What is 观功念恩 (Observing Merits and Appreciate Kindness or OMAK)?


Venerable Jing Yuan has talked about Master Ri-Chang’s method of 观功念恩 (Observing Merits and Appreciate Kindness or OMAK) and how it can help in our practice:

“Observing Merits and Appreciate Kindness (OMAK) is a method used not only to observe others’ good qualities/merits, but to rejoice with our own virtuous deeds as well, thereby heightening our spirit in Dharma learning.”
reference: https://www.facebook.com/notes/bw-monastery-吉祥宝聚寺/会长净远法师的话班级推动善行小点滴-president-venerable-jing-yuans-message-promoting-little-drople/337711443056175/

But how do we actually go about practising OMAK?

如得法师 gives his discourse on this here:

At the 6:23 mark of the video, 如得法师 provides two ways of thinking that can help us turn negatives into positives.

虽然 … , 但是
Although something negative happened, but I see the positive from it

因为 … , 所以
Because of something negative, and so something positive happened.

Jump to the 6:23 mark here:

Train Your Mind To See The Good In Every Situation

This discourse from 如得法师 has some specific steps we can take to do OMAK:

At the 4:36 mark:

  • Understand the benefits of doing OMAK
  • Understand the harm of not doing OMAK
  • Knowing the benefit and harm will motivate us to want to get better at OMAK
  • Practise with the 1,2,3 method everyday for a duration of at least 3 months.
    (1) record one good you have done
    (2) record one good that someone else has done
    (3) record one good that someone has done for you
  • Observe yourself getting better at OMAK

法师 leaves a quote “久習不成易,此事定非有” that best describes what we have to do:
with much practising and not making things easier, such an occurrence does not happen.
(or simply said, with practice comes ease)



Ajahn Brahm gives a variant of 观功念恩 when he addressed the question of how to deal with people that irritate you.

I summarise as

  1. tolerate the person by thinking of all the other things they do, not just the irritating things, but all the beautiful things they do
  2. if they really irritate you a lot, they become your teachers!

Venerable Ru Jun has more advice on 观功念恩 (Observing Merits and Appreciate Kindness or OMAK);