Merit = good karma ?

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Grigoris
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:52 am

From Asanga's Abhidharmasamuccaya:



'«Furthermore, conditioned origination is momentary
(ksanika), but duration (stbiti) may be found in it; conditioned
origination consists of unmoving (undriven) conditions (nir-
Ibakapratyaya), but those conditions are also efficacious (capable
of action) (samartbapratyaya); conditioned origination
does not admit a being {nibsattva), but it can also be constituted
by means of a being (sattvatascopalabbyate); conditioned origination
does not admit a creator (niskartrka), but there is no
interruption between actions and their results
{karmapbaldviprandsd).
It does not arise from itself (na svatab), or from
anything else (na paratab), or from both (na dvdbbydm), it
does not arise from its own action (svayamkara), or from the
action of others (parakard), or without cause (abetii). Hence it
is also profound."
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:54 am

And if this one does not put things to rest, I don't know what will:

"Moreover, it is said that beings die and leave those abodes
on the expiration of their life-span (ayus), or their merit
(punya), or their action (karma)."

Quite clearly merit and action are two SEPERATE things.

Gotta go to work now, but will be back with more soon!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:29 am

From The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Here we quite clearly see that TRANSFERENCE OF MERIT is a wholesome kamma.

"§24. Wholesome Kamma of the Sense Sphere
Kāmāvacarakusalaṁ pi kāyadvāre pavattaṁ kāyakammaṁ,
vacīdvāre pavattaṁ vacīkammaṁ, manodvāre pavattaṁ manokammañ
cā ti kammadvāravasena tividhaṁ hoti.
Wholesome kamma of the sense sphere is threefold according to the doors of
action, namely, bodily action pertaining to the door of the body, verbal action pertaining
to the door of speech, and mental action pertaining to the door of the mind.
Tathā dāna-sīla-bhāvanāvasena. Cittuppādavasena pan’etaṁ
aṭṭhavidhaṁ hoti.
Similarly, it is threefold as generosity, virtue, and meditation. But it is eightfold
according to the classes of consciousness.
Dāna-sīla-bhāvanā-apacāyana-veyyāvacca-pattidāna-pattānumodana-
dhammasavana-dhammadesanā-diṭṭhijjukammavasena
dasavidhaṁ hoti.
It is also tenfold as: (1) generosity; (2) virtue; (3) meditation; (4) reverence; (5)
service; (6) transference of merit; (7) rejoicing in the merit of others; (8) hearing the
Dhamma; (9) teaching the Dhamma; and (10) straightening out one’s views.
Tam pan’etaṁ vīsatividham pi kāmāvacarakammam icc’eva
sankhaṁ gacchati.
All these twenty kinds (unwholesome and wholesome) are known as “kamma
pertaining to the sense sphere.”

And here we see (in the context of the explanation of the introduction) how kamma generates merit:

"§1. Words of Praise (thutivacana)
Sammāsambuddham atulaṁ
Sasaddhammagaṇuttamaṁ
Abhivādiya bhāsissaṁ
Abhidhammatthasangahaṁ.
Having respectfully saluted the Fully Enlightened One, the Peerless One, along
with the Sublime Teaching and the Noble Order, I will recite the Manual of Abhidhamma
— a compendium of the things contained in the Abhidhamma.
Guide to §1
Having respectfully saluted (abhivādiya): It is established practice in the Pāḷi
Buddhist tradition for expositors of the Dhamma to begin their expositions with a verse
of homage to the Triple Gem — the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha — the
ultimate Refuge for all who seek the undistorted comprehension of reality. Thus,
following this custom, with deep devotion, the author, Ācariya Anuruddha, opens his
treatise with a verse of praise in which he expresses his veneration for the Triple Gem. A
thought of veneration directed towards a worthy object is a wholesome kamma that
generates merit in the mental continuum of the person who gives rise to such a thought.
When this veneration is directed towards the most worthy objects of homage — the
Triple Gem — the merit generated is vast and powerful. Such merit, accumulated in the
mind, has the capacity to ward off obstructions to the fulfillment of one’s virtuous
undertakings and to support their successful completion. Moreover, for a follower of the
Buddha, the writing of a book on the Dhamma is a valuable opportunity to develop the
perfection of wisdom (paññāpāramī). Therefore, when beginning his work, the author
expresses, with blissful words of praise, his joy at gaining such an opportunity."
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Mantrik
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Mantrik » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:07 am

smcj wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:15 am
Ok, so at dinner tonight I asked 3 different western lamas about this thread. I asked if you could say that "merit = good karma", as in something that is produced by an action before it ripens as result. I presented the opposing viewpoint as saying that there is only action and result in a two-step process, and you couldn't say that there was anything in between.

Lama #1 has done (2) 3 year retreats.
He said I had it right.

Lama #2 has done (1) 3 year retreat. He is the most fluent in Tibetan.
He said in general I had it right, but you could get nit-picky about it. When pressed he said that "merit" was something you dedicated in the context of practice. He contrasted that with a general positive action, like a non-religious person being generous. That's the distinction.

Lama #3 has done (1) 3 year retreat.
He said that he didn't want to respond because the question was coming from an adversarial frame of mind. That's a bummer because he is not only my buddy but he is my boss too. But then he mumbled under his breath that I had it right.
*****
At that point I was so embarrassed by his disapproval that I couldn't ask any more of the western lamas that came to dinner later. That's why I don't go and ask them about threads even though I live at a monastery.
Sounds like asking for confirmation in a casual chat, rather than asking a Lama to formally explain to you:
Karma
Vipaka
Phala
and how Merit fits in.

The problem we all have in the West is that in casual speech people misuse 'karma' and do say 'that's good karma' when they actaully mean vipaka and phala. The Lamas may indeed concur that Merit may be produced by an Action, but I doubt if pressed that any of them would say Merit is an Action, a form of Karma, if they were giving a formal teaching.
Meritorious Action would be 'Good Karma', but the Merit resulting from it could in no way be described as a form of Karma.
So, of course I agree that Merit may be produced by an action, because that defines it as a consequence and therefore belonging to Vipaka and Phala. When you 'dedicate' you perform another Action, the consequence of which is the Vipaka and Phala related to your practice.

The illogicality of the (merit as karma) case may be seen if you ask if there is also a gap between your Action and the creation of Merit, with the Merit of creating Merit hanging about until it ripens. ;)
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by smcj » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:12 am

When this veneration is directed towards the most worthy objects of homage — the
Triple Gem — the merit generated is vast and powerful. Such merit, accumulated in the
mind, has the capacity
to ward off obstructions to the fulfillment of one’s virtuous
undertakings and to support their successful completion. Moreover, for a follower of the
(underlining mine)
Well, what can I say about that? :shrug:
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Grigoris
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:45 am

smcj wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:12 am
When this veneration is directed towards the most worthy objects of homage — the
Triple Gem — the merit generated is vast and powerful. Such merit, accumulated in the
mind, has the capacity
to ward off obstructions to the fulfillment of one’s virtuous
undertakings and to support their successful completion. Moreover, for a follower of the
(underlining mine)
Well, what can I say about that? :shrug:
I don't get your point.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

smcj
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by smcj » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:57 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:45 am
smcj wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:12 am
When this veneration is directed towards the most worthy objects of homage — the
Triple Gem — the merit generated is vast and powerful. Such merit, accumulated in the
mind, has the capacity
to ward off obstructions to the fulfillment of one’s virtuous
undertakings and to support their successful completion. Moreover, for a follower of the
(underlining mine)
Well, what can I say about that? :shrug:
I don't get your point.
Perhaps that’s a good note to end this on.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.

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Grigoris
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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:51 pm

smcj wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:57 pm
Perhaps that’s a good note to end this on.
Perhaps I shouldn't have wasted my time trying to have an intelligent conversation with you. :shrug:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:39 pm

And, in closing (and not for the sake of smcj, but for those actually interested in learning):

"Four types of kamma: The Pāḷi term kammacatukka, the name of this section,
means “a fourfold division of kamma.” This section will actually introduce four fourfold
divisions, in all sixteen types of kamma obtained by applying four different methods of
analysis.
The word kamma comes from the root kar- “to act, to perform, to make, to do”
and means literally “action” or “deed,” but, in the Buddha’s teaching, it refers exclusively
to volitional action.
From a technical standpoint, kamma denotes wholesome (kusala) or
unwholesome (akusala) volition (cetanā), volition being the factor responsible for action.
Thus, the Buddha declares: “It is volition, monks, that I call kamma, for having willed,
one performs an action through body, speech, or mind” (Anguttara Nikāya 6:63/iii, 415).
All volitional action, except that of a Buddha or an Arahant, constitutes kamma. Buddhas
and Arahants do not accumulate kamma, since they have eradicated ignorance (avijjā)
and craving (taṇhā), the roots of kamma. Nevertheless, even Buddhas and Arahants are
bound to experience the ripening of their past kamma as long as their psychophysical
personality persists, that is, until they pass away.
The law of kamma (kammaniyāma) is self-subsistent in its operation, ensuring
that willed deeds produce their effects in accordance with their ethical quality just as
surely as seeds bear fruit in accordance with their species. The direct products of kamma
are the resultant (vipāka) states of consciousness and mental factors that arise when
kamma finds the right conditions to ripen.
Kamma also produces a distinct type of matter
in the organic bodies of living beings, called “materiality originating from kamma”
(kammasamuṭṭhānarūpa — see Chapter 6, §10)."

Also from The Abhidhammattha Sangaha of Ācariya Anuruddha translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Section V no18
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Merit = good karma ?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:07 pm

Verse 118. Accumulated Merit Leads To Happiness

If one should some merit make
do it again and again.
One should wish for it anew
for merit grows to joy.


Image

Explanation: A person may do some meritorious activity. He must keep on repeating it, over and over. He must take delight in that meritorious action. Accumulation of merit leads to happiness.

http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/d_evil.htm


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