HOME                     Abhidhamma.org                        CONTENTS

Deeds of Merit

By Sujin Boriharnwanaket.

Translated by Nina van Gorkom

(This book is not yet published in print form)


  1. Kusala citta: wholesome moment of consciousness. Akusala citta: unwholesome moment of consciousness.
  2. Intention or volition, in Paali: cetanaa, is a mental factor, cetasika, arising with each citta. Kusala citta is accompanied by kusala cetanaa and akusala citta is accompanied by akusala cetanaa.
  3. A good deed, kusala kamma, or a bad deed, akusala kamma, produces its appropriate result. Birth is result of kamma, and in the course of life, pleasant and unpleasant experiences through the senses, such as seeing, hearing etc., are result of kamma.
  4. The Paali text has manaapa, lovely, pleasant. In the English text this has been translated as: good, which I changed into pleasant.
  5. Patti means: gain or merit, and anumodana means: thanksgiving or appreciation.
  6. Access concentration or upacaara samaadhi arises when there is a high degree of calm but not yet the attainment of jhaana, absorption.
  7. See Visuddhimagga, Path of Purification, Ch VII, 107-115.
  8. Who has confidence in kamma and its result.
  9. Confidence, saddhaa, is a cetasika arising with each kusala citta.
  10. A banker of Saavatthii, famous because of his generosity to the Buddha. He kept on giving his possessions, until there was little left.
  11. What is discarded.
  12. Having no confidence in kamma and its result.
  13. One citta arises at a time and it is accompanied by several cetasikas, mental factors. Some cetasikas arise with each citta, others do not. Akusala cetasikas such as attachment, anger or ignorance accompany only akusala citta, whereas beautiful (sobhana) cetasikas, such as generosity, kindness or wisdom, pa~n~naa, accompany kusala citta. Citta and cetasika are mental phenomena, naama. What we take for a person is only citta, cetasika and riipa which do not last.
  14. It is a Buddhist custom to let water run in a dish as a sign that one transfers merit. When someone has offered food to the monks he may pour water in a dish while the monks chant words of blessing.
  15. There can be birth in different planes of existence depending on the kamma which produces rebirth. There are unhappy planes of existence, such as the animal world or the hell planes, and happy planes of existence, such as the human plane or heavenly planes.
  16. When right understanding has been developed to the degree that enlightenment can be attained the four noble Truths are penetrated: the Truth of dukkha, of the arising of dukkha, of the ceasing of dukkha, of the way leading to the ceasing of dukkha. There are four stages of enlightenment and at these stages defilements are progressively eradicated. At the fourth and last stage, the stage of the arahat, all defilements are eradicated. Ariyan is the term used for someone who has attained one of the stages of enlightenment.
  17. Defilements are akusala cetasikas which accompany akusala citta.
  18. Lobha is one of the three unwholesome roots, akusala hetus. The others are dosa, aversion and moha, ignorance.
  19. We read that the Bodhisatta was born as the son of a brahmin and became a famous teacher. A brahmin had four daughters and four men asked their hand. He asked the Boddhisatta who was most suitable as a husband for his daughters. We read : "One is good, and one is noble; one has beauty, one has years. Answer me this question, brahmin; of the four which best appear?" Hearing this, the teacher replied, "Even though there be beauty and the like qualities, a man is to be despised if he fail in virtue. Therefore the former is not the measure of a man; those that I like are the virtuous." And in explanation of this matter, he repeated the second couplet: "Good is beauty; to the aged show respect, for this is right; Good is noble birth; but virtue- virtue, that is my delight." When the brahmin heard this, he gave all his daughters to the virtuous wooer.
  20. Kindred Sayings (IV, Saiiaayatana vagga, Part VIII, 42, Kindred Sayings about Headmen 8, The Conch).
  21. Here I am using the translation by the Ven. Nyanaponika, Anguttara Nikaaya, An Anthology, Part III, 5, Outcomes of Merit. Wheel Publication 238-240, B.P.S. Kandy.
  22. These excellent qualities, which are meditation subjects in samatha, tranquil meditation, should be developed in daily life. The Great Brahma is the highest ruler of the divine beings of the brahma worlds, higher planes of existence.
  23. The Sangha, the third of the Triple Gem, is actually the ariyan Sangha, it includes all those who have attained one of the stages of enlightenment.
  24. In Thailand and in some other eastern countries this is the usual way of greeting. The incomparable leader of men to be tamed.
  25. "What I am" and that "I am".
  26. The "Visuddhimagga" ( IX, 93, 94) explains in the chapter on the "Divine Abidings", that loving kindness has the characteristic of promoting the aspect of welfare, and that compassion has the characteristic of allaying suffering.
  27. The worldling or ordinary person is the non-ariyan, who has not attained any stage of enlightenment, who has not eradicated any defilement. He will continue to be in the cycle of birth and death.
  28. Unbelieving: without confidence in kusala.
  29. Without siila.
  30. Who do not develop pa~n~naa.
  31. The Bodhisatta was an ascetic and the favorite chaplain of an elephant trainer. He had divine vision and knew that the elephant trainer would become king and this happened against all expectations. In a battle with a neighbouring king the king himself was in disguise to protect himself and he had ordered the elephant trainer to dress in royal robes. However, the king was killed and in the end the elephant trainer became king. Thus we see that circumstances change so quickly and that the good fortune came to an elephant trainer.
  32. Defilements can be classified as coarse, medium and subtle. Coarse defilements condition evil deeds through body and speech. Medium defilements condition akusala citta. Subtle defilements are the latent tendencies of defilements which have been accumulated and which can only be eradicated by pa~n~naa developed in vipassanaa at the subsequent stages of enlightenment.
  33. There are different degrees of concentration. Preparatory concentration, parikamma samaadhi, is only initial concentration. Access concentration, upacaara samaadhi, is more developed concentration which approaches absorption. Appanaa samaadhi is the concentration which has reached absorption.
  34. As the "Visuddhimagga" (IX, 98) explains: attachment is the near enemy of mettaa.
  35. The "Visuddhimagga" (Ch VI) describes as meditation subject of foulness corpses in different states of decay. The body of a living being is like a corpse. It describes under "Mindfulness occupied with the Body" (Ch VIII, 42-144) the thirtytwo parts of the body, such as hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, etc., of which the repulsive feature should be considered.
  36. At each of the four stages of enlightenment the four noble Truths are penetrated, but there are different degrees of pa~n~naa which realizes them at these stages. Defilements are eradicated stage by stage until they are all eradicated at the fourth and last stage, the stage of arahatship.
  37. Son of King Bimbisara of Magadha.
  38. The plane of the devas of the Thirty-three, or also alluded to as the devas of the Thrice-Ten, is the lowest heavenly plane.
  39. A heavenly plane of existence where one experiences sense objects, different from some of the higher planes where one is born as a result of jhaana.
  40. In Paali: bahusutta. Someone who has listened to the Dhamma, deeply considered it and who has right understanding of it.
  41. See Visuddhimagga Ch II. Dutaiiga includes ascetical practices with regard to robes, almsfood and dwelling place. The monk may eat, for example, only once; he may dwell at the root of a tree, in the open air or in a charnel-ground.
  42. These six excellent things will be explained in the following chapter.
  43. The P.T.S. translation uses here sight instead of seeing.
  44. Subhadda was ordained and attained arahatship.
  45. I am using the translation of "The All-Embracing Net of Views" by Ven. Bodhi, B.P.S. Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1978.
  46. The whole of the Tipiiiaka is in the scriptures referred to as "the Dhamma and the Vinaya".
  47. These three kinds of training come to fulfilment through the development of the eightfold Path. Through satipa.t.thaana the six doorways are guarded and one will refrain from evil. As regards higher consciousness, this means right concentration of the eightfold Path. When there is awareness of naama and ruupa there is right concentration accompanying the citta.
  48. The four requisites are basic needs in life. In the scriptures these are referred to as the four requisites the monks are allowed to acquire.
  49. There are different interpretations of the term Saddhamma. Some interprete it as a composition of the word sad+ dhamma. Sad is derived from "santa", meaning calm. Calm refers here to freedom from defilements. According to another interpretation saddhamma is derived from sant+ dhamma, "sant" meaning existing, good or true. The P.T.S. translation uses for Saddhamma "true Dhamma" or "Dhamma of the good" (for example, Middle Length Sayings II, 60, On the Sure). According to another interpretation "sad" is connected with saddhaa, confidence. Saddhamma is the true object of confidence.
  50. They are sensuous desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and regret, and doubt.
  51. Elder, in Paali Thera, is a monk who is senior in the Order, who has been ordained for a longer time.
  52. Non-human being.
  53. The Deathless, amata dhamma, that is, the dhamma leading to the end of birth and death.
  54. Needing no external ingredients.

copyright © [Zolag] Revised 1/12/99, e-mail: contact@zolag.co.uk