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Q&A 119. Helping the deceased to ascend to a higher spiritual realm

05/05/2020 | About the Little House    
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Q: Dear Master Lu, since practising Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, I have frequently dreamt about deceased people. Should I recite Little Houses for them one at a time, or should I recite for all of them simultaneously? Without knowing which realm the deceased person is in, how many Little Houses should I recite? May I recite Little Houses for the deceased whom I have not dreamt about?


  • If you dream about the deceased, it means they would like you torecite Little Houses for them. Generally, you need to recite 7 Little Houses for each of them. If the deceased are your family members, you should recite extra Little Houses for them so that they can ascend to a higher spiritual realm, such as heaven. This is one way to show filial piety, which is the foremost of all virtues.
  • When you recite Little Houses to help the spirit of the deceased ascend to a higher realm, generally you need to recite 21 Little Houses for the deceased to proceed to the next higher realm; specifically, from the underworld to the human realm, then to the Asura realm, and then to heaven. However, in most cases, 21 Little Houses are not enough, as it also depends on the spiritual power of the reciter, the karma of the deceased, etc.
  • Generally, you can determine which realm the deceased is in based on your dreams. If they appear in your dream in a dark environment that gives you a bad feeling, then they are likely to be in the underworld.
    If, in your dream, the environment is very bright, the deceased has a pleasant appearance and you feel that they are happy, then they are likely to be in heaven.
    If the deceased is not wearing clothes in your dream and the scenes are frightening, then it is likely that they are in hell. People who had a sudden death, or committed suicide, are likely to be in this realm.
    If the deceased is in hell, it tends to be very difficult to help them ascend to a higher realm. You can start with 49 Little Houses for the first batch and see if they are able to leave hell.
  • Under normal circumstances, it is best to help the spirits of the deceased ascend to a higher realm one at a time. When you start reciting Little Houses for this purpose, it is recommended that you perform it in a continuous manner and do not stop. There was once a deceased person who was in the underworld. His family member stopped reciting Little Houses for him after having completed a few. The deceased person was then reborn into the human realm, not being able to ascend to heaven.
    During the process, if you are unable to finish the Little Houses in time due to unforeseen circumstances, or if you dream that the deceased person is going to be reborn into the human realm soon, you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless <full name of the deceased>. I, <your full name>, will keep reciting more Little Houses for <full name of the deceased> so that <full name of the deceased> can ascend to a higher spiritual realm.”
  • If you dream about several deceased people at the same time, you should recite Little Houses for all of them at the same time. For example, you can recite one Little House for Jennifer, and one for John, etc. Note that you should waste no time and complete the Little Houses quickly. If, in your dream, a deceased person passes away again, that means they are going to be reborn into the human realm soon.
  • For the deceased people whom you have not dreamt about, it is possible that they have already been reborn into the human realm or other realms. In this case, the Little Houses that you have recited for them would be stored in the underworld. These Little Houses can be used when they pass away again in their present life, or if they become ill and fall into a coma.
    Another possibility is that the affinity between you and them is not strong enough. Once you have paid off your karmic debts to them, they will no longer visit you in your dreams.
  • If you are unable to call into Master Lu’s radio program for a Totem Reading to find out the exact number of Little Houses you need to recite for the deceased person, then you can recite 21 Little Houses first to be safe. If you still do not dream about the deceased, then you should stop reciting Little Houses for them for the time being. If they do visit you in your dreams, then you can determine which realm they are currently in based upon your dream.
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