Author Topic: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?  (Read 10919 times)

hope rainbow

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We have discussed here lenghtfully about merits:
- what they are,
- how they are created,
- how they are destroyed
- and how they are safeguarded by a sincere dedication.

When merit is dedicated to all sentient beings, it comes back to us with the dynamic of karma.
karma = "what you want, give it to others and you will get it plentiful"

The question I wish to debate here is this one:

How do the sentient beings benefit from the merit that is dedicated to them
(even though they now nothing about it, nor do anything about it)?

Same question put differently:
How is it that the merit dedicated to a particular person actually benefits that person?

What is the logic behind that?

Carpenter

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 02:37:25 PM »
Hi Hope Rainbow,

I understand your doubt and queries, I would not be able to explain as I don't want to present wrongly about Dharma. I've searched on line about merits and found this below explanation:

Code: [Select]
The dedication of merit as it is taught in the Buddhadharma is one of the most vital and profound part of spiritual practice and a unique aspect of the Buddha’s teachings not found in other forms of spirituality. The reason why we are still suffering in samsara is that we have not gathered the accumulations of merit and wisdom. Although we have performed numerous positive deeds over many lifetimes but we have never dedicated this merit to the achievement of full enlightenment for all sentient beings. Thus when the positive karma ripens, it simply leads to some temporary positive states or happiness which will be used up in time and therefore when our merit finishes, we will lose that happiness and simply fall back into suffering.

By dedicating our merits to supreme awakening for all beings, even though we will experience positive results and well-being from that merit, but it will not be used up until the ultimate aim of your dedication, which is supreme enlightenment for all beings, is achieved. Thus, dedicating our merit is like adding a drop of water to an ocean, just as the ocean never dries up, that drop of water is never exhausted. The ocean is likened to the vastness of the purpose to which our merit (a drop of water) is directed to.


hope rainbow

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 04:28:36 AM »
Thank you CARPENTER for your efforts in researching on this topic.
I could actually extend my question (it is more a question than a doubt really) and ask:

How is it that the merit dedicated to a particular person actually benefits that person?
Even when that person has already passed away?
Even though they now nothing about it, nor did not do anything for it?


I do not have an academical answer to the question, but I have been thinking about it for a long time and I came to think that the replies lies in the way karma works.
I'll share it here for matter of debate, with the intention to arrive to a clearer and firmer understanding to assist my mind in periods of doubts.

Karma works as a dynamic relationship between consciences, it connects consciences, karma is therefore not something that is MINE, it is something that is OURS and of which I am part of with my own karmic dynamic of black-neutral-white karma (and merit) being part of a larger dynamic.
It is logical right, without the larger karma dynamic, my particular karma dynamic is irrelevant.

There are plenty of cases we can think of where we can help someone and that person does not know, nor did nothing for it and does not even know we exist, does not know we have helped, and we ourselves do not know the person neither.

Example:
- I see a policeman about to fine a car because the park-meter was not paid; I put a coin in the park-meter, the car does not get a fine and the owner of the car does not know anything about it, did nothing for it, and the only connection between us is THAT WE ARE CONNECTED, and that is enough already.

Debate?

Tammy

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 05:04:13 AM »
Good topic to be brought up, I am sure this is in the minds of many many people but they just do not bother to find out and understand more.

I am not a scholar, especially when it concerns theories of Buddhism.. but I would like to offer my humble view:

In Buddhism, we view a sentient being not only from the physical point of view, but more importantly, the mindstream that represents this person. Our very existence is based on our mindstream, which has been residing in countless physical bodies through the force of reincarnation. Hence when we do prayers and dedicate the merits to a particular person, whether this person is alive or had taken rebirth, we dedicate the merits to the particular mindstream which is in existence... where or in what form, doesn't matter.

I would like to know what everyone think of this..

Thank you.
Down with the BAN!!!

sonamdhargey

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 07:47:05 AM »
I believe that merits are pervasive and karma effects all sentient beings. If merits are dedicated sincerely definitely that being will benefit. All sentient beings will go through the life cycle of birth and death. What remained is the mind stream. It does not matter or not the dedication goes to waste if that particular being is already dead or not because the mind stream still remained. Dedicating merits won't go to waste and at the same time creating positive karma.

Positive Change

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 08:31:49 AM »
Interesting question... I have often wondered about this. However, your analogy below seems to put some clarity or understanding to it:

Quote
- I see a policeman about to fine a car because the park-meter was not paid; I put a coin in the park-meter, the car does not get a fine and the owner of the car does not know anything about it, did nothing for it, and the only connection between us is THAT WE ARE CONNECTED, and that is enough already.


I reckon we are too caught up with wanting a "result" when we give and we forget, that the "result" is IN the act of giving and NOT what it does for the person per se. Similarly, if one were to dedicate one's merits to another, it is, once again the act of "giving" or in this case, dedicating one's merits to another... sure it will benefit the other person, that is without question and whether or not the person gets the merits or benefits from it is irrelevant really!

Dont you think?

jessicajameson

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 08:34:21 AM »
How do the sentient beings benefit from the merit that is dedicated to them
(even though they now nothing about it, nor do anything about it)?

Same question put differently:
How is it that the merit dedicated to a particular person actually benefits that person?

This is my opinion:

It depends on various factors, but 3 of the them being:
1) Our karmic connection with the person.
2) Our samaya with our guru
3) Alternate effort by the other party

If we pray and dedicate the merits to those whom we have strong karmic connections with (e.g. mother, father, friend), there will be a portion of the merits that we have generated that can "go" to them.

If our samaya with our guru is strong and clean, then for us asking our protector for help TO help the other person, I think that our protector will help us to help them. I hope that makes sense.

If a person uses other means to have prayers done for them, the merits dedicated to them will go to them. E.g. They pay the monastery to do pujas and have the merits dedicated towards a specific thing (cure their sickness, help with their lawsuit etc). How can the merits be attributed towards them? They had to put effort into accumulating the money.

These are just my... 3 cents.

Klein

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 09:33:28 AM »
We have discussed here lenghtfully about merits:
- what they are,
- how they are created,
- how they are destroyed
- and how they are safeguarded by a sincere dedication.

When merit is dedicated to all sentient beings, it comes back to us with the dynamic of karma.
karma = "what you want, give it to others and you will get it plentiful"

The question I wish to debate here is this one:

How do the sentient beings benefit from the merit that is dedicated to them
(even though they now nothing about it, nor do anything about it)?

Same question put differently:
How is it that the merit dedicated to a particular person actually benefits that person?

What is the logic behind that?


The following is my understanding of merits.

Merits are like fuel to an engine. When there is enough fuel, the engine will run. Without fuel, the engine can't realise it's optimum efficiency.

We generate merits by doing something with a selfless motivation. Without some sort of a selfless motivation, the action alone will only generate positive karma. Merits can't be erased or expire. Karma can.

When we dedicate merits to another person who is not aware of it, some of the merits still go to the person. For example, I have heard of people who are very sick or in a coma. The family members did pujas for the sick person, and after a while, the person wakes up from the coma or becomes well again. My teacher said that the pujas are more effective if they are done or ordered by people who are related to the person to whom the merits are dedicated. This is because they have a strong affinity to be related to each other from their previous life.

Q

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 09:41:27 AM »
We have discussed here lenghtfully about merits:
- what they are,
- how they are created,
- how they are destroyed
- and how they are safeguarded by a sincere dedication.

When merit is dedicated to all sentient beings, it comes back to us with the dynamic of karma.
karma = "what you want, give it to others and you will get it plentiful"

The question I wish to debate here is this one:

How do the sentient beings benefit from the merit that is dedicated to them
(even though they now nothing about it, nor do anything about it)?

Same question put differently:
How is it that the merit dedicated to a particular person actually benefits that person?

What is the logic behind that?


Dedicating merits is not something we can see as in physical charity works or assistance. I believe it is somewhat like positive energy.. just like when we're around people with positive attitude, we feel energized, motivated etc... the same as dedicating merits that is generated through positive actions and good motivation. It helps, however, they do not get the full blessings of the merits.

How does this help them? I think we're all aware that meeting the Dharma takes a lot of merits and even more to come across a Lama of pure lineage. By dedicating merits to a perticular person, it will also aid him/her to cross with the Dharma and not reject it.

vajraD

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 03:57:45 PM »
Hmm… These my shallow thoughts…

Well in Buddhism we are always encouraged to dedicate merits to all sentient beings be it we know them or not. Since I can’t see if yes or not is being dedicated to those whom I love and care very much as there is no form or weight to it. My simple analogy is to just belief it does help.

I always like a saying “ What goes around comes around”

jeremyg

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 06:08:41 PM »
Does the act of giving bring the person closer to enlightenment, or do they still have to take actions themselves. I mean if everyone in the whole universe dedicated their merits to one person, what would happen to that person?

In addition, does the act of dedicating help us as a person by making us more giving, does it benefit ourselves as well, or does it only benefit the other person?

hope rainbow

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2012, 03:21:31 PM »
Does the act of giving bring the person closer to enlightenment, or do they still have to take actions themselves. I mean if everyone in the whole universe dedicated their merits to one person, what would happen to that person?

In addition, does the act of dedicating help us as a person by making us more giving, does it benefit ourselves as well, or does it only benefit the other person?

Jeremy,

1. beings that receive dedicated merits will benefit from that in this way: they will come across the Dharma and recognize its value.

2. they still have to walk the path, no merit can bring anyone any realisation, merit only brings about conditions conducive to walking the path.

3. decication benefits the person dedicating. How? well it does a few things, noticably:
a) it generates a mind of generosity
b) it is aligned with bodhicitta
c) it helps to let go of "grasping' at what we see to be ours
d) and it multiplies our merit (*)

(*) yes, indeed, the more sincere we are in our dedication, the more our merit is multiplied! So we end up getting more! Hehehe....
Sound contradictory? Hehehehe LOL! It is the total opposite of a contradiction. Merit must be given away, it's its nature in fact. Hehehe... sorry but I am laughing out loud here as I type this, it is exhilarating to realize that fact!

hope rainbow

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2012, 10:38:38 AM »
I tought I'd copy this post by Positive Attitude that I found on another topic, but that I think is relevant to this discussion.
This post was taken from:
http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=1741.0

I thought I'd revive this topic since there is an active recent topic now on the forum about how dedication can affect beings towards which it is directed and that know nothing about it.

This topic makes me think further about what merits are all about and how merit seem possible only upon the basis of "others", in the full sense "all sentient beings" (thus relying on a merit's field - see posts here above).

So it is in the nature of merit to be dedicated, for they are created on the basis of others, through the blessing of a Buddha mind that only has "others" as a purpose.

In the same logical thinking, the dedication becomes almost like a formality acknowledging the nature of merit as being based on pure, sincere virtuous actions towards others.

then, it is clear, dedicating to others MUST work, for if it does not work, then merit could not even be created in the first place... hehehehe....

Am I confusing myself or am I on to something here? ;)

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 07:22:49 AM »
The surest thing is that the dedicator will make merit. If the person being dedicated is living, knows about the action and rejoice, then the person will also receive merit. If its a dead person, chances of them receiving the merits become less and less over time . Dedications made within the 49 days , with strong love and compassion for deceased, is better than when they take rebirth after that. Naturally the karmic connection between deceased and those living is very important .If the living has not been treating the deceased well all the time, to express care an dlove after they died is not going to be very sincere or genuine.

Midakpa

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Re: When I dedicate my merit to someone else, how does this work?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2012, 02:02:31 AM »
I agree with the statements above that dedicating merits work because we are all interconnected. That is why holy beings like Lama Tsongkhapa encourage students to reduce self-cherishing and to increase the cherishing of others. The altruistic intention benefits all beings in the universe and makes it a more conducive place to live in. On the contrary, selfishness contributes to suffering for oneself and others.

Dedicating merits actually reduce our self-cherishing and this can be done whenever we have done something meritorious like performing a puja for long life, distributing food to the homeless, listening to a dharma talk, donating to a temple etc. Some masters can even tell you the percentage of merits a benefactor will receive depending on the relationship you have with them. This is very good for our knowledge but it is the reduction of self-cherishing and the cherishing of others that should be our goal. Keep dedicating your merits!