David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Asian Philosophy 10 (3):189 – 204 (2000)
There are uses of the term merit in Indian religions which also appear in secular contexts, but in addition there are other uses that are not encountered outside religion. Transfer of merit is a specific doctrine in whose connection the term merit is used with an intention which is not the same as that found in nonreligious contexts. Two main types of transfer of merit can be distinguished. First, the transfer of merit has been associated with certain ritual practices in Hinduism and in Buddhism. Another main type of transfer of merit is connected with Mahāyāna belief in bodhisattvas' loving-kindness towards other beings. In the orthodox Hindu schools, in Hnayāna Buddhism and in Jainism, transfer of merit has been rejected on account of the doctrine of karma according to which the person can acquire karmic outcomes for only those actions he or she has performed by himself.
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