Merit Transference

Merit transference (Skt. parinamana) is an entirely natural process, in which we share the beneficial results of our acts with other beings, through an act of dedication.  

Although some persons consider that transference is somehow a denial of the law of karma, even a quick analysis will convince us that it is both real and common. In ordinary experience, it is customary to transfer wealth through gifts of goods and services, to transfer knowledge through the educational process, and to transfer protection through granting asylum and solace to the unfortunate. 

Parents transfer the fruit of their labor to their children; teachers transfer the fruit of their studies to their disciples; the strong and powerful transfer the fruit of their influence to the weak. Transference also occurs when we allow others to benefit from our actions, as when we produce riches for our employers, or allow our superiors to take credit for our ideas and efforts. 

It is not only merit that can be transferred; we can also accept the results of others’ negative karma. This process is also more common than we may at first imagine. Every day, people accept the suffering of others as their own, with the intention to protect and favor them. When we perform a favor for a stranger, assume the debts of a friend or relative, or take responsibility for the errors of our colleagues at work, we are voluntarily accepting the negative karma of others.  

Dharma teachers simply have taken this natural process of transference and placed it at the service of spiritual cultivation. It is neither unusual nor surprising, then, that the masters dedicate their merit and accept the suffering of others as their own.

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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6 Responses to Merit Transference

  1. Cheryla says:

    This posting on transference is very helpful. Although I have practiced Hatha Yoga for many years, for the past year I have found myself silently dedicating the health benefits from my practice to specific friends in need (eg, to one I send healthy back to another, stronger hands).
    No one advised me to do this. It just seems right now to have the benefits go beyond myself. To know somehow their suffering is transformed, even a tiny bit helps my practice become richer.
    To know it is a natural process which supports compassion and equanimity is a bonus!

  2. MindMindful says:

    I’ve never thought of how much transference happens. Put this way, it seems like it’s happening so much of the time, we might as WELL include our spiritual practice too. Thanks for this:)

  3. MindMindful says:

    I know you keep your blog very uncluttered, but I’m giving you this anyway:) I’m awarding you the Very Inspiring Blogger Award – you deserve it, because you DO inspire me! Go to my post to learn the ‘rules’ & get the badge to display on YOUR blog

  4. MindMindful says:

    Reblogged this on MindMindful and commented:
    Put in these terms, we are ‘transfering’ something to someone much of the time, whether we know it or not; whether we intend it or not. So — why not transfer our highest aspirations?

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