Chapter 9. Qualitative & Quantitative Practice in Buddhism

Qualitative & Quantitative Practice in Buddhism

Quality & Quantity are the juxtaposition contrasted in many study including economics.  This concept can be applied to express and comprehend Buddhist practice as well.

In term of quality or qualitative, we give priority to the quality of our thought, speech, and action in term of purity and intensity of virtues, and this is called the ‘cultivation of merit.’

For the quantity or quantitative, we regard the quantity (volume or frequency) of our virtuous thought, speech, and action, in the form of ‘accumulation of merit.’

Thus, it is the ideal in Dhammonomics to achieve both quality and quantity of our Buddhist practice as much as possible, meaning that we have frequent thought, speech, and action which are strongly virtuous and very pure altogether.  With cultivation over the accumulation, the merit is ‘perfected’ in a timely manner.

According to our graph, we have Quality (Q1) as vertical axis and Quantity (Q2) as horizontal axis, and there is a merit curve with two plots whereas the first plot is the value of merit cultivation (m1) and the second plot is the value of merit accumulation (m2).  As perfected virtue or perfection requires cultivation over the accumulation of merit, the highlighted overlap area is the ‘perfected virtue.’

The concept of Qualitative & Quantitative Practice in Buddhism helps us to understand better about pursuit of perfections in Buddhism since many Buddhists make merit with an aim for quantity of merit energy alone with less accountable for cultivation of virtue.  So, this chapter raises the concern over the mutual progressive qualitative cultivation and quantitative accumulation of merit within the required period of time in order to empower the elimination of mental defilement and enable the fruition of enlightenment which is the very goal of Buddhism.

By Pittaya Wong

9 August 2018