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Q&A 154. Reasons for ineffective recitations of scriptures

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Q: Master Lu, I have health issues. For the past 10 months, I have been practising Buddhism and performing recitations, but my condition has not improved. Could you please explain this?


  • Firstly, ensure that you are strictly following the instructions of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door to perform recitations of Buddhist sutras and mantras. All Buddhist sutras and mantras are good, but the combination is also very important.  Similarly, all medicines can be effective for healing, however, if we consume every kind of medicine then the result would be disastrous. It is better to only follow the prescription given by the doctor you are seeing.
  • Ensure that you include a fixed number of recitations for each of the Great Compassion Mantra, the Heart Sutra, and the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance in your daily recitations. The effectiveness will be reduced with an insufficient number of recitations of the Great Compassion Mantra or the Heart Sutra. However, if you recite the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance too many times, then your karmic obstacles may be activated too soon, hence exacerbating your health condition.
    Generally, people with severe illnesses should recite the Great Compassion Mantra 21 times per day. They should also recite the Heart Sutra 49 times per day. People with mental illness should recite the Heart Sutra at least 21 times per day. The number of recitations of the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance should be capped. Under normal circumstances, you should recite this Buddhist scripture 1 to 3 times per day, but people with severe illnesses can recite it 3 to 5 times per day. Avoid reciting it more than 7 times per day, otherwise you may activate your karmic obstacles excessively.
  • While you persist with your daily recitations, ensure that you also recite a sufficient number of Little Houses. The recitation of Little Houses goes hand in hand with the recitation of the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance. Without sufficient number of Little Houses, you may experience discomfort or an exacerbation of your condition. Generally, you need to complete 3 Little Houses addressed to your karmic creditor per week if you are reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance 3 times per day.
    Daily recitations can be compared to your daily expenditure, whereas Little Houses can be compared to paying your debts. We all need to take it seriously and repay our debts.
  • Ensure that you are performing your recitations correctly. Also ensure that you recite Little Houses diligently and sincerely, and check if you fill out the Little Houses properly and use the correct name. These are all important factors that can affect the quality and effectiveness of Little Houses.
  • Also ensure that you are using the right name. If you have changed your name, you should lodge the Application for Change of Name (see Appendix B) first, and then perform recitations using your new name.
  • The effectiveness of recitations is also related to the spiritual power of the reciter. With insufficient spiritual power, the results may not be effective. It is important to increase the number of recitations for your daily recitation in such cases.
  • Your attitude while performing recitations is also very important. If you have doubts, complaints, and unwillingness in your mind, then the quality of your recitations will be affected.
  • Distracted and scattered thoughts and an unfocused mind will also affect the quality of the recitation.
  • In the case where you perform recitations for others while you are not well, you will shoulder the burden of their karma. As a result, your recovery may be delayed. Helping others is a meritorious deed, but it is always associated with a cost. We need to know our own capabilities and limitations.
  • For our prayers to be effective, we need to accumulate a great deal of merits and virtues. Therefore, it is important that we also sincerely perform life liberations and make vows.
  • If none of the above factors apply, then it may simply be that you have not done enough. For a person with severe karmic obstacles, it is difficult to make dramatic changes within a short period. If we continue diligently and persistently practising Buddhism, we will surely experience positive results in the long term.
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