Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

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KiwiNFLFan
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Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am

The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
One who has perfect devotion to the Goddess,
A wise person who clearly recites this,
Who remembers her at dusk and at dawn upon rising
To that one will be granted absolute fearlessness.
All evil actions shall be completely purified,
All evil states completely destroyed.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Does this have to do with the fact that merit can be transferred from one person to another? By reciting the Twenty One Praises, is Tara giving us some of her merit?

Miroku
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Miroku » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:31 am

Through such practices as Tara we gain merit by venerating the Tara and also through giving rise to bodhicitta, through this also various obstacles are purified. Also and most importantly Tara and other deities are nothing but our real nature and through practice we can come to recognize it and even in sutra it says that staying in our real nature just for a very short moment is better than making offerings or purifying for thousands of kalpas (dunno how long but pretty long). So no there is no merit to be transfered. Also we are making connection to tara and she can help us, because she is very active and full of compassion.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

Soma999
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Soma999 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:34 pm

Tara is an infinite ocean of kindkness an dbeauty. Just looking at this ocean pacify the mind, drinking its water fullfing desire and bathing into those water free from all miseries. And by contempling Her, you find your true nature, that is the jewel that accomplish everything.

I don't think she "transfer" merit. Just by rembering her and her qualities is enough to bring you benefits. And more especially if you recognise those quality in yourself and apply them in your daily life.

Merit is the golden field that creates positice circonstances, and she is the light, the fire that ignites this field in yourself.

There are persons, just talking to them bring positive effects. There are plants, just touching them make you smeel good. There are places, just walking on them gives you energy.

And there is Tara who, by remembering Her - that is your loving and compassionate nature - transform you. She is the space which can receive everything and dignify yourself.

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PuerAzaelis
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by PuerAzaelis » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:33 pm

The offhand dismissal of the dedication as just a subjective practice is odd to me.

Same as giving and taking.

I think I'm meant to practice as if these things actually occur.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

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passel
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by passel » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:43 pm

HHDL says the primary beneficiary of tonglen and other compassion practices is the one who practices. So yes, you do practice as if you could really benefit others but the primary benefit is the weakening of your own self concern. Which in turn leads to beneficial actions of body speech and mind which may be of actual, direct benefit to others.
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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Boomerang
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Boomerang » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:06 pm

In the Pali Canon, the Buddha encourages his disciples to practice buddhanusati, Buddha-rememberance. Devotion to Tara, Amitabha, or another figure the same idea, except with Mahayana motivation and Mahayana symbols.
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

diamind
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by diamind » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:19 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am
The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
One who has perfect devotion to the Goddess,
A wise person who clearly recites this,
Who remembers her at dusk and at dawn upon rising
To that one will be granted absolute fearlessness.
All evil actions shall be completely purified,
All evil states completely destroyed.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Does this have to do with the fact that merit can be transferred from one person to another? By reciting the Twenty One Praises, is Tara giving us some of her merit?
This is a very interesting question that no ordinary person understands.

To answer your question directly and not going off on some reverie tangent.
No you can't transfer your merit to others, if you could share merit we would have all been enlightened 2500 years ago.
You create merit by having faith but it appears that there is some power also coming from the side of the object which contradicts everything I know. Yeah its a mystery.

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Brunelleschi
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Brunelleschi » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:18 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am
The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
Dedication of merits is not a "Tibetan" practice. As far as I know there's scriptural basis for it in the Sutras.

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heart
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by heart » Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am
The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
One who has perfect devotion to the Goddess,
A wise person who clearly recites this,
Who remembers her at dusk and at dawn upon rising
To that one will be granted absolute fearlessness.
All evil actions shall be completely purified,
All evil states completely destroyed.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Does this have to do with the fact that merit can be transferred from one person to another? By reciting the Twenty One Praises, is Tara giving us some of her merit?
The Praise to the Twenty One Taras is from a tantra imported to Tibet from India. Anyway, by praising Tara, a perfect Bodhisattva, you accumulate merit that you can dedicate to the benefit of sentient beings.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Jangchup Donden
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Jangchup Donden » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:26 pm

Buddhas and Bodhisattvas such as Tara are present whenever we bring them to mind (multiple scriptural sources for that, and well Buddhas are omnipresent). If I bring Tara to mind by visualizing her while reciting her mantra or praises, am I not taking part in her vast activity and therefore generating a tremendous amount of merit?

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heart
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by heart » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:10 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am
The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
Reciting mantras and developing devotion are not practices that are Tibetan, it comes from India. I am sorry KiwiNFLFan but I feel a little surprised that you don't know this. Perhaps you could educate yourself a little.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

SunWuKong
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:59 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:45 am
The Buddha says in the Dhammapada: "You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way".

How does this fit with the Tibetan practices of recitation of mantras, devotion to Tara and other deities etc? For example, at the end of the Praise to the Twenty One Taras is a list of benefits which includes the following:
One who has perfect devotion to the Goddess,
A wise person who clearly recites this,
Who remembers her at dusk and at dawn upon rising
To that one will be granted absolute fearlessness.
All evil actions shall be completely purified,
All evil states completely destroyed.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Does this have to do with the fact that merit can be transferred from one person to another? By reciting the Twenty One Praises, is Tara giving us some of her merit?
Why must it be exclusive either/or your striving or their empowerment. If I empowered you to run a race, does that mean you only stand at the starting line?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Tolya M
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Tolya M » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:37 pm

If the transfer of merit was literally working then all of us would have been released long ago. There is a well-founded suspicion that in addition to your qualities you do not develop anything. Because consciousness of Tara is her amala-vijnana-suit and your alaya-vijnana is your's. Even the Buddha had disciples whom he could not help.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Of course because you think about them and apply the N8P :D

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:14 pm

What is merit?
Is the individual condition in which we can create causes and conditions to attain whatever we desire?
Abundance of merit is like the jewell?

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Jangchup Donden
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Jangchup Donden » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:21 am

Tolya M wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:37 pm
Even the Buddha had disciples whom he could not help.
Sure, but he also had many disciples who he did help. Are you saying they would have been enlightened at that time without him?

If you're stuck in a well, you can't get out without help. At the same token, if someone lowers you a rope to pull you out, and you don't grab on to it, you also won't get out.

I don't see the practices/blessings/transfer of merit any differently. They're the rope, and we get the blessings if we hold on by practicing them.

Tolya M
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Tolya M » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:38 am

Jangchup Donden wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:21 am
Tolya M wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:37 pm
Even the Buddha had disciples whom he could not help.
Sure, but he also had many disciples who he did help. Are you saying they would have been enlightened at that time without him?

If you're stuck in a well, you can't get out without help. At the same token, if someone lowers you a rope to pull you out, and you don't grab on to it, you also won't get out.

I don't see the practices/blessings/transfer of merit any differently. They're the rope, and we get the blessings if we hold on by practicing them.
The comparison doesn't work with such coarse objecs as well etc., and it doesn't work with imaginine liberation from consiousness own sourсe. It is a misinterpretation of what actually is going on. Take as example 30 students with teacher explaining how to do when evil-mind comes. Not only teacher but everyone there have different objects of knowledge. Someone began to know for himself avoiding such situations but someone don't. Teacher cannot help them for this is not teacher's range at all. Mantras are acintya. No one could say that the effect for you will be exactly like something for it depends on your skillful qualities and no sadhana is able to do with a ripened vipaka. It is all on your side.

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Vasana
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Vasana » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:58 am

Does anyone have any citations on the transference of merit to individuals in the Tibetan tradition? Or elsewhere.

What can the transference of merit do and what can't it do? For the purpose of transferring merit to those whose merit is weak and misdeeds are strong, does the merit transferred 'offset' any of their karma or create new positive seeds for them? Or is it only possible to dedicate to all beings?

Or is it just a skillfull means for multiplying our own merit and thus speeding up our journey to Buddhahood at which point we can help them. I guess my main question is what we can do for those who are on a very destructive downward spiral...
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

Simon E.
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Simon E. » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:41 am

Tolya M wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:37 pm
If the transfer of merit was literally working then all of us would have been released long ago. There is a well-founded suspicion that in addition to your qualities you do not develop anything. Because consciousness of Tara is her amala-vijnana-suit and your alaya-vijnana is your's. Even the Buddha had disciples whom he could not help.
Seventy million Buddhas
Shall swiftly empower one
Of course because you think about them and apply the N8P :D
Whether 'merit' is transferred in some way is not perhaps the point. The intent to transfer it is a good way to generate Bodhicitta.
And btw, not all traditions are posited overtly on the 8FP.
If you use the word 'mind' without defining your terms I will ask you politely for a definition. :smile:
This is not to be awkward. But it's really not self-explanatory.

Losal Samten
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Losal Samten » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:07 pm

Vasana wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:58 am
What can the transference of merit do and what can't it do? For the purpose of transferring merit to those whose merit is weak and misdeeds are strong, does the merit transferred 'offset' any of their karma or create new positive seeds for them? Or is it only possible to dedicate to all beings?
As I understand it, we are the sole owners of our own karma, since otherwise, the buddhas would have transferred their asamkhya merit to all beings and we would be living like devas all the time without exception.
Or is it just a skillfull means for multiplying our own merit and thus speeding up our journey to Buddhahood at which point we can help them.
It's the logical answer. At best, our mind could influence others to ripen their own fortunate karma, but considering the countless numbers of buddhas, and the numbers and intensity of suffering beings, it doesn't seem like it would be all that effective for us deluded beings to try the same. Although as ChNN says, if we have close connections, our practice for them works better.
I guess my main question is what we can do for those who are on a very destructive downward spiral...
Do practices which are specifically said to help others I suppose.
Lacking mindfulness, we commit every wrong. - Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔
ཨཱོཾ་མ་ཏྲི་མུ་ཡེ་སལེ་འདུ།།

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Vasana
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Re: Transfer of merit and Tibetan practices

Post by Vasana » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:20 pm

Thanks, this is what I expected to be the case.

As for practices that can explicitly be done for others, I don't know of too many. It seems there is more you can do for someone after they have passed than there is when they're alive but maybe there's more out there that can specifically help.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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