8 ways for making merit

Jul 25, 2014

MeritMakingTitle Making merit involves with Buddhist laymen in Thailand all day and all year long. Making merit is a famous activity for the Thai people while they visit the temple. Thais believe in reincarnation or life after death. Making merit is one way to accumulate good deed that may necessary for using in the future. Some believe, it will help to decease the bad luck and bad situation do not to get any worse. The way of making merit (บุญกิริยาวัตถุ)is divided into 3 parts, Tan (ทาน Giving), Sil (ศีล Follow precept) and Pavana (ภาวนาpray). This blog is talking about Tan (giving) part which is related to giving objects and ritual activities. It is the first step or basic of making merit process. The result of this making merit could make you feel good and happy as givers always feel good.

Food offering in the morning

Food offering to monk in the morningThis practice, known as “Tak Bat” in Thai, is a way for Buddhists to make merit and support the monastic community. Every morning, Thai people will offer food, flower, snack, and drink for the monk. Then, they will listen to the monk chanting or sermon in return. This is the best way to start the day by supporting the Buddhism. In the old day, people cook food by them own and serve Food offering to monk in the morningthe best thing for the monk first. Now a day, you may see this activity at the local market.Offering food to monks is a meaningful way to engage with Thai culture, practice generosity, and support the monastic community. By participating in this tradition, you can gain insights into the importance of humility, gratitude, and the interconnectedness of all beings.

Release the fishes , flogs or Turtles to river near the temple

bird release Releasing animals such as fish, frogs, or turtles into a river or other natural habitat is a common practice in some cultures, including certain Buddhist traditions in Asia. This practice is often seen as a way to generate merit, which is considered a positive force that contributes to one’s spiritual progress and well-being in Buddhist beliefs. The act of releasing animals is based on the principle of compassion and the desire to save lives. By giving these animals a chance to return to their natural environment, practitioners believe they are performing a virtuous deed. This practice is often linked to the Buddhist teaching of mettā (loving-kindness) and the intention to reduce harm to sentient beings. When you visit the temple, you saw the lived fishes in the tank. People buy those fishes and release in the river or the pond near the temple. The local think that is an activity to rescue other life and some people will not eat that kind fish for whole life. Some dedicated this for their illness old relative and which they feel better from sickness or health. Making Merit ทำบุญIf you’re interested in participating in animal release as a form of making merit, it’s important to approach the practice with mindfulness and awareness. It’s a good idea to consult with local experts or organizations to ensure that the release is done in a way that respects both the well-being of the animals and the environment. Additionally, it’s recommended to seek guidance from respected sources within the relevant cultural or religious context to understand the practice fully and its potential implications.

Listen to the sermon

Monk chat and meditation talk in Chiang maiTemples in Thailand often host regular dhamma talks and sermons by monks. These talks can cover a variety of topics related to Buddhist teachings, meditation, ethics, and more. Morning and evening, you can see old people go there to join the chanting ceremony. It takes about 30-45 minute to sit still and listen to rhyme chanting in the main hall. At the end, Buddhist monk may discuss or provide speech related to lessen of life. Meditation is a mental practice that involves focusing one’s attention and eliminating the stream of thoughts that typically occupy the mind. It’s often used as a technique for relaxation, self-awareness, and personal growth. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in various cultures and spiritual traditions around the world. The main goal of meditation is to train the mind to achieve a state of clarity, inner calm, and heightened awareness.Meditation ฟังธรรม Meditation usually involves focusing the mind on a specific object, thought, sound, or sensation. This could be the breath, a mantra (a repeated word or phrase), a candle flame, or even the sensations in the body.  Meditation aims to create a sense of inner calm and tranquility. Through practice, you learn to quiet the mind’s constant chatter and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Meditation ฟังธรรมSome monasteries might also have public talks or retreats where you can listen to a monk’s teachings. These events might require advance planning, so it’s a good idea to check their websites or contact them in advance. During major Buddhist festivals or holidays, some temples host larger gatherings and special sermons. Visiting during these times could provide you with the opportunity to listen to a monk’s preaching.


Meditation is one way to understand your own mind. There are so many things that you need to think of in your life. MeditationIt makes people easy to lose focus and hard to concentrate. Meditation is a way of focusing on one thing such as your breathing, moving or chanting. Regular meditation can help you become more aware of your thought patterns and habits, leading to increased self-understanding and personal growth. After all, you will know to control your mind and think. Thais learn meditation from Buddhist monks. However, this active can practice at home and in daily life too. Check for meditation tour program here.

Pid Tong (Apply gold leaf ปิดทองพระพุทธรูปหรือปิดทองลูกนิมิตร)

“Pid Tong” (ปิดทอง) refers to the traditional Thai practice of applying gold leaf to Buddhist statues or other sacred objects. This practice is also known as “gilding” in English. The term “Pid Tong” translates to “covering with gold.” It’s a symbolic and respectful act that holds spiritual significance in Thai culture, especially within the context of Buddhism. In this practice, thin sheets of gold leaf are delicately placed onto the surface of a Buddha statue or other revered objects, such as stupas or amulets. The intention behind Pid Tong is to show devotion, honor, and respect to the Buddha or the sacred object. The gold represents purity and enlightenment, and the act of applying gold leaf is considered a form of merit-making. Thais brings gold leave to apply to the Buddha statue as part of major things when they visit a temple. There are many explanations about this act but no conclusion yet.Making Merit ทำบุญ When the new main chapel is going to build, we are going to put Louk nimit under ground, a kind of spiritual big ball. There will be big cerebration for Louk Nimit and people will apply gold leaf on it too. It is one of the greatest making merit for local communities.

Bring soy milk for evening session (ถวายน้ำปานะ)

“ถวายน้ำปานะ” (Towai Nam Pana) is a traditional Thai Buddhist practice of offering liquids, often water or other beverages, as a form of merit-making and respect to monks and the Triple Gem (the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha). The Buddhist monks are not allowed to eat after noon. During the Buddhist rain retreat, people gather and meditate in the evening at the temple. Therefore, bring soy milk is one of the drinks that Buddhist monk allow to have is one activity that people do. While soy milk is a suitable option, you can also offer other types of liquids that are commonly used in this practice. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Water: Pure water is the most common and traditional choice for offering. It symbolizes purity, clarity, and the essential element of life.
Herbal Drinks: Herbal teas or infusions can be a thoughtful and healthful option for offering. These can include floral teas, chamomile, or other non-caffeinated herbal blends.
Fruit Juices: Natural fruit juices, such as orange juice, apple juice, or grape juice, can be offered as a refreshing and nutritious choice.
Coconut Water: Coconut water is considered pure and hydrating. It’s commonly associated with tropical regions and is often used as an offering.
Flower-Infused Water: Infusing water with petals of edible flowers like jasmine, rose, or chrysanthemum can create a visually appealing and aromatic offering.
Tea: Traditional tea, whether black, green, or herbal, can be offered as a symbolic gesture of respect and mindfulness.
Clear Soft Drinks: Clear carbonated drinks or clear sodas can be offered as an alternative option.
Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Non-alcoholic versions of drinks like beer or wine can be offered, maintaining the symbolism of liquids without the alcohol content.
Milk Alternatives: Besides soy milk, other plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk can be used for offering.
Distilled Water: Highly purified distilled water can be offered as a symbol of purity and clarity.
When selecting the type of liquid for your offering, consider the symbolism associated with the liquid and its appropriateness for the setting. It’s also a good idea to inquire with local temple staff or practitioners to ensure that your choice aligns with the temple’s customs and practices. Ultimately, the intention behind the offering is what matters most, so approach the practice with a sincere heart and a respectful attitude.

Give Sankatan (สังฆทาน) to the monk

Meditation ฟังธรรมSankatan refers to the act of making a special offering or donation to monks in Thai Buddhism. This offering is often done on significant occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or other auspicious events, as a way to accrue merit and share blessings. Sankatan is a basket or set of utensil which contain of necessary thing to use in Buddhist monk daily life such as pin, medicine, detergent, salt ,  flash light , toothbrush, water and etc. People give that for the temple without specific the recipient. You can offer supplies that are used by the monks or the temple, such as candles, incense, flowers, and ceremonial items. However, it’s common to offer money as a form of support and generosity. The head of Buddhist monk will share these resources among their group later. Give Sankatan สังฆทานIf you’re interested in experiencing a Sankatan (สังฆทาน) offering firsthand, especially during your visit to Thailand, you can check with you local operator or guide. They can provide guidance on what items to offer, the proper protocol, and the best times to visit. Many temples organize special events, festivals, or ceremonies where Sankatan offerings are made. Check the temple’s schedule or inquire with locals to find out if there’s an upcoming event. After making your offering, take a moment to express your gratitude to the monks or temple staff. If you’re curious, feel free to ask questions to learn more about the practice and its significance. making merit ทำบุญWhen deciding what to offer for Sankatan, consider the practical needs of the monks and the temple community. Your intention to give and support is what matters most. Before making your offering, you can inquire with the temple staff or local practitioners to get an idea of their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, it’s a good idea to adhere to any guidelines or customs set by the temple for Sankatan offerings.

Vian Tean (เวียนเทียน)

Vian tean is an activity held at night. People will light the candle and light the incense stick and walk around the main chapel to warship the lord Buddha for special events such as entering and ending of Buddhist rain retreat or Makabusha for instance. Give Sankatan สังฆทานThis practice is also commonly known as “circumambulation” in English. It involves walking clockwise around a particular point or area, usually in a temple or shrine. You can select a temple, shrine, stupa, or sacred object where you would like to perform the Vian Tean practice. This could be a revered statue of the Buddha, a stupa containing relics, or a sacred tree. Vian Tean เวียนเทียน Dress in appropriate and modest attire, covering your shoulders and knees, as a sign of respect when entering a temple or sacred area. As you walk, engage in the practice mindfully. Focus your thoughts on the teachings of the Buddha, cultivate a sense of gratitude, or engage in your personal prayers or reflections. Some individuals choose to recite Buddhist mantras or chants while performing Vian Tean. This can help enhance the meditative and spiritual aspect of the practice. You can complete the circuit around the sacred object or area once, several times, or as many times as you feel inclined. The number of circuits can have personal significance. When you have completed the desired number of circuits, pause for a moment of reflection and gratitude. You may choose to leave offerings such as flowers, incense, or candles at the sacred object or shrine as a symbol of respect and devotion. While performing Vian Tean, be mindful of your surroundings and the people around you. Maintain a sense of tranquility and respect for the sacred space.
Donation to others
Donating money to charity is considered a significant and highly meritorious practice in Buddhism. This act of generosity is known as “dana” in Pali, the language of the Buddhist scriptures. Dana, or giving, is one of the fundamental virtues in Buddhism and is seen as a way to accumulate positive karma (merit) and cultivate a generous and compassionate heart. Making donations, whether it’s money, food, clothing, or other necessities, is believed to create positive karma that leads to beneficial outcomes in this life and future lives. It’s considered a way to support one’s own spiritual development and well-being. In addition to monetary donations, giving can also involve offering one’s time, skills, or resources for the benefit of others. The purity of one’s intention when making a donation is emphasized. Giving should come from a genuine desire to help and make a positive impact, rather than seeking praise or recognition. In Buddhism, there are various types of recipients for charitable giving, including monastics (monks and nuns), the needy, the sick, and those engaged in various forms of spiritual practice. The act of giving is seen as a source of joy and happiness. The happiness that arises from giving is considered a form of spiritual wealth. There is more making merit related to Buddhist event and inside the temple. Visitors can see more things going on in Thai temples. Feel free to ask your local guide to explain the event. Or join our temple tour or meditation tour which our tour guide will explain more detail for you. Return from Making Merit Page to Home Page

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