Transfering Merit

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Transfering Merit

Postby Yana » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:31 am

Hi Everyone :smile: ,

Reading through some dhamma books i came across the term "tranfering merits" and i don't know what that means. Could someone help me understand.

1.What is Transfering Merits?
2.How is it Done?
3.Who Benefits from it?
4.Do you Do it?If so How?
5.And also how can you transfer any merits at all when each and every person is the owner of their own kamma? For example,when i do something wholesome,can i do it for someone else? Like if i donate money can i do it for say my parents so that they'll encounter the dhamma,or a dead relative,or some poor woman i read in the news..etc..so that their lives would be better? Would this imply that i have less merits left which means my life would be more miserable.Because i gave away the good bits.:tongue: lol.

I am sorry if my understandings very poor.Can you teach me :reading: :hug:
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby cooran » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:34 am

Hi Yana,

This has been discussed before, and you may find this thread helpful:
Transfer of Merit
viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1068

with metta
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:36 pm

Hi Yana,

Yana wrote:Hi Everyone :smile: ,

Reading through some dhamma books i came across the term "tranfering merits" and i don't know what that means. Could someone help me understand.

1.What is Transfering Merits?
2.How is it Done?
3.Who Benefits from it?
4.Do you Do it?If so How?
5.And also how can you transfer any merits at all when each and every person is the owner of their own kamma? For example,when i do something wholesome,can i do it for someone else? Like if i donate money can i do it for say my parents so that they'll encounter the dhamma,or a dead relative,or some poor woman i read in the news..etc..so that their lives would be better? Would this imply that i have less merits left which means my life would be more miserable.Because i gave away the good bits.:tongue: lol.

I am sorry if my understandings very poor.Can you teach me :reading: :hug:


Just to reiterate - check out the link that Cooran provided above.
Its part of my practice to transfer merits to others and I usually do that at the end of a meditation session and during acts of dana.
Its good to do. At the very least - it cultivates selflessness.
with metta,

Ben
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby Yana » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:54 am

Thank you Chris,Ben,I also want to learn to share merits. :anjali: :hug: :heart:
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby DAWN » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:34 am

Verse 43: Not a mother, nor a father, nor any other relative can do more for the well-being of one than a rightly-directed mind can.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby nem » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:05 am

I went to my local Therevada center today, and there was ceremony of transferring merit from a couple to deceased relatives of theirs. This center is "Sri Lankan" as the monks and most of the participants are immigrants from there. Perhaps it's different, according to other traditions. The ceremony involved pouring water from one vessel to another, along with words that I do not understand. Friends and relatives of these people traveled from far away to attend this ceremony. We were all invited to also transfer merit to our own relatives, for the sacrifices they made for us. I know from a puritanical standpoint this could be viewed as clinging, but from the standpoint of knowing what sacrifices I have made for my own children, I could immediately understand why if there is any chance that my transfer of merit to my ancestors could help them, they can have all of it. I know what suffering that I have endured for the benefit of my children, and assume that my parents and others before them did the same with the result that I could be here today to hear the Dhamma. So I wholeheartedly participated and I gave all of my merit to them. Perhaps, children and war teach people selflessness and perhaps people with parents and nations should remember who came before them to make possible, this opportunity to learn the Dhamma. Not everyone has the opportunity, it's a gift hard earned by others before me, who blazed the path, maintained the path, gave me freedom to follow it. They can have my merit. I'm just thankful to have this opportunity to learn, and any merit that I've gained, was on the back of others. Like Issac Newton said, " If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" The amount of suffering that brought me to here, today, is immeasurable and I feel my merit should go to those.
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby Yana » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:27 am

Hi Nem Thanks for replying! :smile:

I was just wondering about Transfering Merits to Deceased relatives!Oh Truly!What a coincidence for you to reply! :clap: :hug:

After reading the links Cooran has posted I came by such practices but i was unsure whether it was done In Theravada as well.Now i know it is!I haven't joined any Buddhist groups or gone to any Buddhist temples as the are quite a way off and am incredibly shy.But i was wondering if you can do it on our own at home??

Can I dedicate little things i Do for them like Meditating,Donating to a Charity,Revering the Buddha,or Keeping the Precepts to them..I feel very sad :( I know i must have some relatives who are stuck in the Peta World either from this life times or aeons ago..and considering i am the only Buddhist in the family (not that they know this..yet..)but I would really like to help them on a daily basis.

Is this possible to do it on your own or do you need special words,or special chants,or ceremonies.Is it an annual event performed in a temple or can you do it in a simple way everyday? I have started dedicating my merits to all sentient beings.But realizing that the only one that can really benefit from it are deceased family members then can i just change the all sentient beings to my deceased relatives.At least i'll know they'd benefit from it.

Is this possible..? What do all of you think..?
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby cooran » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:00 am

Hello Yana, all,

I went to Dhammagiri Forest Monastery on saturday, and we had a Water Pouring ceremony to mark a year since my mothers' death. There were two other people there - one whose husband had been dead four weeks, and one whose mother had been dead five years. We all poured water while the monks chanted the sharing of merits.

A couple more articles:

The Significance of Transference of Merits to the Departed
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/307.htm
"Transference of Merit" in Ceylonese Buddhism By G. P. Malalasekera
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/ew26012.htm

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby zavk » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:04 pm

Dear Chris

I don't know if I didn't know or if I forgot that your mother passed away a year ago. The last time I saw you briefly was in June or July last year—you were giving alms at Dhammagiri whilst I was staying there. I understood back then that your mother was in ill-health. I'm sorry to hear about her passing. My belated condolences. And please send my regards to Bhante (you could let him know that I am planning to sit a retreat at Bodhivana sometime in the next month or two; just go to try to get as much of my writing completed during this time while I can).

Take care

:anjali:
With metta,
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby dude » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:05 pm

Yana wrote:Hi Nem Thanks for replying! :smile:

I was just wondering about Transfering Merits to Deceased relatives!Oh Truly!What a coincidence for you to reply! :clap: :hug:

After reading the links Cooran has posted I came by such practices but i was unsure whether it was done In Theravada as well.Now i know it is!I haven't joined any Buddhist groups or gone to any Buddhist temples as the are quite a way off and am incredibly shy.But i was wondering if you can do it on our own at home??

Can I dedicate little things i Do for them like Meditating,Donating to a Charity,Revering the Buddha,or Keeping the Precepts to them..I feel very sad :( I know i must have some relatives who are stuck in the Peta World either from this life times or aeons ago..and considering i am the only Buddhist in the family (not that they know this..yet..)but I would really like to help them on a daily basis.

Is this possible to do it on your own or do you need special words,or special chants,or ceremonies.Is it an annual event performed in a temple or can you do it in a simple way everyday? I have started dedicating my merits to all sentient beings.But realizing that the only one that can really benefit from it are deceased family members then can i just change the all sentient beings to my deceased relatives.At least i'll know they'd benefit from it.

Is this possible..? What do all of you think..?





"After reading the links Cooran has posted I came by such practices but i was unsure whether it was done In Theravada as well.Now i know it is!I haven't joined any Buddhist groups or gone to any Buddhist temples as the are quite a way off and am incredibly shy.But i was wondering if you can do it on our own at home??"

Of course you can. This is a cause for great rejoicing.
Please do not be sad that you were the first in your family to accept the Law. What greater joy could there be than sharing the peace of nirvana with those we love most? Your enlightenment opens the way for all members of your family to attain enlightenment, seven generations in the past and seven generations in the future.
The observances for the dead and the presenting of offerings on their behalf are formalities for the purpose of directing the mind toward transferring merit to the deceased, and expressing that intention in word and action. But as noted in the piece on "Transference of Merit," Here too, as in all actions, it is the thought which, according to Buddhism, really matters.
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby cooran » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:59 pm

zavk wrote:Dear Chris

I don't know if I didn't know or if I forgot that your mother passed away a year ago. The last time I saw you briefly was in June or July last year—you were giving alms at Dhammagiri whilst I was staying there. I understood back then that your mother was in ill-health. I'm sorry to hear about her passing. My belated condolences. And please send my regards to Bhante (you could let him know that I am planning to sit a retreat at Bodhivana sometime in the next month or two; just go to try to get as much of my writing completed during this time while I can).

Take care

:anjali:

Thank you for your condolences Ed! Yes, I will pass on your regards and news to Bhante - should be seeing him this weekend. Best wishes for getting your writing completed.

much metta
Chris
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby nem » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:20 am

Yana wrote:Hi Nem Thanks for replying! :smile:

I was just wondering about Transfering Merits to Deceased relatives!Oh Truly!What a coincidence for you to reply! :clap: :hug:

After reading the links Cooran has posted I came by such practices but i was unsure whether it was done In Theravada as well.Now i know it is!I haven't joined any Buddhist groups or gone to any Buddhist temples as the are quite a way off and am incredibly shy.But i was wondering if you can do it on our own at home??

Can I dedicate little things i Do for them like Meditating,Donating to a Charity,Revering the Buddha,or Keeping the Precepts to them..I feel very sad :( I know i must have some relatives who are stuck in the Peta World either from this life times or aeons ago..and considering i am the only Buddhist in the family (not that they know this..yet..)but I would really like to help them on a daily basis.

Is this possible to do it on your own or do you need special words,or special chants,or ceremonies.Is it an annual event performed in a temple or can you do it in a simple way everyday? I have started dedicating my merits to all sentient beings.But realizing that the only one that can really benefit from it are deceased family members then can i just change the all sentient beings to my deceased relatives.At least i'll know they'd benefit from it.

Is this possible..? What do all of you think..?


yana.

Some people say that one of the wings of the Dhamma is compassion. along with understanding, and it flies with this. In my practice and study, I sense that that the Bhudda taught compassion for all beings and that no expression of compassion is incorrect according to the Dhamma if it is offered with selflessness. Just as the Bhudda chose to teach, even though he was not obligated to teach what he knew, he dedicated his last life, to teach the Dhamma to us, for which I am so thankful, that he made this effort from his own selflessness. Please perform what you feel like performing, with Right Intention of compassion, non-self, and pay no attention to the form or name of what you have offered, or what merits might be returned to you.

I wish that you will overcome your sense of loss, and feel peace.

p.s. I too had been shy, and had felt that for cultural reasons I thought might not be accepted in my closest Theravada center because most of the people are immigrants from a different place. I was wrong, and am happy to have traveled there. People who are understanding and following the Dhamma, are going to accept you, and enrich your practice with advice and support from their own practice if you open and introduce yourself and are honest and talkative, and express that you have come there, just to understand the Dhamma, to understand what should be understood. Please make the effort to visit your local Theravada Center just one time with an open heart and metta toward all, and see whether your practice can benefit from what you find there.

Instead of mourning the people in the past who did not have the chance to learn the Dhamma, we can teach the Dhamma to future generations, where the past becomes the future...if we leave the mourning, and apply Right Effort in this direction. If this means that you have children and teach them the Dhamma, or that you volunteer at your local Center to teach the Dhamma.. Hearing the Dhamma, is beyond description to me, and feel that it's fundamental that we keep this path open to future generations.

metta.
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby Sylvester » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:33 am

Hi Chris

I'm glad that this Water Pouring ceremony still finds expression in the overseas Wats.

The kruat nam (กรวดน้ำ) is one of the most beautiful ceremonies after merit-making. I recall Ven D mentioning (perhaps in e-Sangha?) that the ceremony is recorded in the Commentaries. Note sure how accurate this page is - http://www.budsir.org/E_hist43.htm but it offers some Indic terms on some water ceremonies related to dana (of big things) and merit-making.

Ven I-Tsing recorded a somewhat similar ceremony in 7th century India -

He who is poor makes gifts, after a meal, of such trifles as he can afford.
When the meal is finished the mouth is washed with a little water,
which should be drunk. Some water must be poured out in a basin
in order to wash slightly one's right hand ; and that done, one can leave
the table, when one should take a handful of food in the right hand and
bring it out in order to give to others ; this is allowed by the Buddha,
whether the food belongs to the Buddha or to the Brotherhood. But to
give away food before one eats is not taught in the Vinaya. Further
a trayful of food is offered to the dead and other spirits who are worthy
of offerings. The origin of this custom is traced to the Vulture Peak,
as is found fully explained in the Sutras 1
.
One should bring that handful of food before the elder (i.e. Sthavira)
and kneel down ; the elder should sprinkle a few drops of water and say
the following prayer
:
'By virtue of the good works which we are about to accomplish, may
we generously benefit the world of spirits who, having eaten the food,
may be reborn in a pleasant state after death.

(Buddhist Practices in India, I-Tsing, trans Takakusu, p.41)


On his journey thru' Lanka and the Indonesian/Malay archipelagoes, he also observed similar ceremonies of merit making -

Now the host, approaching the priest first in rank, or standing before
the reciter (of the Sutras), pours water from the beaked mouth of a jar
(KuwdTi) into a basin, so that water comes out incessantly like a slender
stick of copper. The priest mutters the Danagathas, while taking flowers,
and receiving with them the flowing water. First, verses from the
words of the Buddha are recited, and then those composed by other
persons. The number of the verses may be many or few according to the
reciter's will, and according to circumstances. Then the priest, calling
out the host's name, prays for happiness upon him, and wishes to transfer
the happy reward of good actions done at present to those already
dead, to the sovereigns, as well as to the snakes (Nagas) and spirits ;
and prays, saying, ' May there be good harvests in the country, happy
be the people and other creatures ; may the noble teaching of the Sakya
be everlasting.' I have translated these Gathas as seen elsewhere 1
.
These are the blessing given by the World-honoured himself, who always
said the Dakshiwagathas 2 after the meal. This (Dakshi//a) means a gift
offered, while Dakshi/nya is one worthy to be honoured with gifts. The
Holy One, therefore, commands us that, after the meal, we should recite
one or two Danagathas in order to reward the host's hospitality ; and if
we neglect it, we are against the holy laws, and are not worthy to consume the food offered. The rule of begging the remaining food is sometimes
carried out after the feast.

...In the afternoon, sometimes a lecture is given on a short Sutra. Sometimes
the priests withdraw after passing the night. When they depart,
they exclaim ' Sadhu ' and also ' Anumata.' Sadhu means ' good !
' and
Anumata is translated by the word Sui-hsi (or thou ' art approved ')
l
.
Whenever gifts are made to others or to oneself, one should equally
express approval (i. e. Anumata) of the action, for, by rejoicing at and
praising another's gifts, one can obtain religious merit. The above is the
general custom of entertainment on an Upavasatha-day in the islands
of the Southern Sea.

(pp 48-49)
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Re: Transfering Merit

Postby Dmytro » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:21 am

Hi Yana,

Yana wrote:5.And also how can you transfer any merits at all when each and every person is the owner of their own kamma?


Merits can't be literally "transferred".

You can either provide offerings for the dead (see http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 068#p13385 ) or invite other beings to rejoice in your good deeds, and thus partake in them.
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