FAQ For Beginners

FAQ For Beginners

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About Little House
About Daily Recitation
Must One Recite In Front Of The Altar?
Can One Recite Without Having An Altar At Home?
Offering Heart Incense
Ways To Store A Recitation Booklet
Feeling Tired and Sleepy When Performing Recitation
Performing Recitations and Paying Respect To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas During Menstruation
Regarding Changing Names
After Performing Recitations, Will This Easily Attract Foreign Spirits To Occupy Our Body?
The Number Of Candles And Oil Lamps To Be Placed On The Altar For Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Time and Number Of Incense Offerings, Grand Incense, Incense Burner, etc.
Relocate Altar To A New Place
How To Make Offerings To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas When We Are Away From Home?
About Little House

There are two types of illness in human. Any type of illness that could not be explained, diagnosed, treated or cured medically, it is called spiritual illness. The foreign spirits that occupy the body of a living person are usually deceased relatives or close friends, aborted or miscarried child. People who had conflicts with the person in the past, or foreign spirits in the house.  If foreign spirits have been occupying a person’s body for an extended period of time, this person would experience physical illness, bad temper, misfortune, and facing difficulties in career or studies.

In the Age of Dharma Decline, with the recitation of Little Houses, we are able to eliminate our karmic obstacles due to negative karma, and transfer merits to foreign spirits and help them to proceed to a better place.

About Daily Recitation

Daily Recitation  is the fixed number of sutras and mantras to be recited everyday. Typically, you can recite the Great  Compassion Mantra 3 times, Heart Sutra 3 times,  Eighty eight Buddhas Great Repentance once, and Cundi Dharani 21 times.

Performing Daily Recitation is as important as daily food intakes, and it is like earning an income for daily living expenses. On the other hand, recitation of the Little Houses (Hsiao Fang Tzi), is like making mortgage or loan repayments.

Please take note that, Sutras and mantras recited for Daily Recitation cannot be counted towards the Little House. You need to make separate prayers for Daily Recitation and the Little House. The number of sutras and mantras recited for Daily Recitation and the Little House should also be counted separately.

Must One Recite In Front Of The Altar?

If you have memorized the sutras and mantras, you can recite while doing house chores, driving or even at work as long as the environment is suitable and clean. In other cases, you can seek forgiveness from Guan Yin Bodhisattva before you start your recitations.

Can One Recite Without Having An Altar At Home?

Yes, you can. You may offer Heart Incense before you start your daily recitations.

When you offer Heart Incense, you should visualise the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva in front of you. You visualise that you are making an oil lamp offering, followed by taking an incense and lighting the incense, joining your palms together,and then raise the incense above your forehead between your eyebrows. Then you visualise that you are placing the incense into the incense pot, making full prostrations, and saying your prayers in your mind.

It is the same as prostrating in the temple.

Suitable for those who do not have an altar at home, on holidays, driving or walking. One must offer heart incense before recitations.

Kindly take note: You can only make incense offerings if you have an altar at home where you pay respects and make offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas everyday. For images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on computer screens, printed on sutra booklets, or other statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that you do not pay respects and make offerings to every day, they would not have the energy field of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If you are making incense offerings to these statues or images, then you are actually making offerings to heaven and Earth, and all the spiritual beings around you would be able to come and accept your offerings. This involves risks and may invite unnecessary trouble.

Offering Heart Incense

If you do not have an altar at home or when you are on business trips or on holidays, you can offer Heart Incense.

Method: When you offer Heart Incense, you are visualising that the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva is in front of you. You visualise that you are making an oil lamp offering, followed by taking an incense and lighting the incense, joining your palms together,and then raising the incense above your forehead between your eyebrows. Then you visualise that you are placing the incense into the incense pot, making full prostrations, and saying your prayers in your mind. 

Kindly take note: You can only make incense offerings if you have an altar at home where you pay respects and make offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas everyday. For images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on computer screens, printed on sutra booklets, or other statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that you do not pay respects and make offerings to every day, they would not have the energy field of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. If you are making incense offerings to these statues or images, then you are actually making offerings to heaven and Earth, and all the spiritual beings around you would be able to come and accept your offerings. This involves risks and may  invite unnecessary trouble.

Ways To Store A Recitation Booklet

When it comes to keeping the recitations booklet, on strict terms, it is not allowed to be kept in dirty places nor handled by dirty hands, it cannot be folded, it must not be placed on a stool or anywhere below your belly level etc.

For example, it is best not to be kept near the bathroom, and also with other reading materials such as pornographic materials. It is better to place it flat, facing upwards than keeping it upright as some recitation booklets have Buddha and Bodhisattva’s image which may cause spiritual imbalance. It is fine for booklets that contain only recitation scriptures to be kept upright.

Feeling Tired and Sleepy When Performing Recitation

Feeling sleepy while performing recitations:

  • Your body may just be exhausted. In this case, it is best not to perform recitations, because the effectiveness would be reduced.
  • If you experience sleepiness only when you recite particular sutra or mantra, then it may indicate that your recitation for that sutra or mantra is relatively well performed. As you perform recitations, your body is getting recharged, and when you take in the positive energy, your body is relaxed and you feel comfortable. This could also cause sleepiness.
  • If you experience sleepiness when you recite the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) or the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou), then you should be cautious. It would be best for you to recite them during day time or on a sunny day when the “Yang” energy is at its peak.
  • If you experience sleepiness when you recite the Heart Sutra or the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra, then you should be cautious. It would be best for you to recite them during day time or on a sunny day when the “Yang” energy is at its peak.
  • In addition to sleepiness, if you also experience headache or dizziness, then it is possible that your Karmic Creditor is asking you to repay your karmic debts.
  • If you do not have any of the conditions described above, yet you still feel sleepy as soon as you start performing recitations, then you should use your willpower to persistently perform recitations, fight against your sleepiness, and practise Buddhism vigorously and enthusiastically.
Performing Recitations and Paying Respect To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas During Menstruation

It is absolutely alright for females to perform their Daily Recitation, as well as to recite and burn Little Houses during menstruation.

It is best to recite the Little Houses during day time when it is sunny. You should stop reciting as soon as you feel discomfort.

After showering, you can make incense offerings, perform full postrations to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and burn Little Houses.

Regarding Changing Names

Generally, you should use the name that is written on your birth certificate, as it would be the name that is recognized by the spiritual world. However, if you have changed your name for over one year, then it is possible that your new name already has dynamic spiritual effects. To be certain, it is best to lodge the Application for Name Change after you have changed your name, and then use your new name when you  recite Little Houses.

After Performing Recitations, Will This Easily Attract Foreign Spirits To Occupy Our Body?

It is relatively easier for foreign spirits to occupy the body of a person who does not perform recitations. If we perform recitations and cultivate our mind, foreign spirits can only occupy our body under certain conditions.

It requires particular karmic conditions and timing for foreign spirits to occupy our body. They are usually pre-determined from our past or present lives, or from events where we have shown disrespect to the spirits, or we have made inappropriate comments and unintentionally offended the spirits (for example, saying something improper when we trip over).

 

The Number Of Candles And Oil Lamps To Be Placed On The Altar For Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

The best number of candles and oil lamps to be placed on the altar for Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

  • Generally, the number of Buddha’s lights, or oil lamps should be the same as the number of statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the altar. Otherwise, use a pair of oil lamps or just one oil lamp for the whole altar.
  • If you are making offerings to one statue or image of Buddha or Bodhisattva, it is best to offer one oil lamp. Offering two oil lamps are also acceptable.
  • If you are offering candles, it is best to offer red candles and to have them in pair (e.g. two red candles). It is also alright if you do not make candle offerings.
  • You should put off the oil lamps and candles after you’ve completed full prostrations, or before the incense has completely finished burning. The burning of oil lamps and candles without offering incense tends to attract foreign spirits.
  • You can use electrical lotus lamps or candle lights, provided that you are also offering real oil lamps and candles on the altar at the same time. You should not leave the lamps or lights on 24 hours a day. In general, you can switch them on before you make incense offerings and perform full prostrations, and then switch them off before the incense finishes burning.
  • Before the incense completely finish burning, put off the candles, then put off the oil lamps, and then switch off the electric lamps or candles. When you put off the candles and oil lamps, never blow them off. You can use a lid to put off the flame.
  • Leaving lotus lamps or candle lights on for a long period of time can easily attract foreign spirits.
Time and Number Of Incense Offerings, Grand Incense, Incense Burner, etc.
  • You must make incense offering once in the morning and once at night. The time for incense offering should be kept consistent and the best times in the morning are 6am, 8am and 10am, and the best times in the evening are 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. In between these times when you are performing your daily recitations or reciting Little Houses, you may also make incense offering. You can also make incense offering continuously.
  • If you have many statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the altar, it is best to have one incense burner for each Buddhas and Bodhisattva and offers one incense stick on normal day. Every 1st and 15th day of Lunar Month, The Birthday, Enlightenment Day, and Renunciation Day of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, on these special days, you can offer three incense sticks. You can also use one incense burner for the whole altar, but offers three incense sticks instead of one.
  • Every 1st and 15th day of Lunar Month, The Birthday, Enlightenment Day, and Renunciation Day of Guan Yin Bodhisattva are important dates for Buddhists. If conditions allow, you may offer the grand incense at home. After you offer incense and oil lamp in front of the altar, you can then light a piece of sandalwood using the oil lamp on the altar. You can find sandalwood at most Buddhist shops. After you put off the flame on the sandalwood, the smoke that comes out is regarded as the grand incense, the fragrance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Please note that you must not put off the sandalwood by blowing them off. You can perform the offering of grand incense three times, then you can say your prayers, make your wishes and prostrations, and perform your recitations. After using the sandalwood, lay it horizontally on the side of the incense burner, you can reuse it next time.
Relocate Altar To A New Place
  • If you have an altar at home and you are making offerings and paying respects to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas every day,  you should first invite the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to your new place. At your old place, make an incense offering and wait until the incense has finished burning, then you can invite the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas down from the altar and wrap them with red coloured materials (e.g. red paper or red fabrics).It is important that when you arrive at the new place, you place the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattva on the altar first, and then you make incense offerings with 3 incense sticks. Recite the Great Compassion Mantra 7 times and the Heart Sutra 7 times, make full prostrations, and say the following prayer, “Sincerely invite the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva to come to our new place, please continue to protect and bless me, <full name>, and my family. We will mindfully and sincerely cultivate our minds.” It is better to relocate your altar before you move the rest of your belongings.
  • When you relocate your altar to a new place, the statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not require another blessing ceremony. This is because Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have already visited the statues and images. When you move to a new place, you are just temporarily not making incense offerings. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not be there while you are moving. Once you have moved to your new place, you can continue to make incense offerings, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would come and visit again. Therefore, these statues or images do not require another blessing ceremony.
How To Make Offerings To Buddhas and Bodhisattvas When We Are Away From Home?

If you are going away for a short duration, before you leave, you should refresh the great compassion water, put up fresh flowers and fruits but make sure they will not rot until you have returned. Leave the altar as it is and do not cover with anything. It is best to snap a photo of the altar when there is no incense burning, then wrap the photo with a red cloth and bring it along with you. If condition allows, you can use the photo as a real altar and make offerings like incense, flowers, fruits, etc to it. Otherwise, you can offer heart incense to it and keep it well.

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