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( Full Moon in the Chinese Seventh Month)
Quoted from : Wayne Woo
email :
Newsgroups: talk.religion.buddhism
Date: Sunday, August 17, 1997

Today, the full moon day of the 7th lunar month, the 2540th year after the Parinibbana of the Buddha, is the day we celebrate Ullambana. This festival is in rememberance of the Venerable Moggallana, who under the advice of the Buddha, made offerings to the Sangha in order to liberate his departed mother from the Peta realm.

On this day, Buddhists in Asia make many offerings to the Sangha in their respective countries, and transfer all the great merit generated to their departed parents or ancestors, so that they may be find bliss in their present existences. This is how we express filial piety to them, as the Venerable Moggallana did more than 2 thousand years ago. Other charitable acts are also performed with the hope that all other beings in the sorrowful states be liberated to happier realms. Through these actions we build greater compassion.

May all beings be well and happy.


The Sanskrit word , Ullambana means "saving people from acute suffering".
Observing the festival is good as it is in keeping with our cultural
heritage .
Quoted from Wong Yew Kwan
The Straits Times 2 September 1997

Transference of merit


What is the basis in the Pali cannon for transference of merit by sponsoring prayer or sutta recitation? I practise in the Tibetan tradition and sponsor prayer for the dead, living, and sick people but am wondering where this custom/practice started.


In one of the minor books of the Khuddaka Nikaya there is passage concerning this. The story, partly commentorial, is that King Bimbisara gave a meal for the monks and was subsequently troubled at night by the wailing of ghosts. The Buddha explained that this was because he failed to offer any of the merit to his deceased relatives. He gave another meal and transferred merit thereby pacifying the ghosts.

This has caused some difficulty in the exegesis, because according to strict theory karmas cannot be made for another. The explanation arrived at is that when one transfers merit the beings in the ghost realm rejoice and rejoicing in the wholesome is itself a good karma.

Hope this helps.

Punnadhammo Bhikkhu
Arrow River Community Center
Email: .

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