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by (1.5k points)
On auspicious days, I’m often invited by non-vegans to rescue cows (By purchasing them from a slaughterhouse) and taking them To a place where they will not be harmed, As an act of making merit.

In this scenario, is it important to be mindful of how you Choose to make merit? When does the act of merit making become an act of kindness? And when does it become an act of accumulating Karma points?  Is it important, and Does meditation help?

2 Answers

+1 vote
by (1.6k points)
edited by

1. If I remember correctly there is a quality to different kinds of merit. Doing something nice/kind for an animal is inferior to something kind for a human. And then, performing merit for someone not enlightened is inferior to merit for an enlightened being.

I myself don't really care about what merit is inferior and so on. For me, merit is merit. Whether it's of inferior quality or not. What does make a difference though is thinking about making merit before actually doing it. Recollecting 'I'm about to do something nice' helps to increase the joy of performing the merit. So, yes to being mindful of making merit. 

2. 

When does the act of merit making become an act of kindness?

How do you make merit without kindness? I don't think it's possible. When one is performing merit a wholesome state will be in the mind. Has to be. Otherwise one can't perform a wholesome act.

3. Accumulating Karma points

I have no idea where this idea that there are karma points that could be accumulated comes from. Imho., it's nonsensical. Kamma is a volitional act (thought, speech, bodily action). When it's performed it's done, it's over. There is nothing that can be accumulated, nothing will 'add up'. There is no storage that holds performed kamma. 

We perform merit because it leads to joy. And joy is one of the enlightenment factors. Recollecting ones performed merits can help to bring joy to ones mind. And with joy there comes a gladdening, a peacefulness and serenity. And these in turn are antidotes to unwholesome states, such as restlessness, worry. In a peaceful mind wisdom can arise. And wisdom can lead to uprooting of defilements and enlightenment.

4. "Does meditation help?

Meditation is always useful.

Hope this helps a bit.

by (1.5k points)
edited by
Wonderfully put. Thank you.

‘ Doing something nice/kind for an animal is inferior to something kind for a human. And then, performing merit for someone not enlightened is inferior to merit for an enlightened being”.

Why do you think that is? Is that in the Suttas?
by (1.6k points)
Sorry, I didn't see the edit. Don't get a notification of that.

I remembered what monks told me regarding the difference of the merit (inferior, more superior etc). So, I guess it is in the sutta's somewhere. I just don't know where. Sorry.
0 votes
by (500 points)

The Lord Buddha gives teachings about types of giving and the different types of intention and what the results of that are.    In a sutta, he teaches it is good to focus on how the act of giving is a good thing for your mental state. You feel good about yourself; more are at ease and peace from helping another being. You then have more success in your progress on the spiritual path as a result of this more wholesome state of mind. He explains that there is a great benefit to giving without focusing on what material things we will get in return ( like a good life in the future.) You will still reap benefits from giving even if you are motivated by wanting material things in return, however, to a lesser extent.

If we give because we know it will help our mental state, then it does not matter which being we give to. The aim is to be giving generally rather than trying to find who is the best candidate for our gifts.  

"Yes, Sariputta, there would be the case where a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit." ( AN 07.049.)

The suttas below may answer your questions in detail.   

-    How motivations behind giving affect the next life.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.049.than.html

-    Complexities of generosity and how giving affects us in this life.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/damma/dana/index.html

(Reposted as an answer as per Medhini's suggestion.)

by (1.5k points)
edited by
Thank you for the info. Interesting.  Most interesting.  :) Thank you for the gift.
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