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Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching? - Dhamma Wheel

Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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clw_uk
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Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:56 pm

Greetings


Is the sharing of merit a Buddhist teaching, or something that came a long later?

My reason for asking is that it seems to go against the Buddhas teachings that beings are responsible for their own Kamma


Suttas such as this one


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

teach that kamma vipaka cant be changed despite praying and ceremonies etc

The only good i can see that comes from merit sharing is an increase in wholesome states such as compassion in those who do it

Or am i understanding merit sharing wrongly?

Metta
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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kc2dpt
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:43 pm

One of the Buddha's teachings is on , finding joy in the goodness of others. When we invite others to "share in our merits" what we are doing is inviting them to cultivate mudita. We can do this with recently departed family and friends who may still be hovering around as a ghost or deva. We can even do this with living friends and family when we tell them about the good in our lives. Too often we are quick to share the bad news and shy to share the good news. Sharing good news give other people the opportunity to cultivate mudita, which is meritorious for them. In this way we "share" the merit of our good deeds.

Merit can't actually be shared in the sense of "here you take a portion of my merit". But it can be shared in the sense of "come share in my happiness".
- Peter


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clw_uk
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:50 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Mawkish1983
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:10 pm

Yes, thanks you Peter, that makes a lot of sense :)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:29 pm

Well said, Peter.

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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SeerObserver
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby SeerObserver » Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:49 pm

Awesome synopsis, Peter.

Individual
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Individual » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:03 am

The best things in life aren't things.


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mikenz66
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:17 am


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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:38 am

Craig, great question :anjali:


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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Individual » Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:37 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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retrofuturist
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:39 am

Very good observation, Individual.

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: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:12 pm

One must be careful to avoid the wrong deterministic view that no one can help anyone else in any way since they alone are responsible for their own kamma.

Sharing of merit is one of the ten kusala kammas:

Transference of Merit (pattidāna) is the volition of asking others to participate in wholesome deeds and thereby to share in the resultant merit.

When doing any wholesome deeds such as giving alms, listening to Dhamma, or practising meditation, one can multiply the benefits by urging family and friends to participate. The beneficial effects of transference of merit is the ability to give in abundance.

The Buddha was reluctant to teach the Dhamma as it was profound and beyond the comprehension of many. However, he decided to teach because some at least would be able to understand it, and without his teaching they would have not gained liberation from suffering.

Sometimes the Buddha — not to boast, but to inspire others to have full confidence in him.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Will
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Will » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:19 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

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:09 pm

By giving with one's own hand, one makes merit. By urging others to give, one makes merit. If they also give, after being urged to give, they make merit. Even if they don't give, if they have the wholesome thought of rejoicing in your giving, they make merit.

Likewise for all other wholesome actions. Sharing increases the merit for both parties.

However, if those urged turn around and try to discourage, or succeed in discouraging you from doing wholesome actions. Then they make demerit, and you lose merit, or make demerit if you adopt their negative view, e.g. that giving charity, observing morality, or practising meditation is just a wasted effort.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Goedert
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Goedert » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:52 pm


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Will
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Will » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:13 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

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Cittasanto
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:58 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:16 am

I dont know if something objective passes from the dedicator to the dedicatee. I do think that the dedication has a very positive effect in turning the mind of the dedicator to the welfare of others and to Buddhadhamma.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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nyanasuci
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby nyanasuci » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:51 am

What about that chant 'Sharing Blessings' which is chanted in Thai monasteries?
See http://www.amaravati.org/abmnew/documen ... k_2006.pdf
p. 32/33
Quite inauthentic.
Bhikkhu Hiriko - Ñāṇasuci

The experts do not say that one is a sage in this world because of view, or learning, or knowledge, Nanda.
I call them sages who wander without association, without affliction, without desire.

The Buddha, Sn.V.8.2 (1078)


| |

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Cittasanto
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Re: Is sharing Merit a Buddhist teaching?

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:29 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.


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