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Glossar (Englisch)

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dedicate merit (ekō 囘向)

S. pari【左下矢印】āmanā. To transfer or give away merit (kudoku 功徳), meaning the karmic fruits or beneficial results of one's own good deeds, to another person or being. In Mahayana texts, especially, one finds the idea that a bodhisattva should from the very start dedicate all the merit that results from his/her cultivation of morality, concentration, and wisdom to all living beings. A great many observances in East Asian Buddhism hinge on the ritual production and dedication of merit. Merit is earned or accumulated by chanting sutras and dharanis, mindfully reciting buddha names, circumambulating, making prostrations and offerings to buddhas enshrined on altars, and other good deeds that are either acts of worship of Buddha or acts that spread his teachings. Merit is then spent or given away by formally reciting a verse for the dedication of merit (ekōmon 囘向文) which (1) states how the merit was generated, (2) names the recipient(s) of the merit, and (3) explains the hoped for outcome of the merit transference. In some cases, merit is dedicated to sacred beings such as buddhas and deities as a kind of offering similar to (and usually performed in conjunction with) offerings of food and drink to ancestral spirits. In those cases, the third part of the dedicatory verse is typically a prayer that asks the powerful recipient for some specific benefits in return. →"merit."