Buddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 62. Ways to call one’s soul back

Q: Dear Master Lu, I am currently in Shanghai. I have read many of your blog posts but none of them mention the method to call one’s soul back. Because I am very busy with my work, I am unable to listen to all of the recordings of your radio programs. Could you please tell me how to correctly call one’s soul back, and what else we should be aware of? Thank you very much.

A:

  • If one’s soul is frequently not in one’s body, then they may need to call their soul back. Both children and adults may need to do this, especially children, as they can be easily frightened, become lethargic, disoriented and scared out of their wits. Typically, people whose souls are often absent from their bodies display one or more of the following four symptoms:
    1. They frequently stare into space and talk to themselves.
    2. They appear to be lost, confused, and suffer from poor memory;
    3. They lack focus and concentration, are easily distracted, and have no idea what they are doing.
    4. They are overly preoccupied with amusements or may have previously changed their name many times.
  • The ritual of calling one’s soul back should be performed in front of the Buddhist altar in your home. If you do not have an altar in your home, then it is best not to perform it. Note that this ritual should be performed on a sunny day. If it is raining, then it is best not to do it.
  • The best time to perform the ritual is 8am. Also, it should only be performed in the morning. In front of the altar, light oil lamps, make incense offerings, make prostrations, and say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless my child, <full name>, and help him/her to have his/her soul return to the body, to have his/her soul return to the body.” Repeat this prayer 30 times.
    The number of days this ritual needs to be performed varies across individuals, but it usually takes two weeks to one month.
  • Each time after you have performed the ritual, you may recite the Heart Sutra 3 to 7 times for your child (or the person for whom you perform the ritual). Before the recitation, you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless <full name>, and grant him/her wisdom.”
  • If the ritual of calling one’s soul back does not appear to have any effect after two weeks to one month, you can recite the Guan Yin Ling Gan Zhen Yan 21 times prior to performing the ritual. Before you recite this mantra, you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva perform miracles, protect and bless my child, <full name>, and have his/her soul return to the body.” This will enhance the power, and the merits and virtues. Perform the ritual after the prayer and recitation.
  • In addition, you can also recite the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots 27 times. Before you recite this mantra, you can say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless <full name>, and help him/her to resolve karmic conflicts.”
  • It is best for a senior to perform this ritual for a younger person. To conduct this ritual, you must be pure and have a positive energy field, otherwise it can be very troublesome. In addition, when you perform this ritual for someone, you may bear the burden of some of their karmic obstacles.
    You can also call back your own soul, but you must ensure that your soul is whole and complete, and that you are not confused or in a daze. If your soul is incomplete, how can you be sure that it is “you” that is calling back your soul?
    Therefore, when you conduct this ritual for yourself, you should say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, and help me to have my soul return to my body, and be filled with wisdom.” You should repeat this prayer 30 times.
  • When you are conducting this ritual for someone else, it is best to have this person present while you perform it. But it is also fine if they are not.
  • Once a child reaches 12 years old, it is best not to call the child by any nicknames. If a person has 2 or 3 names in use at the same time, then there is a greater risk that the person’s individual soul will be separated from their body. It is best to have only one name in use.
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