- If you have an altar at home and you are making offerings and paying respects to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas every day, you should first invite the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to your new place. At your old place, make an incense offering and wait until the incense has finished burning, then you can invite the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas down from the altar and wrap them with red coloured materials (e.g. red paper or red fabrics).It is important that when you arrive at the new place, you place the statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattva on the altar first, and then you make incense offerings with 3 incense sticks. Recite the Great Compassion Mantra 7 times and the Heart Sutra 7 times, make full prostrations, and say the following prayer, “Sincerely invite the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva to come to our new place, please continue to protect and bless me,
, and my family. We will mindfully and sincerely cultivate our minds.” It is better to relocate your altar before you move the rest of your belongings.
- When you relocate your altar to a new place, the statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not require another blessing ceremony. This is because Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have already visited the statues and images. When you move to a new place, you are just temporarily not making incense offerings. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not be there while you are moving. Once you have moved to your new place, you can continue to make incense offerings, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would come and visit again. Therefore, these statues or images do not require another blessing ceremony.
- You must make incense offering once in the morning and once at night. The time for incense offering should be kept consistent and the best times in the morning are 6am, 8am and 10am, and the best times in the evening are 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. In between these times when you are performing your daily recitations or reciting Little Houses, you may also make incense offering. You can also make incense offering continuously.
- If you have many statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the altar, it is best to have one incense burner for each Buddhas and Bodhisattva and offers one incense stick on normal day. Every 1st and 15th day of Lunar Month, The Birthday, Enlightenment Day, and Renunciation Day of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, on these special days, you can offer three incense sticks. You can also use one incense burner for the whole altar, but offers three incense sticks instead of one.
- Every 1st and 15th day of Lunar Month, The Birthday, Enlightenment Day, and Renunciation Day of Guan Yin Bodhisattva are important dates for Buddhists. If conditions allow, you may offer the grand incense at home. After you offer incense and oil lamp in front of the altar, you can then light a piece of sandalwood using the oil lamp on the altar. You can find sandalwood at most Buddhist shops. After you put off the flame on the sandalwood, the smoke that comes out is regarded as the grand incense, the fragrance of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Please note that you must not put off the sandalwood by blowing them off. You can perform the offering of grand incense three times, then you can say your prayers, make your wishes and prostrations, and perform your recitations. After using the sandalwood, lay it horizontally on the side of the incense burner, you can reuse it next time.
- Generally, the number of Buddha’s lights, or oil lamps should be the same as the number of statues or images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the altar. Otherwise, use a pair of oil lamps or just one oil lamp for the whole altar.
- If you are making offerings to one statue or image of Buddha or Bodhisattva, it is best to offer one oil lamp. Offering two oil lamps are also acceptable.
- If you are offering candles, it is best to offer red candles and to have them in pair (e.g. two red candles). It is also alright if you do not make candle offerings.
- You should put off the oil lamps and candles after you’ve completed full prostrations, or before the incense has completely finished burning. The burning of oil lamps and candles without offering incense tends to attract foreign spirits.
- You can use electrical lotus lamps or candle lights, provided that you are also offering real oil lamps and candles on the altar at the same time. You should not leave the lamps or lights on 24 hours a day. In general, you can switch them on before you make incense offerings and perform full prostrations, and then switch them off before the incense finishes burning.
- Before the incense completely finish burning, put off the candles, then put off the oil lamps, and then switch off the electric lamps or candles. When you put off the candles and oil lamps, never blow them off. You can use a lid to put off the flame.
- Leaving lotus lamps or candle lights on for a long period of time can easily attract foreign spirits.
Karmic creditors come to us for a reason, be it related to karmic affinity or karmic debt. Just like the human world, there are laws and rules in the spirit world. It is also true in the underworld where the laws are strict. As such, it is only right and proper to pay for what is due.
Bodhisattva has bestowed upon us such a great method for practice that we can use Little Houses to repay our karmic debts, eliminating calamities and transforming our destiny. If we do not repay your karmic debts by reciting Little Houses, the repayment will still need to be made through other means when the time of retribution comes, e.g. suffering from illnesses, experiencing misfortune or being involved in traffic accidents, etc.
After reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance, if we feel soreness or discomfort in any part of our body, it means that the karmic obstacles have been activated and transformed into spirits. This is a good sign, as we can deal with the consequences now rather than later, and reduce the risk of their turning into a major illness later in life.
Our karmic debts are just like dynamite. Before it blows up, it is always good if we are able to recite Little Houses to eliminate any large karmic obstacle. However, after it blows up, resulting in a condition such as cancer, reciting thousands of Little Houses may not guarantee recovery. Hence, we must begin recitation to repay karmic debts before anything happens instead of professing devotion only when in trouble.
- Your body may just be exhausted. In this case, it is best not to perform recitations, because the effectiveness would be reduced.
- If you experience sleepiness only when you recite particular sutra or mantra, then it may indicate that your recitation for that sutra or mantra is relatively well performed. As you perform recitations, your body is getting recharged, and when you take in the positive energy, your body is relaxed and you feel comfortable. This could also cause sleepiness.
- If you experience sleepiness when you recite the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) or the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou), then you should be cautious. It would be best for you to recite them during day time or on a sunny day when the “Yang” energy is at its peak.
- If you experience sleepiness when you recite the Heart Sutra or the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra, then you should be cautious. It would be best for you to recite them during day time or on a sunny day when the “Yang” energy is at its peak.
- In addition to sleepiness, if you also experience headache or dizziness, then it is possible that your Karmic Creditor is asking you to repay your karmic debts.
- If you do not have any of the conditions described above, yet you still feel sleepy as soon as you start performing recitations, then you should use your willpower to persistently perform recitations, fight against your sleepiness, and practise Buddhism vigorously and enthusiastically.
When you offer Heart Incense, you should visualise the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva in front of you. You visualise that you are making an oil lamp offering, followed by taking an incense and lighting the incense, joining your palms together, and then raise the incense above your forehead between your eyebrows.
Then you visualise that you are placing the incense into the incense pot, making full prostrations, and saying your prayers in your mind.
It is the same as prostrating in the temple.
Suitable for those who do not have an altar at home, on holidays, driving or walking. One must offer heart incense before recitations.
Kindly take note: You can only make incense offerings if you have an altar at home where you pay respects and make offerings to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas everyday.
For images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on computer screens, printed on sutra booklets, or other statues and images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that you do not pay respects and make offerings to every day, they would not have the energy field of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
If you are making incense offerings to these statues or images, then you are actually making offerings to heaven and Earth, and all the spiritual beings around you would be able to come and accept your offerings. This involves risks and may invite unnecessary trouble.