What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

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RiceCake
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What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by RiceCake »

Hey again,

Ive recently just got more into researching "dedicating merit" to spirits and other beings, but im trying to figure out the inner mechanics behind how this works & how it benefits them. Everything ive read so far has been really vague about it.

I believe understanding the more technical aspects could help me do this better so i can help more beings in places that i cant easily reach physically. I appreciate the help!
cjdevries
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by cjdevries »

This is what Tulku Thondup writes about dedicating merit: "Even if you have the merits, you need to invest them for the particular purpose by dedicating them and making aspiration prayers again and again. Dedication and aspiration are not merely devices to invest the merits as seeds of rebirth in the pure land; they are also powerful means of making merits in themselves.
If you imagine that a buddha is before you, listening to and blessing your aspiration prayers, the results of your prayers will be even more powerful and effective.
In order to accomplish the prayers of aspiration, it is crucial to rely on a source of power. So it is very important to rely on a deity such as the Buddha of Infinite Light, the Buddha of Compassion, or Guru Padmasambhava. The sources of power must be someone to whom you have devotion and with whom you are already connected by prayers and meditation. You must see the source of power as the embodiment of all the Precious Ones. Pray to him or her for the accomplishment of all your aspirations."

I would guess that by connecting your energy to the Buddha or deity you are amplifying the energy of the prayers.
"For the zen student, every weed is a treasure." -Suzuki Roshi
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SilenceMonkey
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Merit is the good spiritual energy that is generated from your practice, which comes when you deeply connect with enlightened ones and their teachings. We can share this good feeling with others, whomever we want. Many spirit beings are merit deficient (eg. the so-called "hungry ghosts" who wander around in the vast desert for years without finding a drop of water). The merit revitalises them and makes them happy. It's a little like watering plants or giving food to the homeless. You do it out of love.

Sharing merit also forms a wholesome spiritual link between you and these other beings. Good karma :) It can become the basis for a good connection with them in the future. It's like with people whom we've had a nice relationship when we were younger, that feeling still remains after all those years. They may even grow to like the Dharma energy and come to listen to you practice. It's said that spirit beings gather around places of Dharma and the practitioners who uphold it. They enjoy the purity of Dharma's spiritual light!

As for the mechanics... as far as I understand, when you have generated all this positive feeling from practice, by merely having the thought to share it with someone, they will experience it with you. The bodhisattva vow is what allows this sharing to become like a lamp that doesn't run out. Your candle flame can light another's without becoming exhausted. One candle can light thousands... even millions! (With enough practice)

I believe shunyata comes in to disappear all the illusory barriers between ourselves and others, which block the transfer of merit and interconnection in general. Our "self" gets in the way. Bodhicitta practices helps let go of our self in a way that puts others first, so we naturally want them to be happy before our own happiness. So instead of wanting to "enjoy" our positive energy for ourselves, we become naturally inclined to give goodness to others without a second thought.

Practice Bodhicitta! It's good for everyone.
Fortyeightvows
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

I think it's pretty esoteric, but there is an idea of some substance being created when a person makes vows.

Look at this thread-
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=25372
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

NateLeo wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:39 amI believe understanding the more technical aspects could help me do this better so i can help more beings in places that i cant easily reach physically.
Merit is the positive imprint of a beneficial action in one's mental continuum. Sharing the merit of a good deed means that another being rejoices in the same action, thus it leaves a positive imprint there as well.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Malcolm »

Fortyeightvows wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 8:01 am I think it's pretty esoteric, but there is an idea of some substance being created when a person makes vows.

Look at this thread-
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=25372
No relationship to dedicating merit.
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KathyLauren
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by KathyLauren »

Does there need to be physics, spiritual or otherwise, behind it? I am quite resistant to magical thinking. Still...

If I dedicate my merit, I know it benefits me. It makes me less attached to the merit, and fosters in me an attitude of wanting to help other beings and not hurt them.

Does it directly benefit those beings? I don't know. I have been told that it does, but I really don't know how or why or even if it does. I suppose it benefits them indirectly, because they share the world with a being (me) who wishes them well and will avoid harming them. That's a pretty tenuous connection, but real enough if you need a connection. Thinking this way helps make me less attached to my own benefit.

Om mani padme hum
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Matt J
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Matt J »

The question is: how can you NOT share merit? Everyone is connected interdependently. If we take emptiness seriously, there are no lines or boundaries that separate anything from everything.

Even put in a simple, conventional way, dedicating the merit will assist in developing open-heartedness. It helps you to not cling or grasp, to think of others, to work for others, etc. This open-heartedness will then have some impact on every sentient being you encounter--- how could it not?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

Matt J wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:28 pm The question is: how can you NOT share merit? Everyone is connected interdependently. If we take emptiness seriously, there are no lines or boundaries that separate anything from everything.
Karma is always individual.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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LastLegend
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:34 pm
Matt J wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:28 pm The question is: how can you NOT share merit? Everyone is connected interdependently. If we take emptiness seriously, there are no lines or boundaries that separate anything from everything.
Karma is always individual.
Why?
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:51 pmWhy?
Because that is what it means, how one's intentional action leaves an imprint in one's mind, and as a consequence how that imprint influences one's experiences. As intention is the key factor, those who did not intend something, could not have committed a karma, and without a cause there can be no effect.

'This third category, ascription of karma, means that you experience the results of the karma you create. Results will ripen in the skandhas related to the actor, and not to others. The Collection of the Abhidharma says:
What does the ascription of karma mean? One experiences the maturation of the karma one has created. It is uncommon to others and, so, is called ascription.
If that were not the case, the karma that was created could be wasted or there could be the danger of facing a result that one had not created.
Therefore, in the sutra it says:
That karma that is created by Devadatta will not mature in the earth, water, and so forth
But that karma will ripen in the skandhas and ayatana of that particular individual
To whom else would this karma result?'

(Jewel Ornament of Liberation, p 119-120)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Matt J
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Matt J »

I think this misses the forest for the trees. To say that karma is truly individual is to say that it is independent. That is not the case. No matter how you parse it, you can say that karma affects the individual (whatever that means), but of course, this maturation will inevitably affect others.

For example, if you insult me, and due to past intentions and actions I have a seed of anger that is set off, let's imagine I am overcome with anger and I hit you in the face, this certainly impacts you. If you go home and your family sees your black eye, this effects them also. If it puts you in a foul mood due to your karmic seeds, then you may go around town spreading that bad mood everywhere.

Contrarily, if, due to past actions I have a seed of a good mood, and you come over, and we have a nice cup of coffee and a great chat, this certainly affects you as well, and you affect others, etc.

Astus wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 8:45 pm
LastLegend wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:51 pmWhy?
Because that is what it means, how one's intentional action leaves an imprint in one's mind, and as a consequence how that imprint influences one's experiences. As intention is the key factor, those who did not intend something, could not have committed a karma, and without a cause there can be no effect.

'This third category, ascription of karma, means that you experience the results of the karma you create. Results will ripen in the skandhas related to the actor, and not to others. The Collection of the Abhidharma says:
What does the ascription of karma mean? One experiences the maturation of the karma one has created. It is uncommon to others and, so, is called ascription.
If that were not the case, the karma that was created could be wasted or there could be the danger of facing a result that one had not created.
Therefore, in the sutra it says:
That karma that is created by Devadatta will not mature in the earth, water, and so forth
But that karma will ripen in the skandhas and ayatana of that particular individual
To whom else would this karma result?'

(Jewel Ornament of Liberation, p 119-120)
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

Matt J wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:46 pmI think this misses the forest for the trees. To say that karma is truly individual is to say that it is independent. That is not the case. No matter how you parse it, you can say that karma affects the individual (whatever that means), but of course, this maturation will inevitably affect others.
Karma is about how mental habits are formed, how they distort one's experience, and how they generate (re)actions. It does not mean all sorts of causes and conditions, but a fairly specific type of it.
For example, if you insult me, and due to past intentions and actions I have a seed of anger that is set off, let's imagine I am overcome with anger and I hit you in the face, this certainly impacts you. If you go home and your family sees your black eye, this effects them also. If it puts you in a foul mood due to your karmic seeds, then you may go around town spreading that bad mood everywhere.
Contrarily, if, due to past actions I have a seed of a good mood, and you come over, and we have a nice cup of coffee and a great chat, this certainly affects you as well, and you affect others, etc.
You hitting me is your action coming based on your habits. My reaction to being hit is my action/perception based on my habits. My family's reaction to seeing my black eye comes their habits. And so on. Karma being individual does not deny the wider causal interactions, just as one feels the effects of the weather, etc. The reason karma is highlighted as one's habit forming intentional action is because that is what one should work on, where skilful/wholesome/beneficial and unskilful/unwholesome/harmful thoughts, words, and deeds emerge and impact one's reality.

Bringing this back to the original question, merit is the positive imprint of a good deed. Since one cannot just distribute one's habits, it is not the case that sharing merit occurs like sharing food. Also, one has no power over whether another being may or may not rejoice in a good (or a bad) deed, regardless of one's intentions of sharing or keeping the merit generated by it. However, sharing merit is bringing others' attention to the opportunity of rejoicing in something good, so it is a beneficial action.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 8:07 am
Matt J wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:46 pmI think this misses the forest for the trees. To say that karma is truly individual is to say that it is independent. That is not the case. No matter how you parse it, you can say that karma affects the individual (whatever that means), but of course, this maturation will inevitably affect others.
Karma is about how mental habits are formed, how they distort one's experience, and how they generate (re)actions. It does not mean all sorts of causes and conditions, but a fairly specific type of it.
For example, if you insult me, and due to past intentions and actions I have a seed of anger that is set off, let's imagine I am overcome with anger and I hit you in the face, this certainly impacts you. If you go home and your family sees your black eye, this effects them also. If it puts you in a foul mood due to your karmic seeds, then you may go around town spreading that bad mood everywhere.
Contrarily, if, due to past actions I have a seed of a good mood, and you come over, and we have a nice cup of coffee and a great chat, this certainly affects you as well, and you affect others, etc.
You hitting me is your action coming based on your habits. My reaction to being hit is my action/perception based on my habits. My family's reaction to seeing my black eye comes their habits. And so on. Karma being individual does not deny the wider causal interactions, just as one feels the effects of the weather, etc. The reason karma is highlighted as one's habit forming intentional action is because that is what one should work on, where skilful/wholesome/beneficial and unskilful/unwholesome/harmful thoughts, words, and deeds emerge and impact one's reality.

Bringing this back to the original question, merit is the positive imprint of a good deed. Since one cannot just distribute one's habits, it is not the case that sharing merit occurs like sharing food. Also, one has no power over whether another being may or may not rejoice in a good (or a bad) deed, regardless of one's intentions of sharing or keeping the merit generated by it. However, sharing merit is bringing others' attention to the opportunity of rejoicing in something good, so it is a beneficial action.
It’s because of causal interaction there cannot be self. The reason why your view should not be accepted is because it’s not a Mahayana view. There will be problem later on that when one hits final samadhi of emptiness, one will remain in there and doesn’t know what to do help sentient beings.
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Crazywisdom »

you are dedicating energy toward a great goal
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

LastLegend wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:07 pmThe reason why your view should not be accepted is because it’s not a Mahayana view.
What do you call a Mahayana view?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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LastLegend
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:36 pm
LastLegend wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 2:07 pmThe reason why your view should not be accepted is because it’s not a Mahayana view.
What do you call a Mahayana view?
It’s not simply Bodhicitta as having no bad harmful thoughts towards any sentient beings and that’s it. I call Bodhicitta the great samadhi of emptiness. What do you call emptiness?
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Astus
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

LastLegend wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:15 pmWhat do you call emptiness?
That appearances are empty of (i.e. without) any independent essence or characteristic.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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LastLegend
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:26 pm
LastLegend wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:15 pmWhat do you call emptiness?
That appearances are empty of (i.e. without) any independent essence or characteristic.
I’ll play big today out of personal frustration and will have to reject that as school knowledge of mathematics.

Let’s take some example: in quietness state, without interpretations you hear a bird chirping what is nature of mind?
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: What are the (spiritual) physics behind dedicating merit?

Post by Astus »

LastLegend wrote: Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:33 pmLet’s take some example: in quietness state, without interpretations you hear a bird chirping what is nature of mind?
What species of bird is chirping?
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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