I have read previous posts on this topic here but wanted some clarification. I want to transfer merit (I am familiar and have great faith and practise with the Therevada tradition, and so am interested in this strand of Buddhism...), to someone who is currently experiencing great difficulties and is not open to buddhism or really anything that can help. If I were to transfer merits, it would have to be done without the person knowing and I was wondering if this would give any benefit to the person. Any advice given to this person directly would definitely be unwelcome.....and I want to help in whatever way possible.

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    One who is not related, hasn't given the conditions to receive, can not gain a share. Yet the share isn't done useless, as it's the givers merit and the many able being touched by it, benefit as well, good householder. May you and others be able to take a share on this gift of Dhamma.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 3:50
  • - actually the person in question is related - does that make a difference?
    – Sheila
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 12:03
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    It was clear, good householder, that she talks about a near "blood" relative, but althought sometimes helpful does it not match the meaning of relation here. Simply doing what is good. Whether another is able to take it or not, is his/her thing. Thats an importand lesson, Nyom.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 13:03
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    In relation it's ones duty to wish for helping. But not always direct possible. So likewise in a teacher-disciple relation under monks, 1. try personally (without lifting one self is other is elder), if not working 2. try to find other relatives, friends, he/she would listen. if not working as well: one keeps up the wish and possible waits for the right chance. mn103 gives also stepps in regard of it.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 4:18

2 Answers 2


It was once said that...

If you were to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving and sacrificing and encouraging others to do the same, no merit comes of that, and no outcome of merit. --SN42.13

A more effective approach to merit is given in AN5.45:

When a mendicant enters and remains in a limitless immersion of heart while using a robe … alms-food … lodging … bed and chair … medicines and supplies for the sick, the overflowing of merit for the donor is limitless … These are the five kinds of overflowing merit, overflowing goodness. They nurture happiness, and are conducive to heaven, ripening in happiness, and leading to heaven. They lead to what is likable, desirable, agreeable, to welfare and happiness.

Merit flows as gifts are used towards progress along the Noble Eightfold Path.


According to Buddhist teaching, you can transfer merits only to the departed relatives living in the Peta realm. You can't transfer merits to a living human.

  • Nonsense. Sharing merits, rejoicing with merits of others, are two importand ways within punnakiriyavatthu, householder. How would the Buddha ever had taught living beings? Why do people receive alms? That's micca ditthi. Grave one.
    – user11235
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 3:52

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