Author Topic: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.  (Read 11259 times)

hope rainbow

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2012, 05:33:44 PM »
If you want to know more about karma and merit, you can read this post.

http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=988.0
The dynamics of karma / merit.

The number ONE enemy in the studies and practices of a Buddhist is SELECTIVENESS.
Being selective with our Guru is the same as saying that we know better than our Guru.
this is why we follow some instructions and not others.
So it is not the following or not following that is the problem, is the train of thoughts that we entertain and that tells us: "I know better than my Guru".

How could we possibly create merit this way?

kurava

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2012, 03:35:18 AM »
Thank you for sharing. They are all valid points to be contemplated upon.

Since most of us have not developed the mind of renunciation, our actions are most definitely contaminated by the 'I'. In other words, even when we think we are doing good deeds for others our motivation will arise from the self grasping 'I'.

According to the Lamrim, a qualified Spiritual Guide is someone who has ' a deep and stable realization of emptiness'. All the actions of body, speech and mind of the Guru are meant purely and sincerely for the benefits of his students and others. Therefore following our Guru's instruction ensures the results of our actions will also be pure.

Thus good deeds done on our own initiative , at best, will produce good karma while good deeds done on Guru's instruction will generate merits.

Some may rebutt that our mind is not the Guru's mind, therefore by carrying out his instruction does not automatically make our action pure. However, at our present level, this is the best we can do.

The path of Guru devotion is the swiftest path of purification and merit collection as the Guru is the purest object we can perceive and rely on directly.

Positive Change

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2012, 08:55:13 AM »
To answer HopeRainbow's question, why do we generate "merits" by following Guru's instrutions?

If we view our Guru as the emanation of all buddhas, a guru's instruction is like the buddha's words, when we carry out instructions from our guru, it is like carrying instructions from the buddha whereby great merits fields is generated.

If I may add, I say this:

By ourselves we are incapable to create merits, because in order for a karmic result to be merits it requires pure intentions that only Buddhas have achieved.

We do not have pure intentions, even if we do Dharma.

When we follow the instruction from our Guru, we can tap from the pure intentions behind the instructions and we can create merit.

We can imagine it like we have a field in which nothing much grows because it is polluted and we use someone else's field that is pure, a field that we have been offered to use until ours stops to be polluted.

This is why we call our Guru a merit's field.
This is why we call the Guru tree our merit's field.

This is interesting as I did not see it as thus. Of course even if our intentions are there our motivation is not entirely pure because we still operate out of samsara... hence it would make sense to "tap" from a pure source... in this case our Guru. My question is, does it matter if one takes refuge from a Guru in order to tap into the Guru's merit field? Can one tap into the merit field even without taking refuge?

I would tend to think it does as Buddhas or the personification (in this case, our Guru represents the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) of one clearly means the Guru is non discriminatory.

If one can generate the merits from tapping into the merit field of a Guru then can someone explain the importance of taking refuge?

triesa

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2012, 03:56:03 PM »
To answer HopeRainbow's question, why do we generate "merits" by following Guru's instrutions?

If we view our Guru as the emanation of all buddhas, a guru's instruction is like the buddha's words, when we carry out instructions from our guru, it is like carrying instructions from the buddha whereby great merits fields is generated.

If I may add, I say this:

By ourselves we are incapable to create merits, because in order for a karmic result to be merits it requires pure intentions that only Buddhas have achieved.

We do not have pure intentions, even if we do Dharma.

When we follow the instruction from our Guru, we can tap from the pure intentions behind the instructions and we can create merit.

We can imagine it like we have a field in which nothing much grows because it is polluted and we use someone else's field that is pure, a field that we have been offered to use until ours stops to be polluted.

This is why we call our Guru a merit's field.
This is why we call the Guru tree our merit's field.

HopeRainbow, what you said make lots of sense, we are indeed "tapping" along the merits fields of our Guru as most of the time we do not have pure intentions and motivations.

I once remember a friend who related this to me, he said would I help someone I dont know and give him say 100K dollars even he needs that money badly? My answer was most likely not. Then my friend asked me, would I offer 100K dollars to my Guru? I said yes I would. He then said my Guru may use my monatery offering to help that person in need of the100K and perhaps that person's life changes for the better after that.

So in this way, I am actually tapping along my Guru's pure intention and as a result, I am also collecting "merits" because of my monatery offering to my Guru, which in turn end up helping someone whom I dont know at all.

hope rainbow

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2012, 03:33:44 PM »
By ourselves we are incapable to create merits, because in order for a karmic result to be merits it requires pure intentions that only Buddhas have achieved.
We do not have pure intentions, even if we do Dharma.
When we follow the instruction from our Guru, we can tap from the pure intentions behind the instructions and we can create merit.
We can imagine it like we have a field in which nothing much grows because it is polluted and we use someone else's field that is pure, a field that we have been offered to use until ours stops to be polluted.
This is why we call our Guru a merit's field.
This is why we call the Guru tree our merit's field.

This is interesting as I did not see it as thus. Of course even if our intentions are there our motivation is not entirely pure because we still operate out of samsara... hence it would make sense to "tap" from a pure source... in this case our Guru.

My question is, does it matter if one takes refuge from a Guru in order to tap into the Guru's merit field?
Can one tap into the merit field even without taking refuge?


I would tend to think it does as Buddhas or the personification (in this case, our Guru represents the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) of one clearly means the Guru is non discriminatory.

If one can generate the merits from tapping into the merit field of a Guru then can someone explain the importance of taking refuge?

I will try to reply at the best of my ability.

There are a three questions in your post:

Does it matter if one takes refuge from a Guru in order to tap into the Guru's merit field?

Can one tap into the merit field even without taking refuge?


If one can generate the merits from tapping into the merit field of a Guru then can someone explain the importance of taking refuge?

We create merits when we act in the sphere of activity of a Buddha, assisting the Buddha in his activities.
(as explained above and in the linked topic referred above)

What are the Buddha's activities?
Whatever the activity is, it is always an action of bodhicitta. It always is.

How do we assist a Buddha in his activities?
If we do not have a Guru, it can be by reciting mantras, this is a simple way of creating merit.
It is even better to do it properly and build up the proper mindset by going through the preparatory rites and say a prayer that has the 7 limbs, even better if we understand what the 7 limbs are and how we must apply our mind to them and use them as antidotes.

How do we assist a Buddha in his activities?
If we do not have a Guru but we have taken refuge, then everyday we create merits by not breaking our refuge vows.

How do we assist a Buddha in his activities?
For those of us who have a Guru, it is following our Guru's instructions (and that includes keeping our refuge vows of course).
Thus, it is not the action "per se" that creates merit, it is the action of following our Guru's instructions.

Someone else that does exactly the same action, but not within the instruction from a Guru, creates karma, not merits. The karma can be negative or positive, depending upon many factors, mostly the intention for the action. But it is not merit.

If someone does the action, following the instruction from a Guru, yet has not established a Guru-disciple relationship with this Guru or/and has not taken Buddhist refuge, then does that person create merit?
Possibly yet, but that person will loose the merit at the first thought of anger.

When we create merit, and when we have been educated to recognize situations during which we have created merits, we should dedicate the merit, we should "give it away".
In fact, this is the only way to keep going on a spiritual path. No matter how much merit we create, it will dissipate when our mind entertains a polluted thought, so it is essential that we dedicate our merit and learn to do it sincerely and with conviction.

We dedicate our merits towards our enlightenment so that we can be of assistance to all sentient beings.
That is how we dedicate, the final object of the dedication is others.

We may also add that we dedicate like the Buddhas have done in the past, like the Buddhas are doing now and like the Buddhas will do in the future, and we dedicate like our Guru dedicates, just to ensure that our dedication itself is not polluted.

Why? Because we are incapable to keep the merit pure (we do not have pure thoughts), and at the first thought of anger, the merit we have dissipates or simply becomes some type of normal karma. Our thought has polluted the merit to extinction.

When we dedicate our merits to others, we "trick" the law of karma, we turn it around, we use the tools of the 4th Noble Truth to turn the wheel of karma in the opposite way, towards enlightenment.
If I want something, I must give it away, that is the law of karma.
And so we do that with merits, and at the same time we develop a mind looking towards bodhicitta : "what I do for me, I do it to serve others".

Does the Buddha need our help? No.
The Buddha is offering us opportunities to help because we need the merit to back up our journey to enlightenment.
We need help, not the Buddha, nor our Guru.

Some people create merits and simply don't know about it because they have not learned about merit, or karma or even buddhism. Do they still create merit?
Yes, if it is an instruction from a Buddha.
No, otherwise.
And they likely loose the merit if it is not dedicated.

But, if they have appreciated what they did and linked it with a Buddha, trough an image for example, or a sound, they create something like a connection in their mind. And the next time they come across that image of a Buddha, they will associate it in their mind with something positive, they will find it attractive, without exactly knowing why, and will get another opportunity to create merit. So there may be no direct merit remaining but there is a positive mental association with a Buddha that can act as a supportive factor to create merit again in the future.

Then if people cannot keep merit, it sounds almost like mission impossible?
No, because we have dedicated our merit, and in doing that action we get our merit back multiplied by our sincerity factor when we dedicated it. That is one aspect.
The second aspect is that other beings benefit from the merit we dedicated to them.

Dedicated merit can grow very big!

Does it matter if one has taken Buddhist refuge?
Yes it does. And I thought about this for a while... I think it is like this: how can we possibly dedicate our merit to enlightenment if we have not taken refuge (and I don't mean the actual ceremony, but refuge in our mind with or without ceremony).

Another aspect of refuge and merits: the Buddhist refuge comes with vows. When these vows are kept, merit is created. Thus, every day of my life that I have kept my refuge vows solidly, I create merit, and should dedicate. A Buddhist should dedicate every day for the merit created this way.

Yet, as a refuge comes with vows, there is also the possibility of breaking the refuge vows. When one has broken his vows, one must apply the 4 redeeming powers. When vows are broken, it is no merit it is de-merit.

What is de-merit?
-absence of having created merit
-destruction of previously acquired merit

Breaking our vows also results in a reinforced habit and familiarity of breaking our vows.
Now this is the 2nd Noble Truth spinning at "turbo" speed.

PA, did you find answers in my post?





Positive Change

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2012, 02:23:39 PM »
Thank you HR,

I do see the importance of taking refuge, as it creates conditions to create more merit, and of course we want and NEED more merit!

Why do we want/need more merit?
- because we want to create karmic conditions for us to continue further on our spiritual path.

Why do we want to continue further?
- because we want to attain the cessation of suffering.

Why do we want to attain such?
- because it is the only way we can start to really help the other suffering beings.

What can bring about such a state of mind?
- merits!

Merit can bring us again and again into conditions that are conducive for us to take refuge lifetime after lifetime for as long as it is needed for us to gain enlightenment.

Q

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2012, 09:33:28 PM »
A high Lama once taught - merits come from following a Guru's instruction, NOT the action.

What do you understand from this?

What is the difference between doing a good deed :
(1) on our own initiative , and
(2)on the Guru's instruction ?

Will we collect merits from (1)?
Please give reasons for "Yes" and "No".

For some reason, this quote makes alot of sense to me... That merits come from our Guru's instruction, not the action itself. When our Guru gives us instructions, and we carry out the instructions perfectly.. it is without doubt that we gain merits from it.

I believe the reason why it is said 'not the action itself' is because sometimes the things we do are not entirely 'Dharmic' or at least we would view it that way. So, sometimes our Guru may give us weird instructions like 'buy a cupboard' or 'rearrange furnitures in the middle of the night'... though it may seem strange, but perhaps, the group of students there and then needed the merits generated from the Guru's instructions at that time... So the Guru compassionately give them a chance to collect these vast merit.

To answer the question if we collect merits through good deeds from our own initiative, I would say yes. The logic is that, or else all those that do not have a Guru (not everyone's fortunate to have one) will not be able to collect merits. However, if you want to compare 'how much merits...' That's I'm not sure... but I believe both option 1 and 2 is able to generate vast merits if either one is done with pure and good motivation.

hope rainbow

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2012, 10:33:09 AM »
To answer the question if we collect merits through good deeds from our own initiative, I would say yes.
The logic is that, or else all those that do not have a Guru (not everyone's fortunate to have one) will not be able to collect merits.

Dear Q, thank you for your post.
May I add this, from my understanding of merit:

-we cannot create (collect) merits from our own initiative if we do not rely upon a Buddha.

-we can create merits from our own initiative if we rely upon a Buddha.

-the absence of a [reliance upon a] Guru does not mean that one cannot rely upon a Buddha.

-thus we can create merits without having a Guru.

How? Simple, we already create merits when we chant mantras. the action of saying mantras is done on the basis of a reliance upon a Buddha.
Anyone can recite mantras, with or without a Guru.

However, if I give food to the hungry moved by humanitarian compassion I create good karma, NOT merits.
And if I do the same action following the instruction from my Guru, I create good karma AND merits.

 ;D

lotus1

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2012, 06:41:11 AM »
Thank you Hope Rainbow for your detailed explanation.
What I have learned:
1.   Good Karma – generated from good action.
2.   Merits
-   Merits come from following a Guru's instruction, NOT the action itself'  : what I understand is as long as we follow what’s the Guru’s instruction, even the instruction is not Dharmic, eg, wash the plate, but as long as we do it, we will collect merits.
-   Merits is generated from actions only when we rely upon a Buddha/Guru, meaning we need to take refuge to them first.   
-   Merits can be bring forward from lifetime after lifetime and can help us to gain enlightenment.
-   To gain enlightenment, we need both Wisdom and Merits. When we are enlightened, we would know the way & can help more people to be free from sufferings.

RedLantern

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2012, 12:21:26 AM »
Merits arises in following Guru's instruction as the guru is seen as a Buddda in Tibetan Buddhism.Without the teacher,it is asserted,there can be no experience or insight.In Tibetan text,great emphasis is placed upon praising the virtues of the guru.Blessed by the guru,whom the disciple regard as a Bodhisattva,the disciple shows great appreciation and devotion to the guru whose blessings is the last of the four foundations of
Vajrayana Buddhism.When we take refuge it create condition to gain more merits for our spiritual growth,thus
bu following the guru's instruction the disciple gain both merits and good karma.

biggyboy

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 01:16:59 AM »
Vast collection merits arises when we rely fully on a Spiritual Guide who is the root of one's spiritual path and the foundation of all spiritual attainments. Hence,

Namo Guru Beh
Namo Buddha Yah
Namo Dharma Yah
Namo Sangha Yah

By fully following on Guru's instructions where he is one as the Buddha for we seek enlightenment and aspire to be one. 

Our mind is a field;
Our Guru's instructions are the seeds that sow on this field;
Our faith in our Guru is the water that germinates the seeds.

Without all the above, spiritual understanding and attainments would not come easily nor we able to harvest the richness of it.  By putting Guru's instructions into practice is considered the supreme offering one can offer and to please the Guru. Verses 46 to 48 on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion explained clearly on this. (http://viewonbuddhism.org/resources/50_verses_guru_devotion.html)  It is not the prostrations nor the many gifts offered to the Guru will help us to gain much realizations as compared to following Guru's instructions with pure and deep faith.  Reliance on a Guru is a powerful way for us to accumulate merit, purify negative karma and to receive blessings which we needed very much.

brian

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2012, 06:13:55 AM »
To answer the question if we collect merits through good deeds from our own initiative, I would say yes.
The logic is that, or else all those that do not have a Guru (not everyone's fortunate to have one) will not be able to collect merits.

Dear Q, thank you for your post.
May I add this, from my understanding of merit:

-we cannot create (collect) merits from our own initiative if we do not rely upon a Buddha.

-we can create merits from our own initiative if we rely upon a Buddha.

-the absence of a [reliance upon a] Guru does not mean that one cannot rely upon a Buddha.

-thus we can create merits without having a Guru.

How? Simple, we already create merits when we chant mantras. the action of saying mantras is done on the basis of a reliance upon a Buddha.
Anyone can recite mantras, with or without a Guru.

However, if I give food to the hungry moved by humanitarian compassion I create good karma, NOT merits.
And if I do the same action following the instruction from my Guru, I create good karma AND merits.

 ;D

Thank you Hope Rainbow for the explanation and the example given. In Tibetan Buddhism, Guru is everything for a student to collect merit from even if the action is very minimal or you are serving the Guru in his labrang. That also means we generate merits by doing our daily prayers given to us by our Guru or a normal daily prayer in this case Migtsema.

My question will be, if this is the same for other sects of Buddhism schools like the Taiwanese Mahayanas to the Buddhism in Thailand/Myanmar countries? What merits do they collect or are they just creating good karma for themselves unknowingly? Anyone would know of this?


bambi

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 09:12:32 AM »
I believe, when we receive instructions from a Guru, there are definitely GOOD things that arise from it. And yes, merits do arise from us carrying out the instructions. I also believe that a Guru give instructions that will help us to attain or achieve something higher.

http://www.dharmadownload.net/pages/english/Natsok/0014_Leksheyling_teaching/leksheyling_teachings_0009.htm

If one doesn’t have a teacher and cannot rely upon his instructions, one wouldn’t know how to attain Buddhahood. Some teachers are very good, some aren’t that good. But if one has devotion, then I think one can receive the blessings. If one doesn’t have devotion, nothing will happen. If one is near the Gyalwa Karmapa 24 hours a day but has no devotion, then it’s useless. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter where one’s Guru is if one has devotion – the blessing is there. Gampopa was an eminent disciple of Milarepa and I think he only stayed 3 or 4 months in all with him, but he received every instruction on how to meditate from his Guru. So, if you have received instructions from your teacher and practice, it doesn’t matter if he is near or far. The main thing is däd-pa, “devotion.” If one has devotion, then one will receive the blessings; if not, one won’t. Great Siddhas never practiced without a teacher. Disciples who do not have a spiritual master first need to find one and then check if he is the right one for them. It’s too late for practitioners who already have a spiritual master to check whether he is right or not. In the Kagyü Lineage it is said: “Kagyü-mös-pa'i-bka'-babs.” Kagyü is special through great devotion, i.e., in our Lineage, the master blesses students who have great devotion.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 11:25:41 AM »
A high Lama once taught - merits come from following a Guru's instruction, NOT the action.

What do you understand from this?

What is the difference between doing a good deed :
(1) on our own initiative , and
(2)on the Guru's instruction ?

Will we collect merits from (1)?
Please give reasons for "Yes" and "No".


Answer is YES to both (1) and (2).

(1) Doing a good deed in itself collect merits, what more (2) on the Guru's instruction - that goes without saying.  Any instruction given by our Guru that is carried out will definitely allow us to collect merits.

Positive Change

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Re: Merits arise from following Guru's instructions.
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 02:45:43 PM »
To answer the question if we collect merits through good deeds from our own initiative, I would say yes.
The logic is that, or else all those that do not have a Guru (not everyone's fortunate to have one) will not be able to collect merits.

Dear Q, thank you for your post.
May I add this, from my understanding of merit:

-we cannot create (collect) merits from our own initiative if we do not rely upon a Buddha.

-we can create merits from our own initiative if we rely upon a Buddha.

-the absence of a [reliance upon a] Guru does not mean that one cannot rely upon a Buddha.

-thus we can create merits without having a Guru.

How? Simple, we already create merits when we chant mantras. the action of saying mantras is done on the basis of a reliance upon a Buddha.
Anyone can recite mantras, with or without a Guru.

However, if I give food to the hungry moved by humanitarian compassion I create good karma, NOT merits.
And if I do the same action following the instruction from my Guru, I create good karma AND merits.

 ;D

So Hope Rainbow... by this logic/truth, am I to assume that non Buddhist cannot create merits even though the actions were virtuous? And they only create good karma?

If this is true, am I also right to assume that enlightenment can only be achieved through Buddhist practice. Am not trying to imply that Buddhism is the ONLY path to "salvation" but given the circumstances, it seems to point in that direction.

If that is so, being in this opportune condition (human life) and to be able to practice the Dharma is remarkably "rare". And for those of us still doubting or unsure, the stark truth is right in front of us. We should really cherish what we have NOW.

Only the Buddhas know when this opportunity will ever arise if it will at all... scary thought yes but thought provoking and very logical.