Calculated Grasping

Yutang Lin

Calculated grasping degrades merits to karma;
Although gains increase, suffering inescapable.
Dedicating to all beings for their enlightenment
Would help pacify disasters in mundane world.


Some people, even though they are convinced that Dharma practices are beneficial and would generate merits, would not dedicate the merits to others because they are grasping to the possession of merits and to the calculation of gains and losses. When one is so engulfed in working for self-interests, then no matter how great the Dharma services are and how lengthy the Dharma services last, they become merely conditions leading to personal well-being but could not help toward ultimate escape from suffering in transmigration. Human lives are ephemeral and personal efforts are rather limited; consequently, meritorious conditions accumulated under this kind of calculated grasping are rather insignificant in the panoramic view of the Dharmadhatu. Dharma teaches us to be selfless and to cultivate great compassion for all beings; had we acted contrary to such teachings, then how could the results still qualify to be Buddhist merits? All Buddhists should begin, as soon as possible, to cultivate the Bodhi intention, i.e., to have as the essential motive of all one's actions and practices the speedy attainment of full enlightenment of each and every sentient being. Furthermore, all merits thus generated should be immediately dedicated toward this same great goal. Only when our actions are enshrouded completely, from motive beforehand to dedication of merits right afterwards, in such pure Bodhi aspiration could they bring about boundless merits. Life is too short; don't waste energy on circling within the small arena of personal karma but make great use of one's lifetime by dedicating all efforts toward cultivating the infinite wisdom life of all beings.

Written in Chinese on September 6, 2001
Translated on September 7, 2001
El Cerrito, California

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