Merits and positive actions

All merits 资粮 are positive actions, but not all positive actions are merits. Why so?


hi @Jereme, would you be able to quote examples?

When a lay person (not practising Buddhism) does a virtuous act, such as helping an elderly, under the law of karma, will the lay person be rewarded with merits?

If so, what about another person (Buddhist practising Bodhicitta 菩提心) performing the same act? What is the difference? :slight_smile:

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Both will get merit as I think Karma is a sort of a law that applies to all.
Positive deeds get positive outcome
Negative deeds get negative outcome

would the difference be in the degree of merit?
The lay person will get a much, much smaller amount of merit compared to the Buddhist practising Bodhicitta 菩提心.

Took a while to contemplate, wondering if this is the reason?

All merits are considered 资粮 as they are meant to be accumulated in our journey towards enlightenment as a buddha.
However, if it’s just a positive action without proper dedication to accumulate as merits, is just considered as a positive deed & will only lead us to positive karma which results in temporary blessings or happiness. It may be used up in time and once it’s depleted, we will end up with sufferings again.
That’s why we can never be out of samarsa by just being a “good person” doing positive deeds.
As such, we have to constantly accumulate merits with our positive actions by dedication it to the ultimate goal of achieving buddhahood.

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So for the same positive deed, I think the difference is in the degree of merits earned and what do we need the merits for? Eg. if I’m just helping simply because I see no harm in helping anyway, then I have a little merits which can last me within this life, right? So because a lay person practicing Bodhicitta intention to help involves great compassion and not just thinking of simply helping, then merit is much more, and more merits can help the lay person in attaining Buddhahood?

@Jereme - Depends looking from whose point of view?

If I’m a lay person (not practicing Buddhism) doing a virtuous act, I wouldn’t understand what merits or karma is, so it doesn’t matter to me whether my actions are merits or whether I am rewarded with merits, I wouldn’t know the difference and life goes on.

If I am a venerable (practicing Bodhicitta) doing a virtuous deed, then I would recognize that my intention to help all sentient beings is taking place and I would know that there are merits generated and these merits make a difference to my practice so I can dedicate these merits to help more sentient beings.

So which view do you want to take? :rofl:

Only merits can get out of samsara . With no greed, hatred and delusion merits is obtain.

Namo Amithabaya