Vipassana Master Acharavadee Wongsakon
The foundation of merit is a trait of the mind. It serves as a container collecting the meritorious energy a person has accumulated. For those with small foundation of merit, a small bowl with clear water will appear in the mind to be seen. For those who used to have a lot of merit but the merit energy is almost gone, the huge barrel will appear but in it, the clear water inside has very much been depleted. The merit foundation of each person is not equal because in each lifetime they’ve been accumulated merits at different level. Some can be seen only a small bowl, some like a glass jug, some with huge foundation of merit will appear as a huge barrel. However, if the foundation of merit is really big, the container could never be seen because it’s too big. For those who have not made any merits, the water in the jug will continually be depleted. This is how the mind translates the symbols to be understood in form of visions. The Supporting Merit is the state in which the good merit is working as a buffer. That is, when one encounters a difficulty, the positive energy will lessen the hardship or support a certain mission to success. For those who fail to do good, the supporting merits will dissipate. When bad karma catches up on them, there won't be much help to ease the situation. They just have to face full consequences.
Foundation of Merit and the Miracle of Seven Factors of Enlightenment.
Buddha taught that reaching enlightenment requires seven factors as follows:
Sati, or mindfulness
Dhamma Vicaya, or the investigation of Dhamma
Viriya, or determination to do good deeds
Piti, or joy
Passaddhi, or mind tranquility
Samadhi, or concentration
Upekkha, or equanimity to let go of emotional attachment
To become enlightened, we cannot miss any factors because every factor mutually supports one another. Just the lack of joy that we normally give little value to can destroy the bridge to enlightenment due to the leakage of the merit foundation we have accumulated. The leakage results from the lack of Dhamma contemplation. That is, we do not investigate what we should believe, what we should pay attention to, and what we should let go.
The dhamma Buddha categorized is so miraculous that no single word can completely describe. We cannot give value to the only one factor. At the beginning, we may have to begin one by one or focus on a factor in order to achieve the others. However, every factor must support and complete one another to show the complete outcome of dhamma. Regarding the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, Buddha said, “We cannot focus only on practicing without observing the precepts. We can have firm faith but we cannot lack dhamma contemplation. We cannot follow Buddha’s teachings without a clear mind. Without joy, dhamma cannot perfectly reveal itself as it is impeded by Five Hindrances. This is the holistic dhamma that uplifts the mind's power simultaneously. Do preserve the foundation of merit you've made well. Do not let your jar of merit leak. If it leaks, you have to find out why. Which weakness does your mind have? Then close the leakage. Otherwise not only will what you have been persevering for so long give very little returns, but your bad karma will also increase. Those who have faith in dhamma, are all intelligent and lucky, possess different level of merit foundation and have been waiting for the time to accumulate merits or Barami (perfections) to make it full. Despite having the wisdom, without determination they will be the clever stuck in this prison of Samsara. Their souls are trapped in the cycle of birth and death endlessly because they’re not determined in the path leading to Nirvana. Make destination=0 After we’ve been lost in the cycle of Samsara for so long, it’s about time we land at Nirvana. Be firm on your target. Nothing can change our destination. Go for it! Vipassana Master Acharavadee Wongsakon Source: Selected from Word from Master “How important is the foundation of merit?” April 25, 2018