What is Merit in Buddhism - 1 Scientific Explanation

The concept of merit and compassion holds great importance in Buddhism. The great Nagarjuna once said that nothing is challenging when it becomes a habit. This statement aligns with the explanation behind Buddhism's merit system, which integrates scientific principles.

In today's article, we will explore the profound importance of merit and compassion in Buddhism. By delving into the 20 ins and outs of the reign of merit and compassion, we will gain a deeper understanding of how merit is a guiding principle that can bring about positive change in our lives. Join us as we embark on this beautiful journey of discovery.

1. What makes Buddha highly meritorious?

Buddha, due to extraordinary merit, even the slightest sound, like a bird's tweet, could break the cycle of Samsara.

2. Why do I lack merit?

However, for someone like myself, Tenzin Dhondup, even with exposure to countless valuable teachings on the Buddha Dharma, I remain in a state of slumber. According to Buddhism, we need to cultivate positive merit to have a thought of wanting to sit in meditation and to be able to meditate without any obstacles.

3. What is merit?

Any action that brings us closer to the truth is merit. Any action that takes us away from the truth has no merit.

4. What are the four truths?

  1. All compounded things are impermanent.
  2. All emotions are prone to suffering.
  3. All things have no inherent existence.
  4. Nirvana is beyond concepts.

5. Do the Four Seals and Four Truths have similarities?

The statements known as 'the four seals' were taught by Buddha. These seals are sometimes referred to as 'truths' by masters to avoid confusion with the four noble truths in Buddhism.

6. If one accumulates many merits, does it guarantee the fulfillment of one's wishes?

Having more merits can be the key to fulfilling our desires, but if those accomplishments lead to wealth, good health, and an absence of challenges, we may become entrenched in worldly existence.

We may become so focused on our success that we don't need to consider the possibility of liberation from Samsara. In doing so, we distance ourselves from the teachings of Buddha and negate any merit we may have accumulated, so let's call that Samsaric merit. What we need is the merit of walking towards Nirvana.

7. What is the merit of walking towards the Nirvana?

Buddhas, such as Jetsun Milarepa, have often encountered numerous obstacles in their Samsaric existence, prompting them to abandon Samsara and thus acquire walking towards Nirvana merit. This has been the case with many of the renowned masters of the past.

8. Why do some masters abandon worldly success?

The masters understand that any achievement we attain in the cycle of rebirth is temporary, like a mud palace constructed by a child near the sea. Eventually, we must abandon all of our successes. Therefore, they believe that these successes hold no significance and strive to search for something more profound: Nirvana, the essence of merit.

9. Why do some masters acquire worldly success?

In the past, some Bodhisattvas with such abundance that even their earrings could purchase countless treasures. Some even had thousands of wives or husbands. The art of skillful means stands out as a critical tool for Bodhisattvas. For instance, a disciple once questioned their master about wearing a Rolex watch. The master's response was intriguing: 'People are drawn to luxury items like Rolex watches, and by wearing one, I attract them to me. This way, I can gradually share the teachings of Dharma with them.' That's what makes Bodhisattvas truly fearless and most compassionate—they choose to remain in the final Bodhisattva stage and not attain enlightenment until all sentient beings are enlightened, the essence of absolute merit.

10. What is the process for gaining merit?

The acquisition of merit in Buddhist practices involves chanting, prostrating, meditation, scripture reading, and circumambulating the stupa.

What is Merit in Buddhism? Buddha Shakyamuni 12 years old in the Jokhang Temple, What is merit?

Photo: Liberating by seeing a statue of Buddha Shakyamuni in Jokhang Temple.

11. Do we expect anything in return when we help others?

Our merit will increase daily if we don't anticipate anything in return when we make wishes for others or give something to them. The concept of merit helps us comprehend that practicing Buddha's Dharma is simple, as all Buddhist practices center on the mind, which is responsible for both happiness and suffering.

12. What is the starting point for engaging in the practice of merit?

To begin practicing merit, we can start by making aspirations. For instance, when we come across a fancy car, we can make aspirations that everyone has the opportunity to drive one. Similarly, when we encounter an attractive individual, we can aspire for everyone to be blessed with good looks. As we become aware of someone being unwell, may all those who are suffering from illness recover quickly, and may everyone enjoy good health. We should extend assistance by contributing donations or any other form of aid, and we should do so without anticipating any compensation or expecting benefit in return.

13. What are some ways to engage in merit while traveling in Tibet?

Making aspirations is an everyday occurrence for Travelers visiting Tibet, and merit plays a crucial role in this. By wishing for great weather for sightseeing at places like Mount Everest and Mount Kailash for other fellow Travelers, we can create better weather for our journey. Practicing merit is effortless when we do not expect to receive anything in return.

14. What are the positive merits?

When you are happy, may everyone be as satisfied as me. When you are sad, may no one become sad like me. We can easily create many positive merits. May good things happen to all beings or that person. If such thoughts arise, we are making positive merits, and good things will occur to us because of our good intentions.


Image: Vajra-Yogini-By-Dakinis-Art

15. What are the negative merits?

When we are happy, may no one become as satisfied as me. When we are sad, may everyone or that person become even more hurt or sad than I am. If we have thoughts wishing negative things to happen to others or even to ourselves, we are creating negative karma, and negative things will happen to us due to our evil intentions.

16. Where does merit have its starting point?

Merits originate from three avenues: the mind, body, and speech. However, the most significant merit is generated from the mind as it is the origin of both speech and body. I recommend visiting Siddhartha's Intent for more information regarding merit.

17. As we accumulate more merit, what are the effects?

By consistently filling our minds with positive thoughts, we accumulate substantial good karma and steer our minds toward enlightenment. This practice brings us closer to the ultimate teachings of Buddha. With a gradual understanding of Buddha's teachings, the desire to seek enlightenment arises within us.

As we delve deeper, we realize that all sentient beings were once our mothers in one of our previous lives. This leads to further valuable thoughts, such as questioning the pursuit of personal happiness when our mothers are enduring suffering.

18. Who is the enemy of merit?

According to Great Shantideva from Nalanda University in the 8th century, anger is the enemy of merit. He said that all the positive merit we accumulate over countless lifetimes can be destroyed with just one instance of anger. Therefore, it is important to avoid getting angry as it can destroy our positive merit. Anger is detrimental to the accumulation of positive merit.

19. Who is the best friend of merit?

Being mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions is the greatest ally of merit. This is why meditation is one of the best friends of merit, as it enables us to silence our speech, halt our bodily actions, and focus entirely on our thoughts.

20. Who is the King of Merit?

Bodhichitta is undoubtedly the King of merit. The most supreme way to accumulate merit is to practice Bodhichitta. Bodhichitta is the sole remedy that can assist us in discovering joy amidst our pain, rendering it the singular cure for all psychological ailments.

In order to practice Bodhichitta, we must first practice compassion. The word compassion is precious and considered one of the most potent words in the world. Compassion is referred to as Nying Jey in Tibetan, which translates to "King of Heart."

Someone said: When I was young, I liked the word "power." As I grow older, I fall in love with the word "compassion." In a fundamental way, compassion means no selfishness.

Due to my lack of experience in Buddhism, I need to acquire more understanding to properly engage in discussions about the significant principle of compassion, which holds great value in the Buddhism.

Buddha, Merit in Buddhism

Image: Buddha

21. Why did Great Chandrakirti bow to Compassion?

A master said, "In the 7th century, Chandrakirti, a well-known master at Nalanda University in India, used a cow that was painted to teach his disciples about emptiness." He demonstrated this by milking from the painted cow and giving the milk to the monks to drink.

In Chandrakirti's teachings, he placed great importance on compassion, even above paying homage to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Shakyamuni Buddha himself attained enlightenment by showing compassion towards all living beings.

Chenrezig is the Bodhisattva of compassion. The mantra of Chenrezig is: Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum  . With the merit of chanting this mantra, may Bodhichitta grow in the hearts of all sentient beings.

22. How to explain the connection between Merit and Science?

Numerous Buddhist practices to accumulate merit entail repetitive tasks like reciting a mantra extensively or encircling a stupa or monastery. Contemporary influencers promote habit transformation in 21 days through persistent practice, echoing an ancient practice dating back to Buddha's era 2500 years ago. This tradition underscores habit formation through regular repetition, echoing Buddha's frequent recitation of the same verse.

The great Nagarjuna once said that nothing is challenging when it becomes a habit. This statement aligns with the explanation behind Buddhism's merit system, which integrates scientific principles.

23. Conclusion

Almost all Buddhist practices focus on acquiring merit, so merit is an essential subject in Buddhism.

Buddhists view Bodhichitta as immensely precious, and I have concluded that having Bodhichitta is having everything. Our goal is to practice Buddha Dharma with the intention of achieving enlightenment for all Sentient Beings. Mahayana Buddhism's main objective is to liberate all Sentient Beings from Samsara.

As someone with limited knowledge, writing about such a precious merit intimidates me. However, I have written this article to gain merit by mentioning tiny pieces of information on merit. If there are any mistakes in my writing, I humbly request forgiveness from the Dakinis. Guru Khenno!

I appreciate you for reading all the way through. Also, check out my other article regarding the precious path to enlightenment Bodhisattva way :) If there is anything I can do to improve the article, let me know by leaving a comment. Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Written By :Tenzin

Feb 07, 2023


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