Assigned Readings Notes

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Henry Shiu

Religion Reading Notes Merit: Buddhist Concepts The notion of merit is one of the central concepts of Buddhism The practice of merit-making is one of their basic activities of Buddhists The concept of merit deals with the theory of karman, Indian law of cause and effect Karman means every situation in which an individual is in is due to their own deeds in present or past lifetime and every intentional act they perform in present will have an effect in the current or future life time. Examples: wealth, physical beauty, social prestige is the karmic reward of past merit or deeds and present suffering, poverty, ugliness, lack of prestige is due to demerit in past. Likewise, present meritorious deeds can lead to rebirth as a human or deity in one of the heavens and present demeritorious can result in suffering and in rebirth as an animal, a hungry ghost or being in one of Buddhist hells Ways of making merit: there are ten meritorious deeds for Buddhists (used in South Asia) Giving, Observing moral principles (killing, stealing, lying), Meditation, Showing respect to ones superiors, Attending to their needs, Transferring merit, Rejoicing at the merit of others, Listening to Dharma, Preaching the Dharma, Having right beliefs followed by both Buddhist laypersons and monks Among the listed things, the most meritorious one is giving (dana) monks give Dharma to lay persons in the form of sermons or advice or by the example of their own lives. Laypersons practice it by giving to the monks support of a material kid like food, robes, shelte r ranked highly meritorious than other types of social service Not all dana gives equal amounts of merit, so the quantity and quality can be significant, how its given, when its given, and whom its given The most fertile field of merit today is the samgha, the monastic community; however, traditionally Buddha was field of merit The roots of dana is not only to do ones duty to the samgha rather to express devotion to Buddha
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