My person just came across an answer by Upasak Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena, mentioning:

Also there is a concept of Pin Potha, which is a journal of all good deeds done.


It is an age old custom of the Sri Lankan Buddhists to maintain a record of One's meritorious activities. This record is named PIN POTHA or Merit Book.

Since such is not only a perfect daily reflection means, fitting in the praised Anussatis: Recollection of one's own virtues (silanussati), Recollection of one's own generosity (caganussati), Recollection of the own qualities equal the devas (devatanussati), but also as telling, reminding very sick and dying people on their good deeds as support, my person wonders whether this custom is still alive.

Is such, keeping records of ones merits done, still practiced in Sri Lanka?

And, since it can be used perfect also for the practice of sharing merits and the practice of rejoicing in merits, my person wonders if there are ideas how to make the basic practices more virtual, vital, knowing that modern people are hardly to motivate toward the basic practices. They might possible needs such as a "reputation system", possible implemented in other daily used software or online services.

[Some "experiments" had been done to encourage the nearly death basic section, such as Anumodana or mail-list, next to a section in use, to get some ideas.]

(Note that this is not given for use for trade, exchange, stacks or entertainment but for encouragement toward release and benefical undertakings toward such)

1 Answer 1


As a Sri Lankan, I've heard these in our grand parent times (within last 20-30 years back). With the current lifestyle, everyone has started looking for happiness in outer world, most of the people have forgotten these kind of customs / traditions. This doesn't imply that Pin Potha is no longer active in Sri Lanka, but I should say its very hard to find now a days.

As I've heard the main purpose of this book is, when the owner of the book is about to die and while laying on the bed (Here it's talking about natural death with aging, because that's how the most of the people died in back old days, no sudden heart attacks) someone else starts reading the book to the owner. The concept behind this is, to make his next life a better one ( next birth in human world or heaven not the hell)

How that happens is the bhava in Pratītyasamutpāda is caused by the previous Nidanas. So if he can have good Saṅkhāra (mental fabrication) based on what he hears (from Pin Potha) at the last fractions of seconds, it will results to create a good Bhava. This is the concept behind this action as I've understood.

  • Thank you for the insight. That sounds similar to, stories in which bhikkhus comfort a dying bhikkhu by asking him to reflect on what he has attained through the practice, which was apparently a common way of encouraging a dying bhikkhu to focus his thoughts on the best object possible quoted from page 82 of this.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 14:14
  • It's to lift the mind to access-concentration by Caga-nussati, Sila-Nussati, Deva-anussati. And that one does not get fearful and gain so a higher rebirth.
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 22:58
  • So modern Sri Lankan will not have much support for good rebirth.
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 22:59
  • @SamanaJohann, thing is this is more like a custom or tradition. But according to Dhamma this doesn’t guarantee that the will get a good rebirth. The only guarantee for the good rebirth (not the hell) is being at least a stream entrant. That’s what dhamma says.
    – Isuru
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 1:50
  • Don't say so, don't say so. The state of mind at death is most relvant for ones rebirth! As Upasaka Lal, since more likely to follow householders advices. As you might no the opposit as well, having hold right view, kept silas, if at the moment of death wrong view, one is destinated to hell. It's pure practice and one should train for the time to come the whole life! Ask those learned scriptual Abhidhamma of what determines the rebirth consciousness. Don't spend time with westerns modern, you loose all your good traditions, Dhamma practice.
    – user11235
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 3:13

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