- Dear bhikkhus,I would like to ask about merit giving.I have been discussing it with my wife and other groups for some days and we have come to no firm conclusion, though I have received other helpful advice.My wife comes from a Thai Theravada tradition and there is the custom of merit giving. For instance after doing meditation, attending a dharma talk or what ever, merit is accrued and can be dedicated. I can then dedicate the merit to another. The merit is the product of good karma.To me, my karma, good or bad, is a result of my own actions and will affect only me. Can I give that to others? Conversely, if I can give good karma to others, why can't I give bad karma? Must it be accepted?I can understand that others can see, rejoice and gain benefit from another's good actions, but I don't really understand how the merit can be transferred.Could you help me at all please?Kind regards,Graham
- An important discourse regarding the sharing of merit is the
I think you're right, the departed relatives have to rejoice in your
good deeds when you make merit and share it with them, but in
most cases, when we offer a gift to someone they will accept it
gladly, especially if they are in dire straits. The Petas are certainly
in dire straits.
A simile given is that of a candle light in a village. If only one
household has a lit candle, other villagers can come to the house
and light their own candle from it until every house in the village
has a light. Thus merit increases when it is shared.
Regarding the sharing of demerit there is a question in the Milinda
However, there is a way to share demerit. If we hold wrong views,
and so speak wrong speech, and do wrong actions, we may
encourage others of like mind to increase their own evil kamma and
to adopt wrong views. Every Buddhist should make strenuous efforts
to learn the Dhamma by studying the teachings carefully, and
discussing the Dhamma, to make sure that they don't entertain
wrong views. This is the wholesome deed called ditthujukamma -
straightening of one's views.