If you want to honour and help your departed ones, then do some meritorious deeds in their
name and transfer the merits to them.
- Highest gift to the departed ones
Colonel. F. S.
According to Buddhism
good deeds bring happiness to the doer both in this world and in the here after.
Good deeds or acts of
merit can be performed through body, speech or mind. Every good deed produces merit which
accumulates to the credit of the doer. Buddhism teaches that the acquired merit can be
transferred to either living or departed ones. The method of transferring merit is quite
simple. First some good deeds are performed. The doer of the good deeds has merely to wish
that the merit he has gained accrues to someone in particular or to all beings.
This wish can be purely
mental or it can be accompanied by an statement of words.
To transfer merit to the
departed does not mean that a person is deprived of the merit he has originally acquired
by his good deed. According to Buddhism the greatest gift one can confer on the departed
ones is to perform "Acts of Merit" and to transfer these merits acquired.
The Buddha encouraged
those who did good deeds such as offering alms to the holy men to transfer the merits
which they received to their departed ones. Alms should be given in memory of the departed
ones by recalling to the mind the good things the departed one did when he/she was alive.
Those who did not harm
others and lived a wholesome virtuous self respecting life will certainly have the chance
to be reborn in a happy place. Such persons do not require the help of living family
members and relatives.
However, those who have
no chance to be reborn in a happy abode are always waiting to receive merit from their
family members and relatives to offset their deficiency and to enable them to be born in a
The dead are always
remembered when any good deed is done, and more on occasions connected with their lives,
such as their birth or death anniversaries.
On such occasions, there
is a ritual which is generally practised. The transferrer pours water from a jug or other
similar vessal into a receptacle, while repeating a pali formula which is translated as
As rivers, when full must
and reach and fill the distant main,
So indeed what is given here will
reach and bless the spirits there.
As water poured on moutain
soon descend and fill the plain
So indeed what is given
here will reach
and bless the spirits there.
Some people are simply
wasting time and money on meaningless ceremonies and performances in memory of departed
ones by building big grave yards, tombs and other paraphernalia, nor is it possible to
help the departed by slaughtering animals and offering them along with other kinds of
The only way to help the
departed ones is to do some meritorious deeds in a religious way in memory of them. The
meritorious deeds include such acts as giving alms to others, and assist in building
schools, temples, orphanages, hospitals and printing religious books for free distribution
and similar charitable deeds. While others pray to god for the departed ones, Buddhists
radiate their loving kindness directly to them.
By doing meritorious
deeds they can transfer the merits to their beloved ones for their well being.
This is the best way of
remembering and giving real honour to and perpetuating the names of the departed ones. It
is, therefore, the duty of family members and relatives to remember their departed ones by
transferring merit and by radiating loving kindness directly to them.
These good deeds
should be performed with due respect to the departed ones and under a sober and religious