Making merit by offering to the Sangha will gain countless fruit to the giver like the farmer who plants the crops in a rich soil. Those who wish for heavenly existence and nirvana should choose their merit field wisely. The crop is your faith, planting is offering, the merit field is the Sangha and the yield at harvest time is the merit. If the field is the rich one the result will be tremendous. Merit will be the link for wealth that will be with us every life.
The tripitaka describes that:
“There are these four pairs of eight people of whom the wise men have praised that are the people deserving of offering. They are the Sangha who are disciples of the Lord Buddha. They bring the light into people’s lives by teaching Dhamma. The merit gained from the offering to these people is countless like the vast quantity of water in the ocean.”
Besides making the offering by ourselves, rejoicing in others’ merit making will amazingly give you merit as well. This merit called ‘Pattanumodhamai’. It is a special merit that is overlooked by some. The Lord Buddha said that rejoicing in others’ merit is the merit gaining itself as it is one of the Ten Merit Making Actions which we should see the importance of it. We should rejoice in the merit of others and if it is joyfully and faithfully done it will gain us an unexpected celestial wealth as it happened in the following story.
In the Buddha’s time, Mrs. Visakha, the great supporter to the Lord Buddha and his disciples, has organised and paid for the building of a great hall to be the residence of the Lord Buddha and other Sanghas. The building has 1000 rooms, 500 rooms on each floor. It is so grand that it could be the heavenly abode. The construction was under the supervision of Phra Maha Mokalana, one of the Buddha’s great disciples.
It took 9 months for the construction to finish. At the celebration of this great hall, Mrs. Visakha took 500 friends in for a grand tour of the building. She overjoyed in this offering and said to all her friends that she shared this merit with them and may they rejoice in this merit with her. All her friends rejoiced in the merit and said ‘Sadhu Sadhu, it is very well offered’.
Of all the 500 friends, there is one lady that gave her special rejoicing of the merit. She felt very faithful in the merit as if she had done the merit herself. After she passed away, she was reborn in Tevatimsa (the second level of heaven) in a grand celestial abode.
One day Phra Anurudha was travelling into that realm and saw this friend of Mrs. Visakha. He recognised her and asked her “you have good complexion and glow like the morning star, you have very pleasant voice and beautiful body scent, when you move your hair decorations move with you and make very charming noise. Dear Angle, what merit that you make, gives you this fruitful result.”
The Angle said
“Dear Most Venerable, my friend Mrs. Visakha of Savattee has built a great hall for the Sangha. I witness the offering and rejoicing in that merit faithfully and joyfully and it results in this grand celestial abode complete with roomy residence beautifully decorated beyond the imagination. It fills with joyful music and singing by celestial being. It also includes with golden sand ponds full of fish and different kinds of lotus that give pretty scent carried through by the breeze. The orchard has all kinds of fruit that magically exist. This is the result of rejoicing in my friend’s merit only.”
Phra Anurudha thought that only rejoicing in the merit gave the friend this great result, what about Mrs. Visakha who made that merit herself, what will be the result for her merit. He asked the Angle. She said that Mrs. Visakha was reborn in the fifth level of heaven as she had accumulated a lot more merit in her life time.
The Angle also asked Phra Anurudha to encourage people to make offering to the Sangha deserving of offering and faithfully listen to the Dhamma. It is not easy to be reborn in human form. As long as we are still travelling in the cycle of existence, getting rid of stinginess and other unwholesomeness is part of the key to heaven.
As you can see, rejoicing in others’ merit, results in an unexpected fruitful merit. If you joyfully and faithfully say ‘ Rejoice in your merit’ to others’ merit performing like the Angle in the above story, the fruitful result will happen to you at least 50 percents. Always have good thought towards others and instantly rejoice in the merit if and when you see someone making some merit.
Best of all, do the merit yourself and let others’ rejoice in your merit in stead, be the role model to others and be the refuge to all beings.