What do you have to do in order to transfer merit. Do you just do something wholesome, and wish for someone else to receive the karmic result? Etc…?


4 Answers 4


From the book What Buddhists Believe by Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera:

Buddhism also teaches that the acquired merit can be transferred to others' it can be shared vicariously with others. In other words, the merit is 'reversible' and so can be shared with other persons. The persons who receive the merit can be either living or departed ones.

The method for transferring merits is quite simple. First some good deeds are performed. The doer of the good deeds has merely to wish that the merit he has gained accrues to someone in particular, or to 'all beings'. This wish can be purely mental or it can accompanied by an expression of words.

This wish could be made with the beneficiary being aware of it. When the beneficiary is aware of the act or wish, then a mutual 'rejoicing in' merit takes place. Here the beneficiary becomes a participant of the original deed by associating himself with the deed done. If the beneficiary identifies himself with both the deed and the doer, he can sometimes acquire even greater merit than the original doer, either because his elation is greater or because his appreciation of the value of the deed is based on his understanding of Dhamma and, hence, more meritorious, Buddhist texts contain several stories of such instances.

The 'joy of transference of merits' can also take place with or without the knowledge of the doer of the meritorious act. All that is necessary is for the beneficiary to feel gladness in his heart when he becomes aware of the good deed. If he wishes, he can express his joy by saying 'sadhu' which means 'well done'. What he is doing is creating a kind of mental or verbal applause. In order to share the good deed done by another, what is important is that there must be actual approval of the deed and joy arising in the beneficiary's heart.

I encourage you to read the whole page devoted to this (linked above). There is a lot of interesting supplemental information including the reasons for transferring merit to the deceased and the right and wrong way to go about doing this.

The Author refers to the Tirokudda Kanda sutta which you may find interesting.


Dhamma Greetings user5380,

at the end of each Dhamma talk, my teacher recites the following to share the merit of that talk with the Devas and Nagas:

May suffering ones, be suffering free

And the fear-struck, fearless be

May the grieving shed all grief

And may all beings find relief.

May all beings share this merit that we have thus acquired

For the acquisition of all kinds of happiness.

May beings inhabiting space and earth

Devas and nagas of mighty power

Share this merit of ours.

May they long protect the

Lord Buddha's dispensation.

Sadhu ... Sadhu... Sadhu...

Best Wishes,



Yes, you may do something (chant, good karma) and simply intend for that karma to go to the destination of your choice.

In Buddhism, there is metta practice. This is worthy of reading in-depth. You will see the whole process that you wish to see and come out feeling really happy and wonderful.

A light intention is enough, although staying in this loving state is good and recommended.

I would be careful though about expecting too much or wondering if its working. Just believe that it works. Have faith. Doubt will impede. We don't always know what is best and sometimes a bit of suffering brings out something beautiful in the person (eventually). Anyway, let go of your expectations and expansively wish for the best--because we do not know what is best for others with certainty. We don't even know this for ourselves.

Non-buddhist keywords to research to understand how this oneness works: unified field theory, faith healing, yang shen bodies


the 165th verse of the Dhammapada, the 9th verse of its Attavagga, says

Attanā hi kataṃ pāpaṃ,
attanā saṅkilissati;
Attanā akataṃ pāpaṃ,
attanāva visujjhati;
Suddhī asuddhi paccattaṃ,
nāñño aññaṃ visodhaye.

By oneself is evil done;
by oneself is one defiled.
By oneself is evil left undone;
by oneself is one made pure.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
no one can purify another.

the Kaladana sutta (AN 5.36) says

At the proper time, those wise,
charitable, and generous folk
give a timely gift to the noble ones,
who are stable and upright;
given with a clear mind,
one’s offering is vast.

Those who rejoice in such deeds
or who provide other service
do not miss out on the offering;
they too partake of the merit.

Therefore, with a non-regressing mind,
one should give a gift where it yields great fruit.
Merits are the support of living beings
when they arise in the other world.

these passages indicate impossibility of merit transfer or sharing, but recognize the possibility of taking part in other's merit making by rejoicing of their wholesome deeds or providing assistance in them.

but neither of the passages is attributed directly to the Buddha

here's what the Buddha says according to the suttas

in the Culakammavibhanga sutta (MN 135)

beings are owners of their actions, heirs of their actions; they originate from their actions, are bound to their actions, have their actions as their refuge. It is action that distinguishes beings as inferior and superior.

in the recount of a parable in the Devaduta sutta (MN 130, AN 3.36)

that evil kamma of yours was neither done by your mother, nor done by your father, nor done by your brother, nor done by your sister, nor done by your friends & companions, nor done by your kinsmen & relatives, nor done by the devas. That evil kamma was done by you yourself, and you yourself will experience its result.

these seem to indicate that kamma is only personal which in turn implies that one cannot acquire a wholesome kamma without ever performing a wholesome act and making conscious effort at spiritual development as in case of unbeknownst reception of merit from somebody. otherwise it would mean undermining the concept of the Noble Eightfold Path as a way to awakening by dint of purely personal effort.

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