Some people think there shouldn’t be any resolution when making merit, because it is as if one is greedy or one expects something in return. How to correct this misunderstanding?

Some people think there shouldn’t be any resolution when making merit, because it is as if one is greedy or one expects something in return. I don’t know how to correct this misunderstanding. https://dmc.tv/a3480

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Nov 30th, 2004 ] - [ read : 13886 ]

Question:
Venerable, some people think there shouldn’t be any resolution when making merit, because it is as if one is greedy or one expects something in return. I don’t know how to correct this misunderstanding.
 
Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku

 
I, myself have heard this when I was young and I believed what they said because they were older.

Until I came to the temple and especially until I met our Khun Yai Acharn who clearly explained to me that when people are going to build a house, the bigger the house the more they have to have a blue print that specifies the shape, the dimension, the number of bathrooms, bedrooms etc…This way there is less possibility of failure. It is more advantageous and economical.

To build a house one needs a plan, likewise when one makes merit. Why? Because when one makes merit, merit will arise. But when the merit gives result and if there is no plan, no direction then it might be dangerous for oneself. For example, one becomes wealthy as a result of the past generosity but because one didn’t set the goal about how one will spend one’s wealth, one might become heedless and uses one’s wealth in the wrong way such as gambling; wasting it unecessarily.As such it is called one knows how to accumulate merit but doesn’t know how to use it. One would use the merit to send one to hell instead. Be cautious!!.

When one makes merit and knows that one day one will be rich, one should set a goal so when it happens one would be able to use the wealth in the righteous way, for example: to improve one’s situation, to support Buddhism, one’s parents and so on…

Simply speaking, one uses the resolution to set a long-term plan to do further good deeds and uses the merit as a capital. When one has the capital and the plan, there is slight chance of failure. When one makes merit and makes resolution it is like one sets a future project and obviously, as the mind is meritorious, the project would be a good one. So please make resolution, don’t worry that it is going to be wrong.

But is there a wrong resolution? Let me tell you a story. There was a woman who every time made merit she repetitively made resolution that from the merit she made, let she be the most beautiful woman and any man who sets eyes on her must be stunted by her beauty. Unfortunately when merit gave result, she was very attractive and her beauty bewildered everyone. One day there were a group of soldiers who were in training for the war. Seeing her, they were also bewildered. As such, they were competing each other for her. The king then appointed her as a prostitute to gratify all of the men. This is a story of a wrong resolution, which is made under the power of defilements. When it gives result, it brings trouble instead.

But if you do it the right way like Maha Ubasika Visaka in the past life when she made merit, she resolved that in all future live, through the power of her generosity that great wealth rushed to her like the waves in the ocean and that she could use it to support monks in the whole kingdom and that she feeds everyone who practices meditation. And that she feeds hundreds, millions people and that she feeds all. This is a very good way to set a program. This is what she did and in her last life she was reborn as Maha Ubasika who provided the best support to monks and virtuous people during the Buddha’s time.

This is how important the resolution is. Therefore, the Lord Buddha said that the resolution is one of his ten perfections.  Because it helps him to pursue perfections or do good deeds concisely and without failure.

From now on resolve every time you make merit do it righteously. Don’t wish for handsomeness and wealth and lots of concubines. If you wish for good looks and good health and the marks of a perfect body and when men or women set eyes on you they are inspired to be ordained like you. Like this, it’s wonderful!.

I have another question Luang Phaw, why do we have to pour water when we make merit. I don’t know how this tradition originated? And if we forget to pour water what would happen?

The pouring water tradition takes place in the first period of the Buddha’s time. The Buddha taught the King Bimbisarn who contributed to the building of the first temple in Buddhism, to dedicate merit to his relatives in the past life. His late relatives were born as hungry ghosts (Preta) and were waiting for merit for as long as Buddha’s aeons.

But as the King Bimbisarn couldn’t recollect the past life, he didn’t know that his late relatives were reborn as hungry ghosts, and that they had been waiting for merit for Buddha’s aeons. When he made merit and as he didn’t dedicate merit to his late relatives, they continued to be hungry ghosts.

As his relatives were in agony, they made themselves visible to the king and moaned in the palace. Seeing that, the king rushed to consult the Buddha to find out what it was. The Lord Buddha told the story. In the past life, the king made merit and built a refectory to offer food to monks and the people. But his late relatives who didn’t have faith then embezzled the produce, destined to be offered to monks, for themselves.

After death, they were reborn as hungry ghosts.

And the Lord Buddha advised the king Bimbisarn to make merit by offering food to monks and after that pour the water to dedicate the merit to those hungry ghosts who once they received the merit became male and female angels immediately due to the power of the merit.

The question is, when one makes merit but doesn’t dedicate merit will one get merit. Yes, one will have the merit whether one pours the water or not.

 But what is so good about dedicating the merit? Well the good thing about the dedication of merit is, to whom the merit is dedicated, will get the merit and be happy like the king Bimbisarn’  late relatives. When the water is poured to dedicate merit, one would imagine that the stream of water is similar to the stream of merit.

But the question is, nowadays the economic situation is very tight and therefore it is not easy to make merit if it is dedicated to everyone. As such will the merit run out? I have to tell you that it doesn’t run out.

Lets listen to this comparison. For example: we have an orchid plant in a pot and it’s flowering and it pervades its perfume everywhere. If we keep it in our bedroom, we are the only one to admire its beauty and smell its perfume. Otherwise we keep it in the lounge room and invite our friends and relatives to come and see the beautiful orchids and smell its perfume. If 10 or 20 of them come and see the beautiful orchids and smell its perfume and all were very happy, will the orchids become less beautiful?

When we dedicate merit to whomever, our relatives…it is strange, our merit will not be reduced, on the contrary as soon as our relatives receive the merit they become joyful and forget their sorrow. As such, they will be able to think of goodness and remember the past merit they made.

Consequently, when the new merit meets the old one, they change their appearance from hungry ghosts to male and female angels.
As such, we can see that dedication of merit is something done by someone generous and compassionate. Our ancestors never missed the opportunity to dedicate merit whenever they made merit.  Anyhow it is a great merit why don’t we become generous and use a big bowl of water to pour and dedicate the merit. You should do the same every time you make merite. When you can’t find water, what you need to do is to still your mind, until it becomes clear and bright until you see the stream of merit then you can dedicate it directly to your relatives. It is similar to when you pass the candle glowing with light to other people to light their candles. This is a very good way. Lets perform it.

http://goo.gl/ngqxY


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