? Say you have a friend who's going through some trouble, and you meditate, chant sutras, etc.; can you dedicate the merit gained from that specifically to said friend, for said reason?

I can't see why not. Many time when I dedicate merits I dedicate them to all living beings especially (names). This is done silently. I know some people will think I'm mad but whenever I give away a dozen eggs I dedicate the merits to the chooks. I read somewhere that it's very hard for animals to accumulate merit. These eggs have sometimes been given to a Thai buddhist temple near me, but mor often than not it's friends, family & neighbours that get them. If I'm wrong it's not that big of a deal, at least I create no harm with this action.
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