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Q&A 11. Maintaining focus when performing recitations

Q: Master Lu, I currently face constant distractions and have wandering thoughts when I perform recitations. How can we maintain our focus while performing recitations? Please kindly advise.

A:

  • One of the reasons for reduced effectiveness of recitations is the lack of focus. For example, if you are thinking about your family members while performing recitation for yourself, then a portion of your recitation may be dedicated to them instead.
  • How can you maintain focus while performing recitations? Before you recite sutras or mantras, you can first gaze at the sky for one to three minutes and do not think about anything.
  • When performing recitations, it is best to visualise what you have prayed for, or visualise the image of the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva. Then listen to your own voice mindfully while you recite, and your mind will not wander.
  • When you recite the Heart Sutra as part of your daily recitation, you can add the following line to your prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, grant me wisdom and help me to maintain focus when I perform recitations”.
  • If you are having too many distracting thoughts when you are performing recitations off by heart, you can take out your sutra booklet and follow it as a guidance.
  • When performing recitations, you should unite your mind with your energy (combine your mind with your energy field to create a whole), unite your voice with your energy (combine your voice with your energy field to create a whole), and unite your body with your mind (combine your body with your mind to create a whole). If you can achieve these three unifying processes, your recitation will be very effective.
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