Q: Dear Master Lu, which sutras and mantras should an expectant mother recite for her unborn child? Can she recite Little Houses? Please kindly advise.
- For expectant mothers, it is generally better to have a Totem Reading performed by Master Lu to ascertain the exact number and types of sutras and mantras to recite. It is because they depend on the background of the spirit who will be reborn, such as the spirit’s level of cultivation in its past lives. Suppose an expectant mother has been through tremendous difficulties in life. If the spirit that will be reborn does not have a high enough level of cultivation, then the child will experience certain hardships and misfortune after they are born.
In this case, the expectant mother needs to recite the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou in advance to transfer the merits and virtues from the child’s previous lives into this life to eliminate disasters. The karmic obstacles in their later years can be resolved by performing recitations as they grow up. Generally, expectant mothers can recite the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou 27 times per day.
- If the expectant mother is physically weak and often ill, or if she is expecting a baby girl and lacking Yang energy, she should recite the Great Compassion Mantra at least 7 times per day, the more the better.
- If a child has poor hearing, eyesight, or other prenatal deficiencies, one can recite the Heart Sutra at least 7 times per day for the child, to help the child attain wisdom.
- If the developing baby has severe karmic obstacles from their previous lives, one can recite the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance once per day, and Qi Fo Mie Zui Zhen Yan 21 times per day. Recitation of the mantras and sutras above helps to repent and eliminate some of the child’s karmic obstacles from their previous lives.
- If a Totem Reading by Master Lu is not available, the expectant mother can perform the following daily recitations for the developing baby: the Great Compassion Mantra 3 times, the Heart Sutra 7 times, the Gong De Bao Shan Shen Zhou 27 times, and the Qi Fo Mie Zui Zhen Yan 21 times. Reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance for the unborn baby is usually not recommended. It should only be recited once a day if the unborn baby’s condition is unstable or the expectant mother experiences any adverse reactions. It is best not to increase the recitations of sutras and mantras at will, and not to recite Little Houses for your developing baby .
- During the first trimester, if the expectant mother is in good health, then it is best not to recite any Little Houses. After the first trimester, when the baby is in a stable condition, she can start to recite Little Houses for her karmic creditors and the children lost from prior miscarriages or abortions.
- If the expectant mother has a foreign spirit occupying her body, Little Houses should be recited as soon as possible to help her karmic creditors ascend to a higher spiritual realm. For example, she often experiences misfortune, illnesses, or bleeding which may lead to a miscarriage. Other signs include frequent nightmares, seeing karmic creditors in her dreams, or if Master Lu has examined her Totem and said that there is a foreign spirit occupying her body.
- It would be even better if fellow Buddhist practitioners or family members can help the expectant mother to recite the Little Houses on her behalf to help her karmic creditors ascend to a higher spiritual realm. That said, it is fine for the expectant mother to burn the Little Houses herself.
- An expectant mother should only recite Little Houses during the daytime.
- Note that expectant mothers should avoid reciting Little Houses for other people, e.g. deceased family members. Additionally, they should particularly avoid reciting Little Houses addressed to karmic creditors of those with serious/terminal illnesses.
- Expectant mothers should perform daily recitations for themselves, which should include the Great Compassion Mantra, the Heart Sutra, the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance, the Cundi Dharani, etc. It is best to recite the Great Compassion Mantra as many times as possible. And at night, she should only recite the Great Compassion Mantra.
- The expectant mother should increase her exposure to sunlight, and pray to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas frequently. If she frequently spends time admiring the images or statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, then she is likely to give birth to a beautiful baby.
- During the first month of pregnancy when the foetus has just formed its shape, it is best for the expectant mother to stay at home peacefully. She should avoid places that have impure energy or lack Yang energy. This includes hospitals, cemeteries, or places where religious practices are performed, as these places often have a burial ground nearby.
- During the first trimester, it is not recommended for the expectant mother to perform life liberations on her own due to the instability of the baby at that stage. She could ask her family members to perform life liberations on her behalf, or perform them personally after the first trimester. However, it is generally not recommended to perform life liberations on behalf of the foetus, or recite the Little Houses directly for the foetus (except under special circumstances).