About the Little HouseBuddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 61. Prayers before burning Little Houses

11/04/2020 | About the Little House

Q: Dear Master Lu, you mentioned on your radio program that while burning Little Houses, it is best not to say anything. Can we recite the Heart Sutra or the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra instead?

A:

  • When you are burning Little Houses, your karmic creditors and beings in heaven and the underworld will usually be aware of the ritual that you are performing. It would be best that you do not recite any sutras or mantras or say anything additional, as many spirits will be present, and you need to be extremely cautious with your words.
  • When the name of the recipient is stated on the Little House, other spirits cannot take the Little House away. However, reciting the Heart Sutra or Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra while you are burning Little Houses can attract other spirits to come and take the power away from these extra sutras or mantras that you recite as they are not recorded on the Little Houses you are burning.
  • Firstly, make incense offerings and bow. Say, “I express my sincere gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva.” (repeat three times).
  • Next, raise the Little Houses slightly above your head, and then place them on your Buddhist altar. Kneel and say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to give these <number> Little Houses to <name of the recipient> (which can be their karmic creditor, name of a deceased person, their aborted or miscarried child, or a karmic creditor of their house).”
  • If you are burning Little Houses on behalf of someone else and the Little Houses were recited by him or her, you can say the following prayer, “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva help <name of the reciter> to give the Little Houses to <name of the recipient>.”
  • However, if the Little Houses were recited by other people (in the event that you or your friend have asked others for help with recitation), you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva help <the name of the person who seeks help> to give the Little Houses to <name of the recipient>.”
  • Before burning Little Houses, say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me with your compassion.” Then you light the Little Houses using the flame from an oil lamp on the altar, matches or a lighter. However, try as much as you can to avoid using the oil lamp. It is best to use matches or a lighter (Note: It is better to burn them from top to bottom, starting from the upper right-hand corner where it says “Offer To”). While you are burning Little Houses, simply say, “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me with your compassion.” Do not recite or say anything further.
  • After burning the Little Houses, say “I bow in gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva for helping me give these Little Houses to <name of the recipient>. I express my sincere gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva for protecting and blessing me.” (followed by one prostration). You could also say corresponding prayers. For example, if you give Little Houses to your karmic creditor, you could pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to grant you good health, safety and good fortune. If you use Little Houses to resolve karmic conflicts with someone, you could pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to help you resolve the negative karmic affinity between you and that person.
  • Little Houses must be burnt thoroughly, and there should not be any remaining pieces or edges left unburnt. Otherwise, the Little Houses  may not be effective.
  • If you do not have a Buddhist altar in your home, you can offer the “Heart Incense” first. Afterwards, recite the Great Compassion Mantra once and the Heart Sutra once, then say your prayer before burning the Little Houses.
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