alldmn - 19th October 2023

The Powerful Merit Obtained by Preserving Literary Traditions

In our latest newsletter, Snow on the Mountain, we highlighted one of the most important concepts of Buddhist practice: the gathering of merit (Sanskrit: punya). In Buddhism, merit is the store of good karma that establishes positive inertia,  that ultimately paves the way for attaining wisdom. 

One of the principal forms in which lay people are said to accumulate merit is through the practice of “dana,” or generosity. Mahayana sutras suggest that the supreme form of practicing generosity and accumulating merit is to recite, learn, and copy sutras. 

The Buddha tells Subhuti in the Diamond Cutter Sutra that “the piece of ground where one might do no more than recite or teach just one verse” of the text becomes immediately a “chaitya,” a shrine that embodies the enlightened mind of the Buddha. 

The Lotus Sutra prophesied that in the future, great challenges would arise to preserve  the teachings, but still, “we will have beings write out this Dharma teaching, recite it, contemplate it, and teach it… and the Blessed One will protect us.” 

The text adds in the sixteenth chapter: “That noble man or noble woman who possesses this Dharma teaching and reads it, teaches it, writes it, or has someone write it, accumulates an infinite, countless, innumerable aggregation of merit for the wisdom of Bbuddhahood.” 

This aligns seamlessly with the ethos of our project: to facilitate the transmission of timeless wisdom while also benefiting many individuals providing the means for right livelihood. Our online library serves scholars, academics, practitioners, and other interested people by offering access to more than 600,000 pages of searchable Buddhist literature, as well as to other works in Sanskrit, Nepalese, and Tibetan. 

By engaging in the preservation of these texts, we can joyously say that we are part of an unbroken tradition which values texts as precious transformative objects. It is only through your gracious support that we can all gather merit and disseminate virtue throughout the world.

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