Q: Master Lu, how should we celebrate the Lantern Festival as Buddhists? What should we be aware of?
- No matter what festival is being celebrated, many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and officers from the underworld will be in touch with us on these special occasions. The Lantern Festival is no exception. The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month and it marks the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
- According to Chinese tradition, we have “Tang Yuan” (glutinous rice balls) during the Lantern Festival to celebrate the harmony and reunion of family and friends. This symbolises the unity of heaven, earth, and humanity. When the energy fields harmonise, things will work out better in every respect.
- To harmonise our energy field with that of heaven, we should pray to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas more often, and perform more recitations than we usually do. We can recite the Great Compassion Mantra, the Heart Sutra and the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance.
During Lantern Festival, reciting the Heart Sutra for distant friends or relatives can bless them with more power. Your recitation of the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance should not exceed 27 times per day. For further details, please refer to Q&A 161: Reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance on special days and Buddhist commemorative days.
If you have performed many good deeds, you can also recite the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou. The Lantern Festival is a day for tolerance, so if you complete more recitations of the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots, many of your karmic conflicts will be resolved. You can also recite the Ru Yi Bao Lun Wang Tuo Luo Ni to help your wishes come true. These Buddhist scriptures can be recited 49 or 108 times each.
- To harmonise our energy field with that of the earth, we should recite more Little Houses than usual to help our karmic creditors, or the deceased friends and family members to ascend to a higher spiritual realm. We can also complete more recitations of the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra.
- From the perspective of humanity, harmony generates prosperity. We can elevate our spiritual level, cultivate our minds, adopt a vegetarian diet, refrain from committing wrongdoings, be a kind person, and perform life liberations to achieve harmony.
- During the Lantern Festival, burning a high number of Little Houses (up to 21) will yield especially good results. You can have Little Houses prepared in advance for offering during the Lantern Festival. As many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and officers from heaven who are specifically responsible for human affairs will be in touch with us during this time, your karmic obstacles will be eliminated more easily.
- Traditionally, people hang lanterns during the celebration of the Lantern Festival. This practice emphasises the union of the “three elements”: heaven, earth and humanity, and helps our deceased family members find their way back home. However, as Buddhist practitioners, the hanging of lanterns is not recommended. All we need to do during the festival is to recite more Buddhist sutras and mantras, and Little Houses.