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Merit is a force that results from good deeds done; it is capable of attracting good circumstances in a person's life, as well as improving the person's mind and inner well-being.Moreover, it affects the next lives to come, as well as the destination a person is reborn.A similar concept of kusala (Sanskrit: kusala) is also known, which is different from merit in some details.The most fruitful form of merit-making is those good deeds done with regard to the Triple Gem, that is, the Buddha, his teachings, the Dhamma (Sanskrit: Dharma), and the Sangha.These ten, the Commentator Buddhaghosa says, all fit within the three first bases of merit: 'Giving' includes 'Transferring merit to others' and 'Rejoicing in others' merit' by extension, whereas 'Virtue' includes 'Honoring others' and 'Offering service'.

It is regarded as something which can be accumulated throughout different lifetimes in the process of attaining Buddhahood, and is also instrumental in attaining it.This symbol is used in merit transfer ceremonies, for example.As for virtue, this comprises three out of eight aspects of the eight-fold path, the path central in the Buddhist teaching: right speech, right action and right livelihood.In modern society, merit-making has been criticized as materialist, but merit-making is still ubiquitous in many societies.Examples of the impact of beliefs about merit-making can be seen in the Phu Mi Bun rebellions which took place in the last centuries, as well as in the revival of certain forms of merit-making, such as the much discussed merit release.Before the arising of Buddhism, merit was commonly used in the context of Brahmanical sacrifice, and it was believed that merit accrued through such sacrifice would bring the devotee to an eternal heaven of the 'fathers' The way merit works, is that acts of merit bring good and agreeable results, whereas demeritorious acts bring bad and disagreeable results.A mixture of the two generates mixed results in a person's life.In addition, there is a widespread custom of transferring merit to one's deceased relatives, of which the origin is still a matter of scholarly debate.Merit has been that important in Buddhist societies, that kingship was often legitimated through it, and still is.In addition, merit is also shared with a deceased loved one, in order to help the deceased in their new existence.Despite modernization, merit-making remains essential in traditional Buddhist countries, and has had a significant impact on the rural economies in these countries.


  1. Being a new parent can become an isolating experience, where you’re thrust into a world of playdates over happy hours – a change that can lead to.

  2. Puñña literally translates as 'merit, meritorious action, virtue'. It is glossed by the Theravāda Commentator Dhammapāla as "santanaṃ punāti visodheti.

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