Are posthumous gifts considered acts of generosity, and do they make merit?

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philosopher
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Are posthumous gifts considered acts of generosity, and do they make merit?

Post by philosopher » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:44 am

If one leaves to, say, Buddhist world organizations a sum of money after one's death, is this still an act of generosity? Would setting up a fund that gives gifts into perpetuity (through investing) keep generating merit that would benefit the giver in his/her future births?


:anjali:

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Sam Vara
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Re: Are posthumous gifts considered acts of generosity, and do they make merit?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:17 am

philosopher wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:44 am
If one leaves to, say, Buddhist world organizations a sum of money after one's death, is this still an act of generosity? Would setting up a fund that gives gifts into perpetuity (through investing) keep generating merit that would benefit the giver in his/her future births?


:anjali:
It's an act of generosity, because the intention occurs in this lifetime, whereas it is only the results of that intention which take place post mortem. A gift which continues to generate benefit for others like an invested legacy is more skillful, in that it helps more people. But again, the intention takes place in this life. If, for example, the fund failed to deliver or the bank holding it crashed, one would have still had the good intention, which is I believe where the merit lies.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Are posthumous gifts considered acts of generosity, and do they make merit?

Post by Dhammanando » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:49 am

philosopher wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:44 am
If one leaves to, say, Buddhist world organizations a sum of money after one's death, is this still an act of generosity?
Yes.
philosopher wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:44 am
Would setting up a fund that gives gifts into perpetuity (through investing) keep generating merit that would benefit the giver in his/her future births?
No. Although nowadays this sort of thing is very widely believed in Buddhist countries, the ancient Pudgalavādin belief that "merit increases with utility" (pari­bhoga­maya­puñña-diṭṭhi) was rejected by the Theravādins at the Third Council.

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Refutation of the Utility Heresy.pdf
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StormBorn
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Re: Are posthumous gifts considered acts of generosity, and do they make merit?

Post by StormBorn » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:32 am

According to AN 7.52, giving gifts as an investment, their mind tied to it, expecting to keep it, thinking ‘I’ll enjoy this in my next life’ seems to be the lowest type of giving.

I think one should do the good work or giving without any attachment to the "merit return" as the result is natural when there's an action (no need to cling to it), but the craving part only will pollute the purity of the result.

After all, Buddhism is all about getting rid of the craving. :smile:
“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one—himself.”

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