Q: During one of Master Lu’s radio programs, you mentioned that we can write the name and date of birth of our family member(s) on a piece of paper, and bring it to the Guan Yin Citta Centre to pray for our family member(s) so that they will soon believe in Buddhism. I want to give this a try. Can I do this at the Buddhist altar at home? Do I need to lodge an application for this?
- It is a great blessing that both partners in a marriage, or the entire family, perform recitations and practise Buddhism together.
If you have already started practising Buddhism, you can gradually introduce it to your family members. You can give your family members some of Master Lu’s books, and ask them to listen to the radio programs if they understand Chinese. You could say, “These books and programs are really interesting, we should study them together”. If your family members are not interested, you cannot force them. It is best to act in accordance with karmic conditions, not cling to them.
- You can recite the Heart Sutra at least 7 times per day for each of your family members. Before you begin your recitation, you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect <your family member’s name>, help <family member> to gain wisdom, believe in Buddhism and start performing recitations.” You can continue doing this for as long as necessary.
- When you recite the Heart Sutra for your family members, it is best not to tell them to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable or offended, which can easily lead them to create karma of speech. If your family members still do not believe in Buddhism after more than a month of reciting Heart Sutra (7 times per day), you can lodge an application to Guan Yin Bodhisattva and state your prayer.
- Download the Application for Convincing Family Members from here. Print the application form on a yellow A4 piece of paper (Caution: Do not burn this application form).
- Use a black or blue pen to write the full name and date of birth (e.g. 31 December 2011) of your family member (according to the Gregorian calendar), and your full name.
- Every day during the daytime (the best times are 6am, 8am, 4pm, and 10pm; it is best to avoid night time), light oil lamps and make incense offerings at your home altar.
- Read out the text on the application form once, and then place the application form on the Buddhist altar. If your altar has limited space, you can place the application form underneath the incense burner.
- Kneel and make a full bow (with your forehead touching the floor) to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
- Recite the Heart Sutra, generally 7 times or more.
- Once you have completed your recitations or the incense has finished burning, it is best to fold the Application for Convincing Family Members and put it away. The Application for Convincing Family Members must not be left on the altar for a long period of time, as this may cause the relevant family member to have fits of temper, and their soul to depart from their body or be incomplete.
- The above procedure for lodging the Application for Convincing Family Members can be performed once a day.
- After a month of lodging the Application for Convincing Family Members, you have to stop for a week. Otherwise, your merits and virtues will go to the relevant family member(s). But during this week, you can continue reciting the Heart Sutra for your family members.
- This is a very serious Buddhist practice and it is best performed after you have recited the Heart Sutra 7 times per day for your family members over a long period of time (usually longer than one month). It is best to perform this without informing the relevant family members to prevent them from feeling uncomfortable or offended, which can easily lead them to create karma of speech.
- Once the application has been successful, the application form can be put aside for one to two months. After this time, you can place the application form in an envelope and then dispose of it. Caution: Do not burn the application form.
- If you do not have a Buddhist altar in your home, please refer to Q&A106: Lodging an Application for Convincing Family Members without a Buddhist altar.