Abhidhamma in Daily Life (by Ashin Janakabhivamsa)

by Ashin Janakabhivamsa | 66,666 words

English translation of "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" by Professor Ko Lay. Revised by Sayadaw U Silananda, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Yangon, 1999...

Sharing the benefits of your good deeds to others is known as patti-Dana (patti = what you have gained; Dana = sharing your merit). A donor will no doubt enjoy the benefits of his Dana. The desire to share with others the merit gained is indeed magnanimous. We all, after doing a good deed, should proclaim, “All those who an hear me, come and share my merits. May you all gain as much merits as I do”, and share the benevolence gained. This is patti-Dana, which in itself is a separate good deed.


Some donors, just verbally say, “Come and share my merits” but have no sincere wish to do so. Such perfunctory sharing does not quality as patti-Dana.

Once upon a time a donor invited many people to his son’s novitiation and gave a lavish feast. Contributions (from invitees) did not cover the expenses of the feast so he was left in debt. After the ceremony, came the time to share merits. At that time he was mentally calculating how much he would owe. Somebody besides him reminded him to share merits. Oppressed by the thought of a heavy debt, he uttered, “I am dead broke”, very loudly instead of saying, “Come and share my merits.”

Sharing Merit Does Not Lessen Your Due

When you have done a wholesome deed and share the merit gained you might reason that you benefits will lessen. We must remember that merits are gained in accord with your cetana. When we give charity with a true goodwill, we have already done a good deed, and for that we have already gained due merits. So when we share the merits we gained to others you gain additional benefits for your magnanimity. There is no reason your merits should be lessened.

The sharing of merits is like kindling oil lamps with a lighted lamp. The first oil lamp is of course lighted by striking match. But this first lamp can be used to kindle many other lamps; the luminosity of the first lamp will in no way be diminished regardless of how many lamps are kindled. The combined brightness of all lamps will be many times more radiant. Sharing merits gained from Síla kusala and bhávaná kusala also patti-Dana.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: