Here is the final section in the series ‘Thoughts on Spiritual Merit. On Sunday I did a talk using more or less the words from these three posts. I believe the talk will be up online on Wednesday and I’ll link to it here. It is on video. Gulp!
I’m glad, and fortunate, to be here and to walk through my days with others. Following the same schedule of activity, including formal meditation and the daily round of ceremonies and getting on with my responsibilities. Best I can. However well-intentioned it might be, if you are tempted, it is a mistake to hold up the life of the monastery, of monks training, as a kind of gold standard. Each of us, within the physical setting, and form, we find ourselves, share equally within the life of the trusting heart of practice. We have an equal capacity to practice, to engage fully with what is asked of us. Differing forms, differing lives, same heart/mind.
However, some of the religious forms can be adapted and utilized, where ever and whoever you are. For example the meal time recitations. In the formal setting, there is a lengthy recitation during lunchtime. However saying the Five Thoughts aloud or silently at the start of a meal and the ending blessing verse at the end can re-anchor to the baseline intention, running in the background of ones being. In a certain setting, I’ll just think ‘Thank you’. There are many such ways to re-anchor and the sangha refuge is likely to come up with brilliant and creative ideas. I’ve said enough on this subject, although I could go on and on, and may well do so, on Throssels blog, or elsewhere. I’ve done my best to explain spiritual merit, as I practice and understand it. It is down to you to do whatever you feel is good, perhaps now having a deeper perspective, and understanding, and appreciation of the Buddhist teaching, that underpins merit.
To recap. The talk, which will be available later, is about how and why the transfer of spiritual merit works. Firstly, the Truth embedded in Anatta, no separate self and Sunyata, all existence is ’empty’ of individual aspect, means merit can’t help but circulate. That’s through enlightened action, underpinned by keeping to the Three Pure Precepts. Secondly, the ‘resonance’ or ‘merit field’ established when good is generated means good simply flows, unimpeded by any ‘thing’.