merit meritorious action, virtue. Always represented as foundation and condition of heavenly rebirth & a future blissful state, the enjoyment (& duration) of which depends on the amount of merit accumulated in a former existence. With ref. to this life there are esp. 3 qualities contributing to merit, viz., dāna, sīla & bhāvanā or liberality, good conduct & contemplation These are the puñña-kiriya-vatthūni (see below) Another set of; ten consists of these 3 and apaciti, veyyāvacca patti-anuppadāna, abbhanumodanā, desanā savana, diṭṭh’ ujjuka-kamma. The opp. of puñña is either apuñña (DN.iii.119; SN.i.114; SN.ii.82; AN.i.154; AN.iii.412 Sdhp.54, Sdhp.75) or pāpa (Snp.520; Dhp.39; Ne.96; Pv-a.5) The true Arahant is above both (Pv.ii.6#15). See on term also Kvu trsl. 201

  1. Passages (selected): DN.iii.58, DN.iii.120; MN.i.404; MN.ii.191, MN.ii.199; SN.i.72; SN.ii.82 SN.iv.190; SN.iv.190; SN.v.53; AN.i.151, AN.i.155 sq.; AN.iii.412; Snp.427 sq., Snp.547, Snp.569, Snp.790; Dhp.18, Dhp.116 sq., Dhp.196, Dhp.220, Dhp.267, Dhp.331, Dhp.412; Mnd.90; Pv.1.2; Pv.i.5#12; Pp.55; Vism.541 (puññānaṃ paccayo duvidhā); Dhp-a.iv.34; Pv-a.6, Pv-a.8 Pv-a.30 Pv-a.69 sq.; Sdhp.4, Sdhp.19 sq
  2. Var. phrases & characterisations: Merit is represented as great (uḷāra DN-a.i.110; Pv-a.5; anappaka Pv.i.5#12) or little (paritta DN-a.i.110; appa SN.ii.229); as adj. (-˚) mahā˚ SN.i.191 opp. appa˚ MN.ii.5. puñña is defined at Mnd.90 as follows: “puññaṃ vuccati yaṃ kiñci tedhātukaṃ kusal’ âbhisankhāraṃ; apuññaṃ vuccati sabbaṃ akusalaṃ” It is defined as “dāna-sīl’-ādi-pabheda” “sucaritaṃ kusala-kammaṃ” at Vv-a.19; considered as leading to future happiness: Vv.1#3; Pv-a.58; consisting mainly in dāna (dānamayaṃ p.) Pv-a.8, Pv-a.51, Pv-a.60 Pv-a.66, Pv-a.73, but also in vandana Pv-a.1. To do good puññaṃ (puññāni) karoti DN.i.137; SN.iv.331; AN.v.177; Pv.i.11#9; or pasavati SN.i.182, SN.i.213; AN.i.89; AN.ii.3 sq. AN.iii.244; AN.v.249, AN.v.282; Pv-a.121, cp. puññaṃ pasutaṃ Pv.i.5#12; Vv-a.289. Other phrases: ˚ṃ ākankhati SN.i.18, SN.i.20; pavaḍḍhati SN.i.33; corehi duharaṃ SN.i.36 puññānaṃ vipāko AN.iv.89; āgamo SN.iii.209 SN.iv.349 opadhikaṃ SN.i.233; Iti.78; purāṇaṃ & navaṃ SN.i.92 sayaṃ katāni puññāni SN.i.37; puññassa dhārā SN.i.100 SN.v.400.
  • -atthika desirous of merit Snp.487 sq.
  • -ānubhāva the majesty of merit Pv-a.58.
  • -ābhisaṅkhāra accumulation of merit DN.iii.217; SN.ii.82; Mnd.90, Mnd.206, Mnd.442 Vism.557 sq., Vism.571; Vb-a.142 sq., Vb-a.166, Vb-a.184.
  • -ābhisanda (+ kusalâbhisanda) meritorious results AN.ii.54 sq. AN.iii.51, AN.iii.337; AN.iv.245.
  • -assaya seat of merit DN-a.i.67
  • -iddhi the magic power of m. Pv-a.117.
  • -kata one who has done a deed of m. AN.ii.32.
  • -kamma good works righteousness, merit SN.i.97, SN.i.143; DN-a.i.10; Vv-a.32; Pv-a.54, Pv-a.87; Sdhp.32.
  • -kāma (adj.) desirous of doing good works SN.v.462.
  • -kiriyā a good or meritorious action SN.i.87 (˚kriyā), SN.i.101; Pv-a.54; usually as ˚kiriyavatthu item of m. action (of which 3 are usually enumerated see above) DN.iii.218; AN.iv.241; Iti.51; Ne.50, Ne.128
  • -kkhandha mass of merit (only as mahā˚) SN.v.400; AN.iii.337.
  • -kkhaya decay (or waning of the effect) of merit DN.i.18 (cp. āyukkhaya & DN-a.i.110).
  • -kkhetta field of m., epithet of the Sangha or any holy personalities doing good (lit. planting seeds of merit) to whom is a source of future compensation to the benefactor Usually with adj. anuttara unsurpassed field of m. (see also sangha) DN.iii.5, DN.iii.227; MN.i.446; MN.iii.80; SN.i.167, SN.i.220 SN.v.343, SN.v.363, SN.v.382; AN.i.244; AN.ii.34 sq., AN.ii.56, AN.ii.113; AN.iii.158, AN.iii.248 AN.iii.279 sq., AN.iii.387; AN.iv.10 sq., AN.iv.292; Iti.88; Snp.486; Vv.50#31 (cp. Vv-a.216); Pv.iv.1#33 (of a bhikkhu); Vism.220; Vv-a.286; Pv-a.1 (ariyasangha), Pv-a.5 (Moggallāna), Pv-a.6 (arahanto), Pv-a.132, Pv-a.140, Pv-a.214 and passim. Cp. BSk puṇyakṣetra Divy.63, Divy.395 (+ udāra).
  • -paṭipadā the meritorious path, path of m. AN.i.168; Ne.96.
  • -pasavana creation of m. Pv-a.31.
  • -pekkha looking for merit (i.e. reward), intent upon m. SN.i.167; Snp.463 sq. Snp.487 sq.; Dhp.108 (cp. Dhp-a.ii.234).
  • -phala the fruit (or result) of m. action SN.i.217; Pp.51; Dhp-a.ii.4; Pv-a.8 Pv-a.50, Pv-a.52.
  • -bala the power of m. Pv-a.195.
  • -bhāga taking part in meritorious action SN.i.154.
  • -bhāgiya having share in m. MN.iii.72 sq.; Ne.48.
  • -maya = puñña Ja.iv.232 (˚iddhi); cp. BSk. puñyamaya Avs.i.183.

cp. (late) Vedic puṇya favourable, good; etym. not clear, it may be dialectical. The word is explained by Dhammapāla as “santānaṃ punāti visodheti, i.e. cleaning the continuation (of life) Vv-a.19, thus taken to pu. The expln is of course fanciful