107 - Merit Making


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In this episode, we look at creating merit by intentionally engaging in activities that are good karma. Merit, or good karma, propels our spiritual practice forward. Thus accumulating merit is a central activity of a bodhisattva, one striving for enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, as well as those who believe in the law of karma.

Ten merit-making activities

  1. Giving (dāna )
  2. Observing the moral precepts (sīla )
  3. Meditation (bhāvanā )
  4. Showing respect to one's superiors (apacāyana )
  5. Attending to their needs (veyyāvacca )
  6. Transferring merit (pattidāna )
  7. Rejoicing at the merit of others (pattānumodana )
  8. Listening to the Dharma, that is, the Buddha's teachings (dhammasavana )
  9. Preaching the Dharma (dhammadesanā )
  10. Having right beliefs (diṭṭhijjukamma )

Guru Padmasambhava said, “My realization is higher than the sky. But my observance of karma is finer than grains of flour.”

One is not a mendicant

Just because one begs from others.

Nor does one become a mendicant

By taking on domestic ways.

But whoever sets aside

Both merit and evil,

Lives the chaste life,

And goes through the world deliberately

Is called “a mendicant.” (266–267)*

Not by silence

Does an ignorant fool become a sage.

The wise person, who,

As if holding a set of scales,

Selects what’s good and avoids what’s evil

Is, for that reason, a sage.

Whoever can weigh these two sides of the world

Is, for that reason, called “a sage.” (268–269)*

—Buddha, The Dhammapada


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 69-70 (Link)

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