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Assigned Readings Notes

6 Pages
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Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGB02H3
Professor
Henry Shiu

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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, shelter 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
www.notesolution.com
The aim of merit making is for three things: obtain karmic rewards for himself in
this or next lifetime; enlightenment, nirvana; wish to share his or her merit with
others especially family members
The doctrine of the transfer of merit became one of the basic practices of the
bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) which is done through two stages: 1) while seeking
enlightenment, he amasses merit by good deeds toward others 2) the bodhisattva
infinitely meritorious, dispenses merit to all beings then after awakening on
enlightenment, the bodhisattva begins the career with the path of accumulation of
merit through self-sacrifice and practice giving, morality, patience. Also bodhisattva
confer on others the benefit of specific deeds but shares the entire store of merit and
in this, desire for better rebirth is disappeared, the only sentiment remaining is the
great compassion for all beings in their many states of suffering.
Ahimsa
It literally means non injury and translated as nonviolence by Western society due to
Gandhi
Gandhi considers ahimsa based on self-control, necessitating preliminary self
purification, condition of truth that can be equated with God
Hindus equation of reality with truth (satya), not surprising Gandhi used ahimsa
not only as a moral weapon but as a political one he refused to separate politics
and religion
These ideas were seen in oldest Upanisads (among Brahmanic),Buddhist and Jain
communities became an ideological revolution that took place in India around 500
BCE. Then the Vedic Indians believed in order to escape the consequences of cruel
deeds its important to abstain from injuring other beings practice ahimsa
With the doctrine of transmigration and retribution of actions (karman), the
ultimate goal of the religious life was to get liberation from birth, and led the
Upanisadic sages to point the identity of atman and Brahman.
In this way, ahimsa became expanded into the concept of compassion which is a
virtue required to strive after liberation
Brahmanic ascetics, Buddhist, Jainas took a vow that life should not be destroyed in
mind, words, or deeds (Jain emphasized the importance of all forms of violence)
www.notesolution.com

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Description
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 www.notesolution.com
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