In Buddhism, the idea that the performance of voluntary good works will ensure a fortunate rebirth, perhaps as a wealthy, powerful, or talented male. There are three ways in which merit can be accumulated: through adherence to moral principles (sila), such as refraining from drunkenness, illicit sexual practices, or killing; through the practice of meditation; and through charitable donations (dana) to monks or religious institutions. The last is most common among ordinary Burmese Buddhists, and includes giving food and other offerings to monks, sponsoring a shinbyu or ordination ceremony for a boy, and building or repairing a pagoda. Construction of a new pagoda is believed by many Burmese to be the most effective way to accumulate merit, though usually only the rich and powerful can sponsor it. Propagating Buddhist teachings is also a major source of kutho. Merit can be shared with or transferred to others (including possibly the deceased). The doing of bad deeds accumulates akutho (demerit), with negative consequences for rebirth.
   See also Kamma.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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