Question: I heard online, that it is not good to dedicate merits directly to loved ones who are not well, that there should be dedication to their karmic creditors instead, who might be the ’cause’ of their lack of well-being. If not, this might lead to danger, incurring the wrath of the karmic creditors. Is this true?
Answer: It is very dangerous to learn randomly online, as some wrong ideas might pop up here and there, accepted without knowing. Some information with unqualified writers and controversial sources can have a subtle mix of right with wrong ideas too, making it difficult to discern what is true and what is not. For example, if you did not ask about this, you might have accepted a wrong idea.
There is no danger in practising proper dedication the way it is traditionally done. It is a Bodhisattva practice, that all should practise. When we dedicate merits, it is always to all beings: https://purelanders.com/2010/03/15/the-pureland-way-of-sharing-merits. This is always safe and effective.
This will naturally include loved ones AND karmic creditors. This is to practise universal compassion and generosity to all beings. If there is particular concern for loved ones, all should still be dedicated to first, with optional adding of the names of loved ones after dedication to all, to express the concern more clearly. You can also add another line – ‘May the karmic creditors of so-and-so, also be benefitted.’
If only karmic creditors are dedicated to, the main persons you wish to help cannot be helped directly – especially if there might be no external karmic creditors currently involved in his or her suffering, although suspecting there to be. Also, ‘settling’ one possible karmic creditor does not mean there is end of all other forms of negative karma affecting loved ones.
Thus, always dedicate to all beings. Of course, there should be offering of guidance in person too, to offer wisdom on how to handle the suffering, such as by seeking other appropriate help, going vegan and practising mindfulness of Buddha to eradicate negative karma and for protection.
Who Are Your Karmic Creditors