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Ten ways of making merit (dasapuñña-kiriyavatthu) in Theravāda exegetical literature and contemporary Sri Lankan practice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Theravada Buddhism
Publisher or commissioning bodyRoutledge
DateIn preparation - 2020


The canonical Buddhist lists of "precepts” (sikkhāpada) which, much like the ten commandments, define behaviour that is to be avoided, are well known and much written about. In contrast the commentarial list of “Ten ways of making merit” (puññakiriyavatthu), which outline the recommended religious and ethical behaviour for Buddhists in positive terms, has received very little comment in the scholarly literature, despite it being well known in Theravāda Buddhist countries. Verses on the “Ten ways of making merit” first occur in the 5th-century Abhidhammāvatāra (attributed to Bhuddhadatta) and commentaries (attributed to Buddhaghosa). The chapter will look at the concept of the “Ten bases of making merit” as a whole. The main focus will be on the Pali texts but will also briefly explore the relevance for contemporary practice in Sri Lanka.


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