Buddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 97. Zodiac year of birth (or Ben Ming Nian)

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Q:  Dear Master Lu, this year is my zodiac year of birth (or Ben Ming Nian in Chinese, referring to the year of one’s Chinese zodiac animal in which one was born). Would this affect me? What should I be aware of? Should I wear red coloured undergarments?


  • During your zodiac year of birth, the energy field of your birth time can cause conflicts with your destiny. Throughout the year, you are likely to be intentionally excluded, sidelined, or picked on by others, suffer from illnesses, and experience misfortune in your career, etc. For example, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit, then 2011 is your zodiac year of birth.
  • According to Chinese custom, people wear red coloured underclothing during their zodiac year of birth, and it does have some effect.  However, most importantly, you should diligently perform recitations, make vows, and perform life liberations.
  • In addition to persisting with your daily recitations, you should also recite the Xiao Zai Ji Xiang Shen Zhou 49 times, and the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots 29 times per day, praying for resolution of your karmic conflicts, elimination of disasters, and for your safety.
    At the same time, you can make a vow to recite the same number of Little Houses as your age. For example, if you are 48 years old, you can vow to recite at least 48 Little Houses for your karmic creditors; those who are 21 years or under can all recite 21 Little Houses when encountering their zodiac year of birth.  Say the following prayer: “May the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, and help me resolve the predestined calamities of my zodiac year of birth.”  It would be best to begin reciting and burning these Little Houses three months prior to your birthday with the last batch being burnt on your birthday.
  • Throughout the year bearing the Chinese zodiac sign of your birth, you can burn 27 Little Houses in one sitting every month, and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”. You may say this prayer: “May Tai Sui Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to stay safe in _______(month).” You can burn them at the beginning or middle of each lunar month.
    For example, you may say this prayer: “May Tai Sui Bodhisattva protect and bless me, and help me to stay safe in January.” If you do so every month, you will be safe and sound during all twelve months.
    If you are too greedy and pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to keep you safe all year round in 2017, it might not work. In other words, if you only make a general prayer to keep you safe for the year, your wish may not be fulfilled.  You need to resolve the predestined calamities of your zodiac year month by month. Hence, you should say this prayer and burn Little Houses in each month. (This method applies to all those whose energy fields have conflicts with their destiny in that zodiac year.)
  • If possible, it would be best if you can frequently pray to Tai Sui Bodhisattva. For more details, refer to Q&A 29: Tai Sui Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of the year.
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