Merit is a fundamental notion in Buddhist ethics. It is a beneficial and protective force which accumulates because of good deeds, acts, or thoughts. Merit making is important to Buddhist practice: merit brings good and agreeable results, determines the quality of the next life and contributes to a person’s growth towards enlightenment. In addition, merit is also shared with a deceased loved one, to help the deceased in their new existence. 

Despite modernization, merit-making remains essential in traditional Buddhist countries and has had a significant impact on the rural economies in these countries. [2] The opposite of Merit is Demerit. Demerit brings retribution, and weakens the merit already accumulated. A mixture of the two generates mixed results in a person’s life.

In the world of a shamanism, the soul or spirit may not go immediately to the next physical form. They may linger for some reason in the current world as a non-physical essence and may attach themselves to a physical person and if malevolent, the soul may hurt or damage the physical person they have attached to. The soul damage manifests itself as illness, or even cause the physical person to do harm to others.

Mt. Kailash is sacred to other religions as well. The Jains call the mountain Astapada and believe it to be the place where Rishaba, the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras attained liberation.

In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day. Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word ‘manas’ means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.

From: The Practical Shaman: