DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- CULTIVATION AND
- CREATING OF BLESSED FIELDS
By Nhat Quan
You often see in pagodas that there are boxes of blessed
fields of three treasures. In some places, it is called the
box of blessing dew. However, the word blessing dew or
blessing field is different, but the meaning is the same.
The word dew, only for the dewdrops to fall. In the early
mornings, when the air is calm in the summer, there is no
rain, you can see glittering water droplets on the tops of
trees and grass. Sometimes in front or behind the roofs, you
see drops of water from the dew falling, forming small dots on
the ground, which are traces of dew drops on the ground.
In an agrarian society, in order to have a prosperous life,
eat well, and wear durable clothes, a farmer must have a field
or a garden to cultivate. For food and clothing, farmers have
to work hard. The same goes for Buddhists, in order to have a
safe place to practice and study in the great love of the
Buddhadharma, Buddhists have to pour a lot of heart and soul,
in order to build an ashram with monks and nuns studying. So:
- The word blessing dew, means to refer to your practice of
having to glean small good deeds like falling dewdrops.
- The word blessed field means to refer to the meritorious
deeds of your practice, doing good deeds such as sowing seeds
in the field of merit.
Indeed, there are many similarities between the work of a
religious student and that of a farmer. Farmers sow seeds,
fertilize, and water to have a golden rice season in the
field, a fruitful harvest season. Those who study the Way must
also cultivate good roots, sow and cultivate the seeds of
goodness in the blessed land. A student of the Way must know
how to water that seed by means of practice such as:
- Chanting scriptures, reciting Buddha's name, meditating, and
walking in meditation. Or must be fostered through:
- Ethical stories, useful teachings of monks and nuns...
In addition, practitioners must understand what those seeds
need, what they want, what kind of insects are there, and how
to overcome them. What good conditions should be cherished,
the leaves bitten by insects, the leaves withered, the
troubles Buddhists need to remove? If not skillful, it will
not only damage the good seeds but also further damage the
unspeakable cultivation environment. Therefore, as a student
of the Way, they must know how to keep their body healthy,
their religion strong, and their intellect sublimated to help
themselves and others on the path of cultivation.
In the direction of cultivating merit fields, you understand,
the recipient of alms is called a field. People who give alms
are called cultivating merit fields. Usually, you only pay
attention to the recipient and the giver according to the
world's concept, so you only think that the recipient of the
gift is the poor person, the one who needs you, the one who
begs you, the one who kneels before you. And so that person
will have to fear you, and you will have power over them.
However, the Buddhadharma does not look so simple. The
practice of giving, making offerings, and sowing conditions is
called cultivating merit fields, similar to the cultivation of
- A good mind is not greedy, and the act of giving is like the
act of sowing seeds.
- Almsgiving is like a seed,
And the person receiving alms or offerings is like a garden
plot or a field.
Remember, no matter how good your heart is, and no matter how
precious the good things you give, if there is no recipient of
the gift, you will not achieve the work of giving that is, not
having the merit of giving and the consequences of giving. In
other words, you don't have a place to cultivate the field of
People do not believe in cause and effect, so they always feel
that the giver, that is, the one who gives grace and has to
suffer the loss of wealth and property, while the recipient is
considered to be a lowly useless person, a parasitic. To put
it simply, beggars are pitifully useless people. However, for
those who know the law of cause and effect and who want a
really good result for you in the future, you know these
people are people or places where you can sow the merit of
giving. Because, in order to practice the merit of giving, it
is impossible without the recipients of alms. Indeed, beggars
are the lowest rank in society, the kind that everyone else
steps on above, but it is a place for those who know how to
cultivate merit fields to sow the seeds of merit. Just as the
ground is the lowest and is trampled by all things above, that
is the place where you sow seeds and reap the results. So in
Buddhism, the person who receives the alms is called the land,
that is to say, according to the worldview.
According to the Buddhist concept, the field is not only the
poor, the hungry, the uneducated, or the unlucky, but even in
this field, there are enough people who are gracious to you,
and who have merit than you. So when cultivating a field of
merit, sowing seeds in a field of merit, is the best way you
can find and get close to people whose merit is immeasurable
and boundless. So the merit field has four different names:
- Donating sentient species is called animal field.
- Donating to people who have no relatives, the poor, and the
sick is called suffering fields.
- Donating to people who are gracious to you such as parents,
teachers, etc., is called grace field.
- And donate to saints called merit fields.
The three treasures of merit belong to the fourth category.
The phrase the three treasures of merit means that the Three
Treasures are the best field of merit, and when you have sown
good deeds in the Three Treasures field of merit, there will
certainly be good trees growing, and fresh flowers will
appear, and you will have sweet fruits. reaping is no doubt.
- Planting merit in Buddha
This auspiciousness cannot end. Since the Buddha is the
Enlightened One, merit and wisdom are two kinds of dignified,
loving, and compassionate are all perfect. The birth of the
Buddha opened the path to awakening for sentient beings to
establish happiness and peace in this life and in future
lives. Should pay respects to the Buddha, make offerings to
the Buddha, praise the Buddha, embellish and protect the
golden body of the Buddha that is always present in the world,
vow to practice until the day he becomes a Buddha, etc., is to
plant merit in the Buddha.
- Cultivate merit in true Dharma.
This auspiciousness has no end. Although the Buddha has
entered Nirvana, the Dharma is still alive, that is, the
Buddha still exists in the world. The Dharma sound of the
Buddha still resonates to this day, emanating from the three
canons of Sutra, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma. A disciple of the
Buddha who vows to follow him must rely on the Dharma.
Studying, learning, reciting, publishing, explaining,
promoting, practical application ... Buddha's teachings, are
to plant merit in true Dharma.
- Planting merit in the Holy Sangha
This auspiciousness has no end. This holy Sangha does not mean
the assembly of all Saints, but the pure and harmonious
Sangha. Of course, a monk is not a saint, and where monks are
not pure and harmonious, there is no holy assembly. In actual
practice today, the monastic assemblies that meet the standard
of Saints are not many but not nonexistent.
In other words, the congregations that practice and achieve
Precepts, Concentration, and Wisdom are fertile fields of
merit for you to plant merit. Of the merit fields, the Merit
field of the three treasures is the best. And in the Merit
field of the three treasures, Sangha has the most important
role, because it is thanks to Sangha's efforts to propagate
that the Three Jewels will last in the world. Paying respects,
making offerings, protecting, obeying instructions, and vowing
to follow in the footsteps of the monks, are to plant merit in
Obviously, cultivating the field of merit and cultivating
merit in the Three Jewels are the three roots of goodness that
cannot be ended. The Buddha's disciples need to understand the
merits and virtues of protecting the Three Jewels in order to
practice for their own benefit and benefit others,
contributing to the creation of a peaceful world and peaceful
Those who understand the Way, of course, know the power of the
Merit field of the three jewels. And the person who knows how
to cultivate the field of merit is the one who is doing a
transformation. Turn garbage into flowers, turn stink into
sweet fruit. Because cultivating and creating a blessing field
is a compassionate way of containing things that are hard to
bear in the world.
Thus, in terms of cultivating the field of merit, when you
give with a very joyful mind and with very nice things, but it
is up to you to give to animals, to humans, or to gods, or to
monks, the Buddha.... v. v ... it is called the cultivation of
merit field. It is the same donation, but for monks, gods, or
Buddhas, it is called offering. Because there is a difference
between giving and offering, and the merit is also different,
the blessings and rewards are also different. Similar to
planting trees, if the tree is planted on arid land with
little fertilizer, the tree will also grow slowly, and produce
less fruit. But if the tree is planted on fertile soil, the
tree will grow fast and produce good and big fruit. When the
field is good, that is, the recipients of the alms are
benefactors or saints full of the virtues of the Way, then the
merit of giving will become completely larger and more
complete, and better.
The field of merit, or the recipient of alms, is therefore
very important, especially in the Buddhist tradition. The
Buddha chose the lowest way of life ie begging, or according
to Buddhism, begging for food to live. In Buddhist teachings,
it is a righteous way of life for a practitioner of the Way,
as well as for a sage. Because a person who practices the Way
is not attached to ordinary life by any form of occupation,
but he or she makes a living by giving alms, and he must
become a kind of blessed field for the world. This is
different from other beggars, for other beggars only beg to
get by, just to maintain a lowly, aimless miserable life. Live
as a surplus, useless in society, therefore they are only the
suffering field of the world. While the Buddha and his
disciples begged for food not to live through the day, but to
spend their whole life pursuing the truth, practicing a
religious life, and also as a place of cultivation, creating a
merit field for humanity. With a noble ideal of purity of
mind, and liberation from all samsara's entanglement for self
and sentient beings of all kinds.
In such a way of life, he benefits everyone by using his own
life as a place for others to create merit and charity, and at
the same time to benefit himself. In that, using that life of
alms, to let go of all attachments, to adapt to the path to
complete liberation. Thus they became the blessed field of
this world. So when the Buddha established the Three Jewels,
his goal was to create a field of merit for this world, that
- He brought his own enlightenment to establish Buddha's
- He preached on the path to liberation, and the way to
enlightenment, establishing the Dharma Treasure.
- And he accepted disciples and guided them unanimously to
follow the two paths mentioned above, establishing the Sangha
He put all three treasures into the world's heart through the
lowest way of life in society, begging for alms. And in this
way, he entrusted the existence and longevity of the Three
Jewels depending on the people's willingness to give alms.
Thanks to that, the Three Jewels became the ultimate field of
merit, a place to cultivate and cultivate the field of merit
for mankind. That is why, after the Buddha entered Nirvana,
his relics and the tower worshiping them, as well as the
Dharma Treasure tower, were replaced for him, and for Dharma
Treasure in the role of doing meritorious work for the world.
Later on, temples were places to worship Buddha Treasure for
the maintenance of Dharma Jewels, and also as gathering places
and residences of Sangha Treasures. So a temple, a monastery,
has gradually become sufficient enough to become the center of
worship of the Three Jewels and become the main field of merit
in the world.
The merit of giving, in other words, the merit of making
offerings, has since been concentrated in the temples that are
now regarded as the world's permanent residents of the Three
Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Buddhists create merit not
only by making offerings to, supporting, and maintaining the
temple, but mainly by building and establishing those Three
The reason why the Three Jewels are still today exists in the
heart of the world, overcome with so many forces of unbelief,
paganism, and Mara, and most of all, the forces of ignorance
so that you know Buddhism and enjoy the blessings of the Three
Jewels. It is due to the merits of countless bodhisattvas who
endeavor to protect the Dharma through Buddhist works such as
printing sutras, creating statues, casting bells, building
pagodas, and building towers. Meditating in a meditation hall
or a temple is not difficult, but the difficult thing is to
approach life and comfort the souls who are still lost in the
market of life. Sitting alone in the mountains and forests is
not difficult, but the difficult thing is to plunge into the
evil place of sentient beings, but for them to establish the
throne of the Three Jewels. Achieving the Way alone in the
deep forest and mountains, and even in the present life, is
not as difficult as going through countless kalpas to help
everyone have a predestined way to cultivate the Way.
In short, Mahayana Buddhism teaches you to give alms and
offerings, especially to make offerings to the Three Jewels,
also known as the Three Jewels of Merit Field, which is a
place cultivating and creating merit. Cultivating and creating
merit means practicing the Way in relation to each other.
Through interdependence, your mind can be transformed. Thanks
to the relationship of merit, your ignorance and craving
become the Way mind. Thanks to the merits of taking refuge in
connection with the Three Jewels, you become a child of the
Buddha, then thanks to the merit donation and support in
connection with the Three Jewels of Merit Field, you inherit
the virtue and Dharma of the Buddhas, for you.
In such a work of building merits of the Way, the Three Jewels
are always of the utmost importance, because it is through the
Three Jewels of Merit Field that your mind is transformed into
the mind of the Way. Therefore, the establishment of temples
to maintain and strengthen the Three Jewels is a supreme and
transcendent Buddhist merit for everyone, not just a worldly
good thing or anyone's private matter. So merit is through
- Build pagodas, sculpt statues, give alms, make offerings...
It is a place for you to practice and create the most
practical merit field. Today, the cultivation of blessings
with the Three Jewels is a popular practice and a good root
for all Buddha's children. Should respect the Three Jewels,
serving the Three Jewels, and relying on the light of the
Three Jewels to illuminate the way is a basic practice for
beginners, but at the same time, it is also throughout the
practice of sages who have attained enlightenment go through.
The basic path of a Buddhist practitioner is to gradually
achieve merit and wisdom. The Buddha is blessed and full of
wisdom. The Buddha's disciples, all their lives, need to
cultivate merit and wisdom. Among the good dharmas that a
Buddhist disciple practices in his daily life is to plant good
roots, and cultivate and create merit in the Three Jewels
because the Three Jewels are the most dominant.
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