Q: Dear Master Lu and the Secretariat: Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s birthday is approaching, as lay Buddhist practitioners, what should we do to commemorate the day? How should we do it? Thank you!
- The Birthday, Enlightenment Day, and Renunciation Day of Guan Yin Bodhisattva are all very important dates. It is recommended that you perform more recitations, make more vows, perform more life liberations, make more prostrations, and accumulate more merits and virtues on these dates.
- You can wake up earlier on these dates, take a shower and then offer incense. It would be best to recite the Great Compassion Mantra 49 times, and the Heart Sutra 49 times. Your merits and virtues will then be perfected.
- If conditions allow, you may offer grand incense at home: After you light the oil lamps and make incense offerings at the Buddhist altar, you can then light a piece of sandalwood using an oil lamp on the altar. Sandalwood can be found at most Buddhist stores. After you extinguish the flame on the sandalwood, the smoke that comes out is considered grand incense, the fragrance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Note that you must not extinguish the flame on the sandalwood by blowing with your mouth. You can perform the offering of grand incense three times, then say your prayers, make prostrations, and perform your recitations.
- If conditions do not allow you to offer the grand incense at home, you can offer extra incense instead. For example, if you normally offer one incense stick, then on these special occasions, you can choose to offer three incense sticks. You can also offer extra oil lamps, fruit and fresh flowers. Overall, the rationale behind the aforementioned practice is that you are putting in extra effort into making offerings that differ from your usual routine.
- Most importantly, be sincere when communicating with Guan Yin Bodhisattva. It would be best to pray for a safe and peaceful life.
- In addition, avoid intimate acts on these days.