Q: How do we perform recitations on behalf of our children? What should we be aware of?
- Generally, if you are performing recitations on behalf of your children, regardless of their age, you can recite the Heart Sutra for them, the more recitations you do the better. Reciting the Heart Sutra helps children to gain wisdom, obey their parents, and perform better at school.
- For the number of recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra, it should be based on each child’s circumstances. If a child is physically well, then you can recite the Great Compassion Mantra 3 to 7 times per day.
If a child is physically weak or suffers from a chronic illness due to karma, then it is recommended that you recite the Great Compassion Mantra 21 to 49 times per day. You can sincerely ask Guan Yin Bodhisattva to heal your child’s illness.
If a child is very stubborn, hard to discipline, or displays unruly behaviour, then the number of recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra should be limited to no more than 7 times per day. Otherwise, it may increase their spiritual power and therefore it would be even more difficult for you to discipline them.
- If a child has a chronic illness due to karma or a prenatal/genetic disorder, then you should also include the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance in your recitation. The number of recitations that you should complete depends on the age of the child:
- For children less than 1 year old, it is best to limit the recitations to once per day;
- For children between the ages of 1 and 3, you can recite it once or twice per day;
- For children between the ages of 3 and 12, you can recite it up to twice per day; and
- For children between the ages of 12 and 18, you can recite it up to 3 times per day, unless they are suffering from a serious illness, in which case you can recite it 3 to 5 times per day for them. For children above the age of 12, you can slightly increase the number of recitations according to their illness and the severity of their karmic obstacles, but it is best to limit it to no more than 5 times per day. This is because children are still young and weak, they may collapse if their karmic obstacles are activated.
- As soon as you start reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance for your child, you should also recite Little Houses in a timely manner to help the karmic creditor ascend to a higher spiritual realm. Otherwise, once the karmic obstacles are activated and transformed into spirits, a large number of Little Houses may be required within a short period of time. Hence, it is recommended that you recite at least 3 Little Houses per week to avoid the possible exacerbation of your child’s illness.
- If the parents have previously had an abortion or miscarriage, they must recite Little Houses as soon as possible, addressing them to “Child of <full name of the mother>”. This is because the spirits of aborted or miscarried children are very pitiful; they are unable to go anywhere and remain stuck to bodies of family members, especially those of existing children. This tends to cause the children to get sick, perform poorly in school, or disobey their parents, etc. Hence, it is important to help the spirits of aborted or miscarried children ascend to a higher spiritual realm.
- In addition, you can include the following sutras and mantras in your daily recitation for your child:
- Recite the Cundi Dharani 21, 27, 49 or 108 times per day, and sincerely pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva for protection and blessings for your child to be able to advance in their studies, perform well in school, and pass exams successfully.
- If the child is difficult to discipline and tends to act against the will of their parents, you can recite the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots 21, 27 or 49 times per day to resolve the karmic conflicts between the parents and the child.
- The Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra should be included in cases where family members ate freshly killed creatures or seafood in the past, previously committed the karma of killing (animals), or if the mother ate too many freshly killed creatures during pregnancy. All of the above will have a negative impact on the child. You need to recite this mantra 21, 27 or 49 times per day to help the spirits of the deceased ascend to a higher spiritual realm.
- Furthermore, it would be even better if the children are able to perform recitations on their own. They can recite the Great Compassion Mantra, the Heart Sutra (preferably during the daytime), and the Cundi Dharani.
- In addition, parents can frequently take their children to perform life liberations and help them cultivate compassion from a young age. It is a blessing for a family to have a child who performs recitations and practises Buddhism from a young age.