Research Scholar in Religious Department at Punjabi University
1. The Doctrine of Pure Mind
Appertained to the doctrine of Pure Mind, according to the (Sanskrit: धर्मपद or Dharmapada) in the 'Yamaka Vagga' Verse No: 1, the historical Buddha defines the "Mind" in this way: "Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If, with an 'impure mind' a person speaks or acts suffering follow him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox." Otherwise, "Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow." In 'Appamāda Vagga' verse No: 21, the Buddha defines the "Mind" thus: "Heedfulness is the path to the 'Deathless' . Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already."
Apparently, the mind is so important that the Buddha expresses in verse No: 21: "Clearly understanding this excellence of heedfulness, the wise exult therein and enjoy the resort of 'the Noble Ones' ." Nevertheless, as mentioned above, 'Mind' also plays a crucial part like this. Besides, to understand it more clearly , the Buddha expressed the 'Mind' in Dhammapada, the 'Citta Vagga' verse No: 33 states that; "Just as a Fletcher straightens an arrow shaft, even so the discerning man straightens his mind – so fickle and unsteady, so difficult to guard." This passage can develop our understanding of that at the level of everyday life though the Verse No: 35 states that "Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever if desires. A tamed mind brings happiness."
Thus, the state of 'Mind' is very significant; the Sanskrit term for 'Mind' is 'Mánas'. Therefore, 'Mind' (in its widest sense as applied to all the mental powers) means; intellect, intelligence, understanding, perception, sense, conscience, will, etc., (in philosophy, the internal organ or antaḥ-karaṇa of perception and cognition, the faculty or instrument through which thoughts enter or by which objects of sense affect the soul; in this sense Mánas is always regarded as distinct from ātman and purusha...) like which it is as 'spirit or soul' and belonging only to the body. More precisely, most of us have never really understood that we would all agree that a 'desire addict' is controlled by evil mind desires. Therefore, a 'desire sinner' is controlled by what they want to fight between good and evil mind. Mánas is said to be of two kinds, the "pure" and the "impure". That which is associated with the thought of desire is the impure, while that which is without desire is the pure. The pure mind is otherwise known by the name higher mind. The impure mind is called lower mind. In this regard, if the practitioners exercise their mind alone it is the cause of bondage or emancipation. That mind which is attracted by objects of sense tends to bondage, while that which is not attracted tends to emancipation. So it can be stated that those who want to be salvation the mind without a desire for sensual objects. If an aspirant after emancipation should therefore render his mind ever free from all longing after material objects.
From the discussions on the 'Mind' above, it appears to be important. For example, we wanted certain to buy some bread for breakfast, but we did not know where to go in the city to find it. But we have a definite idea in our mind of what and where we should be like, and as soon as we went out the first shop that our eyes saw the breads upon in the shelf. Perhaps throughout the whole city we could not have found another bakery, but our mind brought us straight to the object we desired. Moreover, 'Mind' can be likened to water. Even to look at a stream of pure water running in all its purity is the greatest joy one can have, and drinking the pure water with preceded by the mind. For another example; I, disciple so-called Buddhist practitioner have made a vow to seek rebirth in the Pure Land of the Western Pure Land and to gather a number of Dharma companions together in the same place that we might practice pure karma. I pray that will be compassionate and proffer instruction in the essentials of Buddha Dharma. So, the question appears; what does this come from? It comes from the purity of mind. Thus, it can be said that to be cultivated for the good purpose of going forth from the method of mindfulness of the Buddha with the intention of achieving rebirth in the Pure Land should be the most rapid and essential process. Although we know that there are many types of skilful means of the Buddha's teachings, this is the perfect, marvelous and suitable Dharma of us. So, if one achieves rebirth in the Pure Land, viz., the mind precedes us to the Pure Land, i.e., one should be happiness in everyday life or a present moment, and then one can attain a position of happiness in here and in the future on the Land of Bliss. Even the sinner desires can also attain in the Pure Land if they perform to repentance and practice.
In the Sūtra, it is stated that; "there are two types of heroes in this world: those who do not commit transgressions and those who, having done so, are capable of repentance." The word "repentance" here is very importance; it should spring from the depth of the mind. Because of, if you do not truly repent and change your ways, whatever you say is useless. For example, you have a sickness, you have to see a doctor, the doctor has given you a medicine but you have refusing to take medicine. How your sickness can be cured? If you take the medicine following the instructions for use of the doctor, then your disease will be cured certainly. In this regard, however, if your mind has a high aspirations, repentances and practice whenever your mind will be focused on the Buddha's recitation and concern rebirth in the Western Pure Land, then, your mind should be open-minded. It is only after being open-minded that it will outshine upon your evil mind and subsequently, your Bodhi Mind / Bodhicitta (S: बोधिचित्त, Ch: 菩 提 心) becomes the embodiment of single-mindedness. Finally, your Pure Mind becomes an inextricable part of the Pure Land. Therefore, if the practitioners would want to practice wholesome deeds to open their Bodhi Mind whenever their mind is pure, then the Pure Land is pure. So, we can say that the Pure Land is from here. Because of this, we can say that "in a moment of thought one can become a Buddha, and in a moment of thought one also become an overwhelmed in misfortune". It can also be said that "a foolish passing thought makes one an ordinary, while an enlightened second thought makes one a Buddha".
Furthermore, the "Mind" is a crucial part of other aspects such as philosophy of mind , consciousness, psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science in wide and deep. Thus, we can say that "Mind" is a mental activity which allows human beings to make sense of things in the world, or which refers to the global availability of information to processing systems relating in our brain and to represent and interpret them in ways that are significant, or which accord with their needs, attachments, goals, commitments, plans, ends, desires, etc.
However, "Mind" is so wide and deep in many categories like that. Here, we can say that, according to Buddhism, the opposite of 'evil Mind' is 'Bodhi Mind'; Bodhi Mind leads one to more devotional and holy, undamaged and happiness, etc., on the other hand, right now we looking around the world, according to the website http://www.humanrightsfirst.org we search and see that racist and xenophobic violence and sentiment are rising across the world. Therefore, migrants were often subject to xenophobic outbreaks of abuse and violence. It is a global problem that has been extensively documented in many countries now a days. Moreover, they have been subjected to attacks based on ethnicity or race with a view to drawing a distinction between immigrants, citizens, long-time residents and newcomers, etc. On the other hand, they try to carry on activities of wars such as; border war, tribal war, war of nerves, political warfare ...That is why our world have no even one day to rest in peace. Opposed to these activities, there are some questions which come to the fore: why the war is coming around the world? What did they do that for? What purpose they want? What for benefits? Who can get the benefits? Which place or position in safety? Where do they live? How much benefits they can get? How long they can alive? And why they still racial discrimination? Why do they hate? Why they come to kill? How come they do not want observe others life? How come they believe in life after death? How come they believe deeply the Law of cause and effect?
In this context, we can say that, according to Buddhism, the heavy evil mind of sentient beings filled with greed, anger, ignorance, pride or suspicion, etc., remain entrenched in mind so deeply in many eons. That is why in the book "Dialogs with Ancient Masters" by Patriach Chih I and Master T'ien Ju, the "Demons of the Mind" originating from the Mind was billed as the internal realms. Furthermore, internal realms are called "realms of the self-Mind". Due to that, it is said that all things develop from the Mind. Then, it is conclusively stated that "ten thousand dharmas are created by the Mind". Thus, the intellectual one should be rectifying mind and thought, whenever wipe out delusion and then pure-Mind is arising. If they are not practiced in good deeds and benefits for others, keep their mind calm and pure, viz., they will be more suffering follow them like "wheel that follows the foot of the ox." Thus, we can say that it is each individual that makes a difference. Therefore, please run your life, do not ruin it or each individual can makes a difference benefits for own-self and others, so please run benefits for others. However, you should always realize that worthwhile activities are "a boat of compassion" to rescue you from an ocean suffering. Thus, your compassion opened, and then your Bodhi Mind will open. In Buddhism, relating to Bodhi Mind or Bodhicitta is the wish to attain complete enlightenment and in order to be benefit to all sentient beings. Furthermore, according to Gampopa says that; after cultivating Bodhicitta, there are two types of training: (1) training in aspiration Bodhicitta, and (2) in action Bodhicitta. Thus, following the summary of training in aspiration Bodhicitta, Gampopa stated that:
"Not forsaking sentient beings from one's heart,
Recollecting the beneficial effects of that mind,
Gathering the two accumulations,
Practicing the enlightened mind repeatedly, and
Accepting the four virtues and rejecting the four non-virtues
These five comprise the training in aspiration bodhicitta.
The first one is the method for not losing bodhicitta. The second one is the method by which bodhicitta does not weaken. The third one is the method for increasing the strength of bodhicitta. The fourth one is the method for deepening bodhicitta. The fifth one is the method for not forgetting bodhicitta.' And the summary of training in the action of Bodhicitta has been stated thus: "Action of bodhicitta has three types of trainings: the training in superior morality, the training in superior thought, and the training in superior wisdom awareness. The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment says:
If one maintains the vow of action bodhicitta
And trains well in the three types of moral ethics
Devotion for the three moral trainings will increase.
Generosity, moral ethics, and patience are the trainings in superior morality. Meditative concentration is the training in superior thought. Discriminating wisdom awareness is the training in superior wisdom. Perseverance is the support for all three."
Thus, as mentioned above, we should first practice compassion, viz., whenever we practice compassion and Vows, after that "Bodhi Mind" is opened. As per the "Practices and Vows" of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra (Sanskrit: समन्तभद्र; Chinese: 普 賢 菩 薩), we can understand this as the following passage: "Because of living beings, they bring forth great compassion. From great compassion the Bodhi Mind is born; and because of the Bodhi Mind, they accomplish Supreme, Perfect Enlightenment." The activities of the Buddha have been described in the book of "The Jewel Ornament of Liberation" in this way: "First, cultivating the mind of enlightenment, then, in the middle, practicing the teachings and the path, and eventually, at the end, attaining the result of Buddhahood all these are done for the sole purpose of dispelling suffering and establishing the happiness of all sentient beings. When one attains Buddhahood, there are no conceptual thoughts or efforts. Without conceptual thoughts or efforts, the Buddhas manifest benefit for sentient beings spontaneously and unceasingly".
How this occurs has been explained in a nutshell in the following way:
"The body benefits sentient beings without conceptual thoughts,
Likewise the speech and mind also benefit sentient beings without conceptual thoughts.
These three comprise the activities of a Buddha.
Benefitting sentient beings without conceptual thought by body, speech, or mind is explained with examples from the Unsurpassed Tantra:
Like Indra , the drum, clouds, Brahma,
The sun, a wish-fulfilling gem, space,
And earth is the Tathāgata."
Furthermore, the activities of the "Mind" that the Buddha possesses are equated with "a cloud" and explained in this way: "This is a simile for how the wisdom mind benefits sentient beings without conceptual thought. For example, in the summer, clouds gather in the sky without effort, causing crops and so forth to grow perfectly through the rain falling on the ground without conceptual thought. It is said:
"The rainy season's clouds continually and effortlessly
Downpour vast amounts of water onto the earth
And are the causes for good and bountiful crops.
Likewise, the activities of the wisdom mind ripen the trainees' crop of virtue through the rainfall of the Dharma without conceptual thought. It is said:
Likewise clouds of compassion, without any conceptualization,
Rain down the waters of the Victor's noble teaching
And cause the harvests of virtue for sentient beings.
This is the wisdom mind benefitting sentient beings without conceptual thought."
As it has been mentioned earlier, the Mind-nature of sentient beings is similar though it is intrinsically identical to that of the Buddhas [it is clouded]. Therefore, however if sentient beings would want to be pure mind, first they should be mend their mind, from evil mind to wholesome and from worldly dusts to enlightened one. Therefore, according to the Pure Land doctrines and sublime methods enabled the practitioners to turn back from worldly dusts, evil mind to be enlightened one or the source of Mind.
2. The Doctrine of Self Power and Other Power
According to the Theravāda, the earliest Buddhist teachings are from the Pāli Suttas, the only teachings directly attributed to the historical Buddha by conventional historians. These teachings date from about 400-500BC, generally advocates "Self-Power' as the path to liberation, advocating that we are responsible for purifying our own minds to bring about our own liberation, and primarily emphasis on "Self-Power" only. This is particularly evident in the Theravāda teachings.
On the other hand, the Mahāyāna Buddhism starts to support vigorously the radiance of the mind with the building of stūpa, physical representations of the enlightened mind of the Buddha, the possibility of the "Other-power" of the mind in the form of underlying radiance. But, according to the Theravāda teachings is objectify these ideal doctrines. Therefore, the forms of Mahāyāna Buddhism display more "Other-Power" tendencies, to identifying that someone beyond our control who has the power to help us to purify our minds. Thus, with the origin and development of Mahāyāna Buddhism around 200CE, the non-historical celestial Buddhas such as Amitābha Buddha start to be envisaged, who embody various aspects of the enlightened mind. In addition, the devotional practices of reliance on the liberating "Other-power" of such Buddhas and Bodhisattvas start to be developed in Mahāyāna Buddhism system.
As we mentioned on the above, we had known that after the Mahāparinirvāṇa (大 涅 槃) of historical Buddha, according to the scriptures of all Buddhist schools, the first Buddhist Council was held soon dated by the majority of recent scholars around 400 BCE under the patronage of king Ajātaśatru, the king of Magadha, was the son of King Bimbisāra and Queen Vaidehi and Mahākāśyapa was the presiding. Therefore, according to the doctrinal Pure Land School is known as the Other-Power school which main introduction to the three main texts of the Pure Land. In this connection, according to the book of "The Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism" given the stated as; "The Tathāgata Śākyamuni, Illuminator of the Dharma, preached the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra on 'Gṛdhrakūta' in Rājagṛha; he preached the Kuan-ching in the palace of King Bimbisāra in Rājagṛha; and he preached the Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra at the Jetavana monastery in Śrāvastī. In each case, there was someone to whom the words were directed as well as someone to whom the Sūtra was entrusted.
'After the Tathāgata's demise, Mahākāśyapa and five hundred arhats codified the Hīnayāna tripiṭaka at the council in 'Pippala cave' . Mañjuśrī, Maitreya, Ānanda and others codified the Mahāyāna tripiṭaka on 'Cakravāḍaparvata Mountain' . Each [disciple] spread [the Dharma] throughout [the continent of] Jambudvīpa, bringing benefits to sentient beings. The three Sūtras of the Pure [Land] teaching were [also] codified and disseminated in the world by Maitreya, Mañjuśrī, and Ānanda." Therefore, in this connection, we see that to explain the origins and evidence for the Pure Land Buddhism there are three main texts such as the Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra, the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra and another is the Amitāyur-Dhyāna Sūtra was the tradition in generally handed down to the Pure Land in spirit from this life time to future generations. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, the Pure Land Buddhism virtually as a point to represented the multiple capacity where there was a Buddha, the resplendent symbol of wisdom, compassion and Nirvāṇa, etc, so that the practitioners possible spent their spirit to prayer, ritual, offerings and recitation by all the demanding veneration through the figure of Amitābha Buddha in order to purify and awakened their mind, and to attain enlightenment one. Because of, following the Pure Land path, we can say that the same as the virtue is its own reward. Therefore, it could be to imply that there are two possible of this interpretation of "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" for the practitioners in its own. In addition, for the writer opinion and comprehension can say that these two illuminations of "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" could be reflect each other in order to let practitioners to attaining birth in the Pure Land.
In Mahāyāna tradition, the concepts of "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" should be altogether to be a union in order to get the result of this way has been very fruitful for both theory and practice. Therefore, Mahāyāna Buddhism in general and Pure Land tradition in particular, the way to get purify one mind and attaining birth in the Pure Land, includes not only the conception of "Self-Power", but also the conception of an "Other-Power", the compassionate power radiating from the heart of Amitābha Buddha, the glorified Buddha of the Great wisdom, compassion and Nirvāṇa in Mahāyāna, literally the "Great Vehicle". If the method of combining "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" should be practiced in the union of Buddha's Name recitation Samādhi, easily leads one to the attainment of a concentrated mind and the attaining birth and enlightenment in the Pure Land.
As we mentioned on the above, we have known that, the methods of "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" were both originally taught by historical Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. According to the teaching of the Buddha, every living being has a Buddha nature (Buddhahood). Therefore, the practitioners, how to realize that Buddha nature and to become enlightened? According to the teachings of the Buddha, the potential of every human being to realize that Buddha nature and become enlightened. But it was not easy. If one to reach that state is a tremendously difficult task, and should be dauntless courage and unflinching will power. We can say that "Self-Power" was like 'riding a donkey a road to get to a destination'. Thus, very few people are capable of reaching spiritual and enlightenment by themselves. Therefore, the majority of people it is necessary to rely upon the help of others, the doctrine of "Other-Power".
From the above, in order to understand clearly, according to D. T. Suzuki has given instances of "Self-Power" and "Other-Power" such as; first, relating to the concept of "Other-Power" he given the illustrated by the behavior of cats stated that "When the mother cat carries her kittens, she grasps the neck of each kitten with her mouth and carries it from one place to another. That is 'monadism' because the kittens just let their mother carry them." And in contrast to "Other-Power" stated that "Monkeys carry their offspring on their backs. This means that the baby monkeys grasp their mother's body with their limbs or tails, so the mother is not doing all the work by herself. The baby monkeys do their share. This is the way of 'synergism' , in contrast to the way of monadism illustrated by the behavior of cats." Therefore, the doctrine of "Other-Power" is for the majority of people it is necessary to rely upon the help of others. It should be as if a boat were wrecked while floating down a river. If those who are good in swimmers they would be able to save themselves, but what are they to do who cannot swim as well! In order to alive, they must call for help and rely upon a better swimmer to bring them to the safety of the riverbank. In other words, they should rely upon someone else to save them. Similarly, while we all have the potential to become a Buddhas, very few can accomplish the Buddhahood through their own unaided striving. Most must rely upon the help of others to reach the safe shore of enlightenment. Thus, according to the Pure Land teachings, to assured our liberation and freedom by the power compassion of Amitābha Buddha and Vows, D. T. Suzuki stated that; "We don't add anything to Amida's working. This doctrine of Other-Power, or monadism, is based on the idea that humans are relative beings, and as long as we are so constituted there is nothing in us which enables us to cross the stream of birth and death. Amida comes from the Other Shore, carries us on the ship of the Primal Vow, and delivers us on to the Other Shore."
On the above, we understand clearly that the most apparent differences between "Self-Power" and "Other-Power", i.e., Zen versus Pure. In order to representatives of the devotional Pure Land and demonstrated as well as systematized of the Pure Land teaching. Shan-Tao stated that; "Buddha Amitābha, through his forty-eight vows, takes in sentient beings who by harboring no doubt and worry and relying on the saving power of the Buddha's vows, are certainly to attain birth [in the Pure Land]." Furthermore, on the other hand, regarding to the attainment of birth in the Pure Land, Hui-Neng stated that; "The deluded person concentrates on Buddha and wishes to be born in the other land; the awakened person makes his own mind...If only the mind has no impurity, the Western Land is not far. If the mind gives rise to impurity, even though you invoke the Buddha and seek to be born [in the West], it will be difficult to reach...If you awaken to the sudden Dharma of birthlessness, you will see the Western Land in an instant. If you do not awaken to the Sudden Teaching of Mahāyāna, even if you concentrate on the Buddha and seek to be born, the road will be long. How can you hope to reach it?" As mentioned on the above, we understand that the "Path of Pure Land" based on the "Other-Power" from the grace of Amitābha Buddha. Because of we can never be sure of the fact that we are born in the Pure Land and have attained our enlightenment. By our put more time and efforts, Amitābha Buddha may be standing and beckoning or extending the arms of help to us to welcome us to "Other Shore". And the "Path of the sages" based on good work and religious exercises such as meditation, ascetic disciplines and generally any attempt to realize enlightenment by one's efforts.
For comments and questions above the notion of "Other-Power", the questions should be arise such as; what does "Other-Power" really mean? What extent can one relies on it? Is there absolute "Other-Power"? Is the working of "Other-Power" possible without some sort of response from "Self-Power", etc? In order to clearly it, Patriarch Chih-I defining the meaning of "Other-Power" in the Ten Question Concerning the Pure Land (Ching-t'u-shih-yi-lun) stated that; "Other-power means that if one believes that the power of the compassionate vow of Buddha Amitābha takes to himself all sentient beings who are mindful of him, then one is enabled to generate the mind of Bodhi, practice nien-fo Samādhi (समाधि), detest the body which is within the three words, and practices, [the merit is] transferred [to others], and if one vows to be born in the Pure Land of Amitābha by relying on the power of the Buddha's vow, one's nature and the Buddha's response will be in mutual accord, and one will be born [in the Pure Land]." That is definition of "Other-Power' obviously which other practices. Therefore, the "Other-Power" should accompany with "Self-Power". Thus, if one never made the effort involved in calculation and thought that good practice would somehow just happen to you, you would be sure to be disappointed. Because, the Buddha helps us when we realize our "Self-Power" is of no account.
Furthermore, according to the orthodox Pure Land masters, patriarch T'an-Luan (曇鸞) defined the "Other-Power" and "Self-Power" stated that; "I regard 'other-power' as the helping condition. How could it be otherwise? Now, I shall set forth again a metaphor of self-power and other-power.
'[Self-Power] is like a person who, because he is afraid of the three evil gates, keeps the precepts; because he keeps them, he is able to practice samādhi; because of samādhi, he is able to exercise supernatural power; because of the supernatural power, he is able to traverse the four corners of the world.
'Again, the [other-power is] like an inferior person, who cannot even mount on a donkey [with his own strength]; yet if he accompanies the flight of the cakravartin (Universal King), he can then traverse the four corners of the world without hindrance." On the above, T'an-Luan illustrated and called "Other-Power a "helping condition" in the sense that "Other-Power" was not the exclusive condition. It means that as the power of the "cakravartin" is of no avail if the person has no desire for travel. In addition, according to the Pure Land tradition to assurance one born in the Pure Land requires the three essential conditions for rebirth in the Pure Land, as long as "Self-Power" correspond with "Other-Power" in sort of. As all mentioned on the above, we can say that some people misunderstand when they think "Other Power", is a power that somehow comes in from the outside. Actually, "Other-Power" and "Self-Power" is all of existence in interdependence. Furthermore, In addition, according to Hōnen (法然), Japanese Pure Land explained that there are four meanings of the "Other-Power" such as:
1) "Self power" and "Other power": can be used in order to explain the Gateway of the Holy Path and the Gateway of the Pure Land. The former being the path for holy people who practice strictly during their lifetime and attain enlightenment before dying, the latter being the path of ordinary human beings striving for salvation after death. What is operative in the terms Holy Path and Pure Land Path is thus the realm where people attain salvation. The Holy Path is the path of the few who attain it in this life and on their own. The Pure Land Path is the path of the many those who need the help of Amida Buddha to attain it after death.
2) "Other power": can also explain the Power of Amida Buddha's Original Vows. In order to illustrate the notion of "Other-Power", Honen used the metaphor of a boat which can bear a heavy boulder to a distant shore. He explained that we can reach the other shore after life, if we rely on Amida Buddha through the nembutsu, just as the boulder rests in the hold of the strong boat.
3) "Self-Power" and "Other-Power": can also refer to the difference in attitude among practitioners. "Other-Power" refers to the action of the mind which believes that it will receive Amida Buddha's salvation. There are two possible hazards to this interpretation of "Self power" and "Other-power". On one hand, the person who relies too much on their own personal strength fails to be open to Amida Buddha's help, and on the other hand, the person who completely despairs of their own capacity fails to help him or herself. According to Honen, it is the person who believes in their own strength and who also puts their whole heart into their religious practices that will receive the help of Amida Buddha. As for "Other-Power", he explained that it consisted in the earnest asking of Amida Buddha's help.
4) "Self-Power" and "Other-Power": can also be understood as two types of the nembutsu. "Self-Power" refers to the utmost personal concentration put into the recitation of the nembutsu, while "Other-Power" refers to the earnestness with which Amida Buddha's help is being asked. According to Honen, one is mistaken to believe that it is the number of times the nembutsu is recited that counts for salvation. He insisted that, even with a small number of recitations, it is the strength of one's conviction in reciting the nembutsu which is called "Self-Power". Even with a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand or even a million recitations, it is not the impressive number but the earnestness with which one supplicates Amida Buddha for help which is called "Other-Power".
As we mentioned on the above, however, the philosophy of the "Other-Power" provides the central conception of the Pure Land Buddhism, a devotional form of Buddhism which flourished in South East Asia such as China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and now spread to Western people.
3. The Doctrine of Transfer of Merit (Pattidāna):
The first of all, in Buddhism, the concept of "Merit" should be understanding; "Merit" [Sanskrit: Puṇya, Pāli: Puñña (福 德 or 功 德)] which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts or thoughts and that may carry over in this life time, or to a person in the next life time. Therefore, in common parlance, in order to liberation a practitioner should growth up their "Merit" on the ways. Further, the doctrine of transfer of "Merit" should understand that a Buddhist practitioner should practice follow Buddhist spiritual Paths (Pure Land Path) which practitioner gained accumulation of "Merit" to transfer to relative love or others [in Buddhism: for the benefit for all sentient beings are the main]. Thus, "transfer of Merit" rendered as "Pariṇāmanā" which may be rendered in English as "merit transference" though in common parlance it is rendered as "dedication".
In Buddhism, the category of "Merit or Virtue" is also important to note that which tend to the cause of good karma. From the Buddhists point of view, as long as in order to attained understand the stage of "Merit" we should return on the definition of "Puṇya" [福 德 or 功 德; (Japanese kudoku or fukutoku)] in dictionary such as; "Virtue, benefit, good fortune, blessing, meritorious act, good, or right. Puṇya is a component of a number of Buddhist terms. For example, the Sanskrit word puṇya-kshetra wa rendered in China as "field of good fortune" or "field of blessing." The seventeenth chapter of Kumārajīva's translation of the Puṇya-paryāya means arrangement, disposition, or distinction. The Sanskrit title of the "Benefits of Responding with Joy" (eighteenth) chapter of the same work is Anumodanā-puṇya-nirdesha. Anumodanā means joyful acceptance and nirdesha indicates a description of benefits accruing from joyful acceptance. One of the eighteen heavens in the world of form is called Puṇya-prasava, which means increase of merit."
Further, In fact, in this study seems to guide as planned as part of a two-part of "Merit or Virtue (福德 or 功德)" study guide covering the Buddhist easy of approach to the pursuit of happiness, etc, therefore, the meaning of "benefit" for "happiness" should understand such stated as;
"Also, merit, virtue, or blessing. In Buddhism, (1) meritorious acts or Buddhist practice that produce beneficial reward in this or future existences; and (2) benefit gained as a result of such good deeds or Buddhist practice. The Buddhist view of the law of causality holds that benefits accompany meritorious deeds. Deeds recognized as bringing about benefits differ among Buddhist schools. In general, however, religious deeds such as building monasteries or temples, erecting stupas, making images of the Buddha, transcribing Sūtras, and the practice of prayer have been considered throughout the history of Buddhism as major sources of benefit.
'The "Expedient Means (second) chapter of the Lotus Sūtra reads, "If there are those who hear the Law, then not a one will fail to attain Buddhahood." The "Perceiver of the World's Sounds" (twenty-fifth) chapter of the sutra describes the beneficent power possessed by the bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds to save the practitioners or the Lotus Sutra from all kinds of crises. The Immeasurable Meanings Sūtra explains ten inconceivable benefits, the fourth of which, for instance, it describes as follows: "If living beings are able to hear this sutra, though they hear only one recitation, one verse, or just one line, they will be filled with brave and stalwart thoughts. Though they have not yet saved themselves, they will be able to save others." The sutras described the various meritorious deeds and practices Śākyamuni carried out in his past existences and the benefits he consequently enjoyed in his life in India....
'Benefiting oneself and benefiting others" [自 利 利 他. 自 益 益 他. 自 利 利 人. 自 行 化 他...]: Also, practice for oneself and practice for others. An ideal of the Mahāyāna Bodhisattvas: Bodhisattvas are those who seek enlightenment for themselves and at same time strive to instruct others, leading them to enlightenment. "Benefiting oneself" means to devotee oneself to the Buddhist way and thereby accomplish personal growth and gain. Ultimately, it means to strive to attain enlightenment to others. These two kinds of practice are mutually supportive. That is, practice for self-benefit leads to benefiting others, while practice for benefiting others leads to self-development and self-benefit.
'Benefits of Responding with Joy" chapter [随 善 功 德 品]: Abbreviated as the "Responding with Joy" chapter. The eighteenth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, which describes the benefits of rejoicing upon hearing Śākyamuni Buddha, reveals his original attainment of enlightenment in the "Life Span" (sixteenth) chapter. The "Distinctions in Benefits" (seventeenth) chapter deals with the four stages of faith and the five stages of practice. The "Responding with Joy" chapter further explains the first of the five stages of practice, i.e., rejoicing on hearing the Lotus Sūtra. This chapter begins with Bodhisattva Maitreya's question to Śākyamuni Buddha: "After the World-Honored One has passed into extinction, if those who hear this sutra are able to respond with joy, what amount of blessings will they acquire?" To reply, the Buddha relates the principle of continual propagation to the fiftieth person. Suppose, he says, a person responds with joy upon hearing the Lotus Sūtra after Śākyamuni's death and preaches it to a second person, who in turn preaches it to a third, and so on, until a fiftieth person hears the Sūtra. Śākyamuni explains that the benefit this fiftieth person receives by rejoicing upon hearing the sutra is immeasurable; all the more so is that obtained by the first to hear it.
'Benefits of the Teacher of the Law" chapter [法 師 功 德 品]: The nineteenth chapter of the Lotus Sūtra. In this chapter, Śākyamuni Buddha addresses Bodhisattva Constant Exertion. It begins with Śākyamuni's statement that, by carrying out the five practices of embracing, reading, reciting, expounding, and transcribing the Lotus Sūtra, one can purify one's six sense organs---the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The chapter then elaborates on the benefits and the Law" in the chapter title indicates one who practices the Lotus Sūtra oneself and preaches it to other."
On the other hand, the capacity to cultivate and transfer merit is in fact what distinguished between the ideal teaching of Great Vehicle (Mahāyāna / 大 乘 佛 教) and the Teaching of the Elders (Theravāda / 小 乘 佛 教) , according to Damien Keown defined the meaning of "Puṇya" stated that; "Term meaning 'merit', meritorious action', or 'virtue'. Sometimes also used to refer to the results or potential results of good *karma (善 業) such as a heavenly *rebirth and a future blissful existence, the enjoyment and duration of which depends of the amount of merit accumulated in a previous life. *Pāli sources mention three factors known as puñña-kiriya-vathūni (grounds of meritorious action) which produce merit: these are *dāna (generosity), Sīla (Skt., *sīla, good conduct), and *bhāvanā (contemplation)."
See also Puṇya-Jñāna-Saṃbhāra such as "The accumulation of merit and awareness. According to *Mahāyāna teachings, a being needs to accumulate sufficient stores of merit and awareness to progress along the path. Merit (*puṇya) is necessary to overcome defilements (*kleśa), and knowledge or awareness (*jñāna) to overcome ignorance (*avidyā). According to some interpretations of the Mahāyāna doctrine of the *Buddha's three bodies (*trikāya: 三 身), it is merit that result in the *nirmāna-kāya [應 身] and *saṃbhoga-kāya [報 身] of a Buddha, while awareness results in the *dharma-kāya [法 身].
'Puṇya-kṣetra (P: Puññ-khetta): A 'field of merit', being an individual or group that is a particularly worthy recipient of a gift. After a *Buddha, the greatest field of merit is said to be the monastic order (Saṃgha or 僧 伽), and gifts or donations made to monks, for example by providing food or offering cloth for *robes (see KAṬHINA), are believed to produce greater merit (*puṇya) than gifts to other recipients. "
As we mentioned all on the above that, we should understand clearly that the concept of the "transference of merit" is considered to the concept of Bodhisattva. Because of, according to the idea of Mahāyāna Buddhism, when the Bodhisattva (菩 薩) has fully realized the truth of conditions or Dependent arising [paratītyasamutpāda (緣 起)] and impermanent [anitya or anicca (無 常)] that the benefits of the Bodhisattva's deeds to gained full of fortunate results and cultivate results of deeds are bringing to benefit for all Sentient Beings. Therefore, the concept of the Bodhisattva to benefits for others is as "arise boundlessly (avaivartika)" and completely. In addition, the concept of Bodhisattva's compassion and Vows to benefit for all beings free from sufferings, viz., because of, whenever the suffering of others arising is the same as Bodhisattva's own suffering. Therefore, the concept of "Merit" is the key of the activities and characteristic of Bodhisattva to dedication or transference of "Merit" to help sentient beings. In this connection, according to the Pure Land doctrine, the figure of the Bodhisattva Dharmākara in the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha manifested/represented the central of philosophical doctrine of the Bodhisattva's acts to transfer "Merit" to others. Thus, according in the "letters from patriarch Yin Kuang" stated that; "Central to the Pure land tradition is the figure of the Bodhisattva Dharmākara, the future Amitābha Buddha, who came to exemplify the Bodhisattva ideal and the doctrine of dedication of merit. This merit transference is the source of the vow-power, or other-power, in Pure Land Buddhism. Further, in this addition, we can say that the holy name of Amitābha Buddha is so powerful beyond our thoughts and words, because the name of Amitābha Buddha is filled with the power of meritorious virtue comes from his countless period of time to practice and cultivating the great compassion, vows and actions. In this connection, the purpose of the Pure Land practice in the Mahāyāna Bodhisattva path (大 乘 菩 薩 道), it is interesting to note that the seeking rebirth in the Pure Land in order to help other sentient beings is the best way to fulfill the Mahāyāna ideal of benefitting own self and others. Even if one knowing this to be the case, therefore, the efficacy of human deeds and vested Amitābha's "Other-Power" which to help all sentient beings escape from the ocean sufferings, viz., all forms of the Pure Land teaching seen similar to the figure of the doctrine of transference of Merit (Puṇyapariṇāmanā).
On the other hand, "Puṇyapariṇāmanā" is the most important feature in Mahāyāna, where it denotes all what might perhaps best be termed the dedication of good (puṇya, śubha, kuśala[mula]) by an exercitation in hopes possible of the attainment by "Other-Power" to reduce related person such as a diseased person or a deceased parent, relative love or teacher, etc., therefore, the transference or dedication of merit appears, to release their suffering from the sickness person or death person in order to help them in wakefulness or awareness, because of the "death-proximate karma" or retribution of deeds (karmavipāka) of a person is almost important in Buddhism. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, Merit can be gained in a number of ways; these ideas refer in a point of fact in the Sūtras such as the "Sūtra of the Medicine Buddha" (藥 師 佛 經 or 藥 師 琉 璃 光 如 來 本 願 功 德 經 or 南 無 消 災 延 壽 藥 師 佛), the "Sūtra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva" (地 藏 經 or 南 無 地 藏 王 菩 萨), etc.
As we mentioned above, the Medicine Buddha (Bhaiṣajyaguruvaidūryaprabharāja) to the Eastern paradise (東 方), the Medicine Buddha's "color of lapis lazuli" radiance holy body signifies omniscient wisdom and compassion as vast as limitless space and is particularly associated with healing both mental and physical suffering. In addition, even in the sutra contains a passage described the steps taken by the Medicine Buddha to helps all monks, nuns, upasakas, upasikas, laymen and laywomen who seek rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitābha Buddha, the Sukhāvatī in the West. Making a connection with him, practicing meditation, reciting his mantra or even just saying his name helps us achieve our potential for ultimate healing. Therefore, according to the "Twelve Sublime Vows" of the Medicine Buddha, watches overall all living beings in current lifetimes protecting them, strengthening their health, and preventing them from suffering untimely death. Means, the Medicine Buddha will able granting them in peace, happiness, freedom from disease and other calamities in especially. According to the Vows of the Medicine Buddha, in the Sūtra teaches that if someone extremely sick-so sick that they are in agony and are surrounded by their family and their friends and the family also is agonized by the sickness of the person, appears to be dying, their perception in more vague, etc., if even at that time there is intense supplication to the Name of Medicine Buddha or the Mantra of the Medicine Buddha by the owner sickness or their family, then through the blessing of the Medicine Buddha that sickness person may be revived or perceive a good fruits karma for the future next lives. Because such benefits as these are possible, therefore in the Sutra stated that: "Manjussri, after the Medicine Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment, he realized, by virtue of his past vows, that sentient beings endured various ailments, such as emaciation, crippling disabilities, fever, dysentery, jaundice, etc. Some were the targets of black magic or various poisons, while others suffered short lives or untimely death. At that time, seeking to put an end to these miseries and fulfill the desires of sentient beings, he entered a Samādhi called 'Eliminating All the Suffering and Afflictions of Sentient Beings'.
"Once he entered that Samādhi, a brilliant light shone forth from his urea as he uttered a great Dhāraṇī (S: धारणी; C: 陀 羅 尼):
Om Bhaishajye Bhaishajye
"As soon as the Medicine Buddha, in his radiance, had uttered this Dhāraṇī, the entire cosmos rumble and shook. Brilliant lights shone forth, allowing all sentient beings to escape disease and suffering and enjoy peace and happiness." In this connection, in the Sūtra teaches that there are nine forms of the untimely death, and in order to reduce these kinds of suffering, they should making the offerings, cultivate merits and virtues, etc., in this addition, the Sūtra stated that; "Ānanda then asked the Bodhisattva Salvation: "Good Man, how can an expiring life-span be lengthened?.
"The Bodhisattva Salvation replied: "Virtuous One, did you not hear the Tathagata explain the nine forms of untimely death? I would urge everyone to make longevity banners and lamps and cultivate merits and virtues. Thanks to such cultivation, they will escape suffering and misfortune throughout their lives.
"Ānanda further asked: "What are the nine forms of untimely death?"
"The Bodhisattva Salvation replied:
"Some sentient beings contract a minor illness which goes untreated for lack of a physician or medicine; or else, even though there is a physician, he prescribes the wrong medicine, causing premature death. Or, the patients, believing the false pronouncements of earthly demons, heretics or practitioners of black magic, may panic – unable to calm their minds. They may then engage in divination or perform animal sacrifices in order to propitiate the spirits, praying, for blessing and longevity – all in vain. Through, ignorance, confusion and reliance on wrong, inverted views, they meet with untimely death and sink into the hells, with no end in sight. This is the first form of untimely death.
"The second form is execution, by royal decree.
"The third is losing one's vitality to the demons through hunting, gambling, debauchery, drunkenness or extreme dissipation.
"The fourth is death by fire; the fifth is death by drowning. The sixth is being devoured by wild animals.
"The seventh is falling off a mountain or a cliff. The eighth is death by poison, incantations, evil mantras or demons-raised-from-the-death. The ninth is from hunger or thirst, for lack of food and water.
"These are the nine forms of untimely death; mentioned by the Tathāgatas. There are also countless other forms, which are too numerous to describe." Furthermore, in order to benefit for all class in the society the Buddha given stated that; "O, Ānanda, the queens, consorts, princesses, royal heirs, great ministers, court ladies, officials or commoners who suffer disease and other misfortunes should also make offerings to the Medicine Buddha. They should make multi-colored longevity banners, light lamps, ensuring that they burn continuously, liberate all kinds of animals, scatter flowers of various colors and burn various kinds of incense renowned for their fragrance. They will then recover from disease and escape misfortune."
As it has been mentioned earlier, the way to make offerings in order to gather the accumulation of merit as that, further, aims to complete accumulation of merit by the way of offerings in vastness merit. We should understand in the light of the book of the "Medicine Buddha Teachings" that; "In general, of course, we make these offerings in order to gather and complete the accumulation of merit. We do not make them for the benefit of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who are their ostensible recipients. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not particularly pleased by the presentation of offerings or displeased by their absence. The only real reason for making offerings is that the person making them gathers the accumulation of merit by doing so. We make offerings for our own benefit, and it is how it affects us that are important." As mentioned all on the above that also important to note that actions that tend to cause good karma in which are the produce of great merit and vastness merit on the way to benefit others or transfer merit to others beings yet.
Furthermore, in Mahāyāna, the merit can be gained in a number of ways. Thus, the most well-known and popular Buddhist sutras to compared to Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva (क्षितिगर्भ or 地 藏 王 菩 萨) as Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva (觀 世 音 菩 薩), but the name Kṣitigarbha (地 藏) appears to be relatively unknown in the Western Pure Land. In Kṣitigarbha: the Great Vow - the vow to save all sentient beings, includes the hungry ghosts and the hell beings. Kṣitigarbha has been known as the "Teacher of the Dark Regions". And the most famous declaration popularly attributed to Kṣitigarbha's passage of vows in this sutra is "If I do not go to hell to help them, who else will go?". No matter what the crime or the karma, he is willing to have a connection with any being, and to help free them from suffering. Therefore, the famous passage relating to the dedication of merit in [chapter Seventh] of this Sūtra says that one can "transfer a partial of seventh merit" of a good act they have performed to a deceased loved one in order to diminish the deceased's suffering. The Sūtra given stated that; "If anyone, male or female, fails during his lifetime to do meritorious actions, but lives sinfully, then his relatives, whether young or old, ought to do good deeds on his behalf and practice pious observances for him after his death. The departed ones gain one seventh of the merits of such good and pious acts and the remaining six sevenths rebound to the benefit of the living ones who practice these acts of piety. That is why beings of the present and the future should practice meritorious deeds during their lifetime when they are still strong and healthy. The whole merit to offer such food deeds will be achieved by them personally." And the most famous story of the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva relating to the meaning of transfer merit in this Sūtra stated that; "Again, innumerable kalpas ago, there was a Buddha by the name of Pure Lotus Eyes. He lived a long life of forty kalpas. During the semblance of the period of the Buddha, There was a girl by the name of Kong Mok – the girl with bright eyes. She made offerings to the Arahat (अर्हत) who asked her what her wish was. The girl replied, "I did some good work on the day of my mother's death in order to relieve her from her sufferings. I was long to know in what state my mother is at present." The Arahat pitied her and started to meditate. He came to know that the mother of the girl had been cast into the Hell of Great Sufferings. The Arahat asked the girl what her mother did during her lifetime so as to be cast into the Hell and to receive such severe punishment. The girl replied, "My mother used to be very fond of eating tortoises, especially their eggs, and fishes fried or cooked. She therefore killed countless lives for food. Compassionate One, kindly let me know how to relieve my mother." Out of great compassion, the Arahat told the girl to chant the name of the Buddha of Pure Lotus Eyes earnestly and respectfully, and that she should carve images of the above Buddha so that both the mother and she could benefit from it.
'After being thus told by the Arahat, the girl disposed of her precious belongings, and with the money she had an image of the Exalted Buddha drawn and paid homage to it. Again, she begged to know where her mother was. Suddenly, one night, she saw the Buddha in the midst of a bright golden light as big as Mount Sumeru, telling her thus, "Your mother will be born to your family as a son of a servant and will be able to speak as soon as she can feel cold and hunger". Before long, the servant in her family gave birth to a son. The newly-born child spoke to the girl three days after his birth. This newly-born infant said to the girl who was weeping bitterly. "Whatever evil deeds one has done one will receive punishment without exception. I am your mother! After my departure from you, I was cast into a dreadful Hell to suffer severe punishment. It was on account of the good deeds offered by you that I am now born as a son of your servant. But, owing to the evil deeds which I committed during my life, I can only live to the age of thirteen and will again be cast into the Hell. My child, what ways and means can you find to relieve me from my sufferings?" Upon hearing this, the girl was certain that the newly-born infant was her mother.
'The girl then asked the newly-born child, "Since you were my mother in your last life, you ought to know what sins were committed by you so that you were cast into Hell?" The child answered, "I have committed two sins, both by killing lives and speaking evil as well as scolding others. Without your help, by practicing good deeds, I can never be relieved from my sufferings." The girl then asked the infant, "What kind of suffering were you subjected to in Hell?" The mother replied, "The sufferings were so numerous that I cannot fully relate them even if given a thousand years to do so. " Upon hearing this, the girl then wept bitterly again, "May my mother be relieved from Hell forever after?" Later the child died, at the age of thirteen.
'Meanwhile, the girl was seen calling, "Oh, Buddha of the ten directions of Space. Please be compassionate and listen to me. If my mother can be relieved from the three States of Sufferings or be born into an inferior family or will never be born a female again, I now make a strong vow in front of the image of the Buddha of Pure Lotus Eyes – I shall continue to forge ahead unremittingly to relieve all suffering beings from Hells as well as in any state of suffering from every Universe and lead them to real Salvation. I shall accept Buddhahood only when I have completed the relief of all beings from their sufferings."
'After making such a firm declaration, the Buddha of the Pure Lotus Eyes the told the girl, "You are really a filial daughter to make such a strong now for the benefit of your mother. May your mother be born as a Brahmacarin, a young Brahman after living for thirteen years? She will then live for a hundred years. After that, she will be reborn in the Universe where she will not suffer anymore, and there she will enjoy life for kalpas and kalpas until she finally achieves Buddhahood. Then, she will be able to convert as many human beings as the grains of sand in the Ganges River."
'Śākyamuni Buddha told the King of Devils, "The Arahat who helped the girl with bright eyes to relieve her mother, is Aksayamati Bodhisattva (無 盡 意 菩 薩). The mother of the girl with bright eyes is at present the Bodhisattva of Emancipation.
'The girl with bright eyes is at present the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva.
'Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva was noted for his compassion and sympathy through kalpa after kalpa by making innumerable vows to lead the erring world to Salvation. If any male of female in the future, through ignorance, does not practice good deeds but commits sins through actions, words and thoughts or ignores the law of Cause and Effect, they will always suffer in any one of the States of Sufferings.
'But, after the chance of meeting a person with wisdom, who persuades them to pay respect to the Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva even for only a short length of time, they will certainly be relieved from the three States of Sufferings.
'Anyone who relies on Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva, pays homage to him or sincerely praises his meritorious acts, makes offerings of scented flowers and robes, jewels and various food and beverages, will be reborn in the realms of celestial happiness for innumerable kalpas. When the effect of these meritorious deeds comes to an end, they will be reborn as kings of countries for hundred of kalpas. These rulers will remember the links of causation in their previous lives."
Furthermore, in the Flower Adornment Sūtra (S: Avataṃsaka Sūtra; C: 華 嚴 經 or 大 方 廣 佛 華 嚴 經), the Ten Kings of Vows (普 賢 十 大 行 願), which are methods to teaches us for cultivation of merits. And the final of the Ten Great Vows is the doctrine of transfer merits and virtues universally, or to others (十 者 普 皆 迴 向) stated such as:
"菩 薩 所 作 功 德，悉 皆 回 向，回 向 則 無 私，無 私 則 真 實，真 實 則 直 入 法 界，入 法 界 則 能 利 益 一 切 眾 生，益 生 功 德 圓 滿，自 證 菩 提。
'回 向 有 三 種：回 自 向 他，則 成 化 身 佛，回 因 向 果 成 報 身 佛，回 事 向 理 成 法 身 佛，猶 如 一 杯 水，傾 入 大 海，便 成 大 海 水，是 謂 回 小 向 大，所 作 功 德 回 向 眾 生，能 令 眾 生 離 苦 得 樂，此 乃 回 向 眾 生，所 作 功 德 不 求 餘 物，唯 求 作 佛，尋 源 得 本，是 謂 回 因 向 果.....
'十 大 願 王 最 後 一 願，普 皆 回 向，從 禮 拜 讚 歎 乃 至 恒 順 眾 生，所 有 功 德，皆 悉 回 向 盡 法 界 虛 空 界 一 切 眾 生，令 眾 生 常 得 安 樂，無 諸 病 苦，則 我 功 德 真 實，若 不 能 令 眾 生 離 苦 得 樂，則 我 功 德 虛 妄，回 向 是 試 金 石 之 良 方。
'又 我 功 德 回 向，能 令 眾 生，欲 行 惡 法，皆 悉 不 成，所 修 善 業，皆 速 成 就，若 能 如 是，則 我 功 德 真 實，否 則 功 德 虛 妄；又 我 回 向 時，能 令 諸 惡 趣 門 關 閉，又 能 開 示 人 天 涅 槃 正 路，則 我 功 德 真 實，否 則，不 能 閉 諸 惡 趣 門，又 不 能 開 人 天 路，則 我 功 德，虛 妄 不 實；又 我 回 向 時，我 功 德 能 代 一 切 眾 生 受 極 重 惡 業 苦，令 彼 眾 生 悉 得 解 脫，究 竟 成 就 無 上 菩 提，則 我 功 德 真 實 無 疑。
'以 此 真 功 德，回 向 盡 法 界 虛 空 界，眾 生 界、眾 生 煩 惱 業 盡，我 此 回 向，無 窮 無 盡，念 念 相 續，周 遍 法 界，身 口 意 三 業 回 向，無 有 疲 厭。"
And the doctrine of "transfer merits and virtues" universally, or to others should be explained such as: the activities of the Bodhisattva's deeds, I universally transfer to all living beings throughout the dharma realm and to the limits of empty space. I vow that all living beings will be constantly peaceful and happy without sickness or suffering. I vow that no one will succeed in doing any evil, but that all will quickly perfect their cultivation of good karma. I vow to close the doors to the evil destinies and open the right paths of humans, gods, and Nirvāṇa. I will stand in for beings and receive all the extremely severe fruits of suffering which they bring on with their evil karma. I will liberate all these beings and ultimately bring them to accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi. The Bodhisattva cultivates transference in this way.
Even when the realm of empty space is exhausted, the realms of living beings are exhausted, the karma of living beings is exhausted, and the afflictions of living beings are exhausted, I will still transfer all merit and virtue endlessly, continuously in thought after thought without cease. My body, mouth and mind never weary of these deeds.
Moreover, the most famous verse in Mahāyāna Buddhism in which for the practitioners recited in daily to "accumulate merit and transfer merit" such as;
"愿 以 此 功 德
庄 严 佛 净 土
上 报 四 重 恩
下 济 三 途 苦
若 有 见 闻 者
悉 发 菩 提 心
尽 此 一 报 身
同 生 极 乐 国"
And the verse could be translated as this;
"May the merit and virtue accrued from this work
Adorn the Buddhas' Pure Lands
Repaying four kinds of kindness above
And aiding those suffering in the paths below
May those who see and hear of this
All bring forth the resolve for Bodhi
And when this retribution body is over
Be born together in the Land of Ultimate Bliss."
In this verse, the meaning of "dedication of merit" should be understand that One will be able to rescue living beings from the great sea of afflictions and suffering, causing them to make good their escape and to be reborn in Amitābha Buddha's Land of Ultimate Bliss.
As mentioned on the above that we understand and question could be arise that; what way could the Bodhisattvas or enlightened beings to understand to build up the vastness masses of "Merit" and then "dedication" to other beings? Which benefits can be share for others? How can create an abundance of karmic fruitfulness to share for other beings...? Therefore, if the enlightened one and Bodhisattvas who always endlessly create and to build up the vastness or infinite masses of "Merit" and karmic fruitfulness in order to dedication or transference of "Merit" to sentient beings to lead them reduce their sufferings in this mundane world. Therefore, in Mahāyāna Buddhism, the doctrine of "transfer of merit" (Puṇyapariṇāmanā) in which fully developed forms and capacity of karmic fruitfulness for benefit and dedication of merit towards the welfare of the sentient beings the Bodhisattva's altruistic goals.
On the other hand, in the traditions of the Pāli canon, in the Aṅguttara Nikāya we understand that the value of Puñña in the Sūtra represents is who still has some degree of craving and traces of the "three fires" (三 毒) of greed (lobha; 貪), hatred (dosa; 嗔), and delusion (moha; 癡 or 痴) acts that are motivated by non-greed (無 貪), non-hatred (無 嗔) and non-delusion (無 癡) is the "value of Merit "Puñña or Puṇya" in which will ultimately lead to the future cessation of karma. Therefore, according to Theravāda Buddhism, "Merit" can be achieved by the three methods, then the Buddha taught to His followers can be achieved by the three methods of charity (Dāna), morality (Sīla) and mental training (Bhāvanā) or "Merit" can be gained in a number of ways such as:
• Giving (dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu)
• Virtue (sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu)
• Mental development (bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu)
Thus, the Sūtra given stated as; "Monks, there are three bases of meritorious action. What three?
'The base founded on gifts, the base founded on virtue and the base founded on making mind become.
'Take the case, monks, of a man who only on a small scale creates the base of meritorious action founded on gifts, only on a small scale creates the base of meritorious action founded on virtue and does not reach the base of meritorious action founded on making mind become. He, on the breaking up of the body after death, is reborn among men of ill luck.
'Take the case, monks, of the man who creates the bases of meritorious action founded on gifts and virtue to a medium degree and does not reach the base of making mind become. He is ... reborn among men of good luck.
'Take the case of a man who creates the bases of meritorious action founded on gifts and virtue to a high degree and does not reach the base of making mind become. He is ... reborn among the company of the Four Royal devas.... Monks, these are the three bases of meritorious action"
Or we can understand the Sūtra in Pāli stated that;
"Tīṇimāni, bhikkave, puññakiriyavatthūni. Katamāni tīṇi? Dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu [Puññakiriyavatthuṃ (sī. Pī.) evamuparipi], sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu, bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu. Idha, bhikkave, ekaccassa dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu parittaṃ kataṃ hoti, sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu parittaṃ kataṃ hoti, bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthuṃ [puññakiriyavatthu (syā.)] nābhisambhoti. So kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā manussadobhagyaṃ upapajjati.
'Idha pana, bhikkhave, ekaccassa dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu mattaso kataṃ hoti, sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu mattaso kataṃ hoti, bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthuṃ nābhisambhoti. So kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā manussasobhagyaṃ upapajjati.
'Idha pana, bhikkave, ekaccassa dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu adhimattaṃ kataṃ hoti, sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthu adhimattaṃ kataṃ hoti, bhāvanāmayaṃ puññakiriyavatthuṃ nābhisambhoti. So kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā cā tu mahārājikānaṃ devānaṃ sahabyataṃ upapajjati. Tatra, bhikkhave, cattāro mahārājāno dānamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthuṃ atirekaṃ karitvā, sīlamayaṃ puññakiriyavatthuṃ atirekaṃ karitvā, cātumahārājike deve dasahi ṭhānehi adhigaṇhanti – dibbena āyunā, dibbena vaṇṇena, dibbena sukhena, dibbena yasena, dibbena ādhipateyyena, dibbehi rūpehi, dibbehi saddehi, dibbehi gandhehi, dibbehi rasehi, dibbehi phoṭṭhabbehi.... Imāni kho, bhikkave, tīṇi puññakiriyavatthūnīti." That is merit that accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts or thoughts and that carries over to later in life or to a person's next birth. Such merit contributes to a person's growth towards liberation.
And in Theravāda Buddhism, the states that the lay devotees can make merit by performing these more specific acts such:
Lay Theravada Practices: For a Fortunate Rebirth
4 Noble Truths
Based on: Dighajanu Sutta, Velama Sutta, Dhammika Sutta.
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However it is, the transferring of merit is a way of expressing all of the four wisdoms in a simultaneously combination. There are four wisdoms such as; charity, tenderness, benevolence, and sympathy are the means we have of helping others and represent the Bodhisattva's aspirations, viz., there is a value of merit in our spiritual practice. Indeed, there are different types of merit transfer practices are found in the Pāli canon and commentaries in both Mahāyāna and Theravāda. Nevertheless, there are some ways of practices of transfer merit such as; practice the three methods of charity (Dāna), morality (Sīla) and mental training (Bhāvanā), dedicating gifts to the Saṅgha to benefit deceased relatives, etc. is similar in both traditions. Generally accepted in Buddhism, both Mahāyāna and non-Mahāyāna, the meaning of transfer merit should be principle stipulates that the effects of fruitful actions (kuśala-karma or karmaphala) is "reaped", i.e. since only wholesome actions lead to pleasant results. Therefore, solely by the person or more precisely by the conscious series (saṃtāna) that has sown the seed of future karmic fruition when deliberately (cetayitva) accomplishing an action (karman). Finally, we can say that in Buddhism, Merit (puṇya or puñña) means that purifies the mind which in fact means good deeds. And in particularly, in order to make merit is to cleanse or reduce greed, hatred and delusion (defilements) from one's mind to overcome suffering (dukkha).
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 23:40