About Performing RecitationBuddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 105. Performing recitations for exams

Q: Dear Master Lu, my son will be taking his exams soon. How should we recite Buddhist scriptures? What should we do on the day of the exam?


  • First of all, students must properly prepare for exams by studying hard.
  • The following should be included in the daily recitation before the exam:
    1. At a minimum, recite the Great Compassion Mantra 7 times, the Heart Sutra 7 times, and the Cundi Dharani 21 or 49 times. The student can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <full name>, and help me to have my wishes fulfilled, to have the exams go smoothly, and to achieve academic success.”
    2. Generally, the recitation of the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance can be reduced to once per day about three months before the exam in order to avoid the activation of karmic obstacles, which may affect the student’s performance in exam.
    3. One month before the exam, the exam taker can also recite the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou 49 times a day, and pray to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva for protection and blessing, helping them to transform the good deeds they have done in the past into merits and virtues in the present, and to have the exams go smoothly.
  • It is also recommended that you make vows and perform life liberations.
  • If you sense the presence of karmic creditors, it is best to recite Little Houses as soon as possible, and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <the exam taker’s full name>”.
  • If the exam taker does not have sufficient time to perform all the recitations, they can begin by reciting the Cundi Dharani 21 times per day. The effect would be significantly reduced if family members perform all the recitations, while the exam taker does not recite at all.
  • As the exam approaches, you can burn some Self-Cultivation Record Forms (the yellow paper on which you recorded the scriptures you have recited for self-cultivation purposes) of the Great Compassion Mantra, the Heart Sutra, or the Cundi DharaniGenerally, you can burn the forms 3 to 4 days before the exam. It is best to avoid burning them on the day of the exam. However, if you think you are fully prepared, you can start to burn one or two (maximum) of these forms each week, starting one month before the exam.
  • The day of the exam is also very important. The exam taker can wear a Guan Yin Bodhisattva pendant around their neck and wear clothes in the same colour as their Totem. Most importantly, the following recitations should be performed. The exam taker should recite the Great Compassion Mantra 7 times in the morning. Once the exam taker arrives at the exam venue, family members should continuously recite the Heart Sutra and the Cundi Dharani for the exam taker, and pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to protect and bless them, grant them wisdom, and help them successfully pass the exams.
  • Before the results are released, there is still room for the outcome to be changed. Hence, you can still maximise your chances of success by continuing to recite the Cundi Dharani. Generally, you can recite it 108 times a day.
  • You can also burn the Self-Cultivation Record Forms as usual. Generally, you can burn a maximum of two Self-Cultivation Record Forms each week (use those that contain 272 circles).
  • You can also recite the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou 49 to 108 times each day.
  • If the mother is praying for better academic results for her child, the key is to follow the Three Golden Buddhist Practices of Guan Yin Citta: Recite sutras and mantras, make vows and perform life liberations. In other words, one should perform meritorious deeds, make great vows and perform more life liberations.
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