2.1 Introduction to Little Houses

People can have two types of illnesses: one type is physical and the other type is spiritual. Foreign spirits and ghosts belong to the so-called “spiritual world”. The foreign spirits that occupy the body of a living person are usually deceased relatives and close friends, a child that was aborted or miscarried, deceased people who had conflicts with the person in the past, or foreign spirits in the house. If foreign spirits have been occupying a person’s body for an extended period of time, this person would experience physical illness, bad temper, misfortune, and difficulties in career or studies. Australian Chinese Buddhist cultivator, Master Lu Jun Hong, has received blessings from Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to obtain transcendental abilities. Under the guidance of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, Master Lu provides advice to Dharma followers on Buddhist practice and how to perform recitations in order to transfer merits to foreign spirits and to cure spiritual illnesses. Recitation of Little Houses (Hsiao Fang Tzu) can be used in the transferring of merits to deceased relatives to help them to be reborn into the higher realms, including the Deva realm (known as “heaven” in English).

The Little House is one of the grand Dharma Gems given to us by the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva. In the Age of Dharma Decline, with the recitation of Little Houses, we are able to eliminate our karmic obstacles due to negative karmas, and transfer merits to foreign spirits and help them to proceed to a better place.

In the spiritual world, Little Houses are considered to be a large currency. Little Houses can be used for repaying karmic debts in the spiritual world from previous lives. When transferring merits to the deceased, Little Houses provide the energy for the deceased to proceed to a better place. Therefore, recitation of Little Houses is the unsurpassed Dharma Gem with the greatest effect. Little Houses can be used to transfer merits to the deceased and foreign spirits to help them to proceed to a better place, and allow us to save ourselves as well as others.

2.2 Important Information about Little Houses and General Practices for Transferring Merits

1. On a plain piece of yellow paper (use normal copy paper), regardless of the thickness, draw a rectangle, 3 inches in width and 4 inches in height. On one of the 3-inch lines, draw an isosceles trapezoid to make the shape of a house with a slanted roof. This is the so-called “Little House” (Hsiao Fang Tzu). It is best to download the sample form from the website, <www.GuanYinCitta.com> and print it on a piece of yellow A4 paper. Cut the paper into four pieces so that each Little House is a rectangular piece of paper. Please do not cut the Little House according to its shape along the black lines printed on the form.

2. The “Little House” consists of a combination of sutras and mantras. It consists of the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) 27 times, the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) 49 times, the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou) 84 times, and the Sapta Atitabuddha Karasaniya Dharani (Chi Fo Mieh Tsui Chen Yan) 87 times. The number that you recite should not be less than the required number, and it is alright if you recite more than required. However, you should not recite excessively.

3. You can recite the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) and the Sapta Atitabuddha Karasaniya Dharani (Chi Fo Mieh Tsui Chen Yan) anywhere, anytime. The Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) and the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou) can be recited during the day before 10PM, even if it is cloudy or rainy. If you are in the countryside, in the car, or in a crowd, you should be extra careful and it is best to not recite them. You should also avoid reciting the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) and the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou) after 10PM, or during extreme weather, including heavy rain, thunderstorm, and lightning. In addition, if you feel that you are physically weak or experience discomfort when reciting these sutras and mantras, then it would be best for you to try to recite them during day time on a sunny day whenever possible.

4. Each time before you recite sutras or mantras for the Little House, you can recite the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) several times to enhance your spiritual power. The order in which you recite the sutras and mantras for the Little House does not matter. It is best not to recite the Little House when you are feeling unwell or emotionally unstable. This is because reciting the Little House consumes energy, and if you cannot maintain focus then it would not be as effective. You should recite according to your abilities. Some Dharma cultivators try to perform the transferring of merits as much as possible and recite beyond their abilities. This is not recommended.

5. On the upper right hand side of the Little House, use a blue or black ink pen to write the name of the merit receiver. If it is to be offered to one’s Karmic Creditor, then address it to the “Karmic Creditor of <full name>”. If it is to be offered to a child that was aborted or miscarried, then address it to “The child of <full name of the mother or father>”. Generally you should write the full name of the mother. If you do not know the full name of the mother, then you can write the full name of the father. If it is to be offered to a deceased relative or friend, then address it to “<full name of the deceased>”. On the lower left hand side of the Little House, write the full name of the reciter, as well as the date of completion for reciting the Little House, or the date for burning the Little House (yyyy/mm/dd). Please note that the reciter must sign the Little House. For the date, you can write the numbers in Arabic form, or in English in block letters. Each time you finish reciting a sutra or mantra, use a red pen to put a dot inside the circle corresponding to the one that you have just recited. Please note that you must use a red pen, and you must only put a red dot, not a tick or a cross. The number of times that you recite should not be less than the number required on the Little H­­­­­ouse, but it is alright to recite more than the required number. You must finish reciting before you put the red dots, and you must not put the dot beforehand. It is extremely important that you remember this. You can also recite a number of sutras or mantras and then dot the circles all at once.

6. Before you recite the Little House, you can say your prayer or wish as follows, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to transfer merits to <name of the merit receiver> (can be your Karmic Creditor, a deceased relative or friend, a Karmic Creditor of your house, or a child that was aborted or miscarried).” Generally, for beginners, you can recite 4 to 7 Little Houses and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”. For a child that was aborted or miscarried, and for an ectopic pregnancy, you should recite at least 7 Little Houses.

7. Generally, you should use the name that is on your birth certificate, as it would be the name that is recognised by the spiritual world. However, if you have changed your name for over one year, then it is possible that your new name already has dynamic spiritual effects. To be certain, it is best to lodge the Application for Name Change after you have changed your name, and then use your new name when you recite Little Houses. However, after you lodge the Application for Name Change, you do not need to change your name on your ID card, passport, driver’s license, etc, as these documents are only recognised in the human realm.

8. Find a quiet place and time to perform recitations. Avoid interruptions from phones or knocking on the door. If you are interrupted while you are reciting a short mantra, then you should try your best to finish reciting it before attending to other tasks. For longer sutras, you should excuse yourself to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas by reciting “Om Lai Mu So Ho” once to pause your recitation. Once you have finished attending to other tasks, you can resume by reciting “Om Lai Mu So Ho” once again.

9. You can recite out loud, softly, or in your mind. The best method is to recite softly. The full title of each sutra and mantra should be recited each time before you recite the sutra and mantra. For example, before reciting the Great Compassion Mantra, you should recite the full title: Chien Shou Chien Yan Wu Ai Ta Pei Hsin To Lo Ni[1]. Some slight pronunciation variations are acceptable, as long as they are not too far from the correct pronunciation. You can recite the Dharani to Patch Flaws in Recitation (Pu Chueh Chen Yan) 7 times at the end of your recitation. English speakers can recite the sutras and mantras according to the Wade-Giles Romanization or Hanyu Pinyin and achieve the same effects. It is best if you can recite the sutras and mantras from memory.

10. For each Little House, you do not need to finish reciting all four types of sutras and mantras in one day. Generally, you should finish reciting a Little House within 7 days to avoid prolonged delays. Fill in the completion date (according to the Gregorian calendar) once you have finished, and you can burn it that day or on a later day. If you are not burning it on the day, please store it in a red envelope, or wrap it with red coloured materials (e.g. red paper or red fabrics) to prevent its energy from being scattered.

11. When you are burning Little Houses (it is best to burn from top to bottom, starting from the upper right hand corner where it says “Offer To”. You can then light the Little Houses using the oil lamp on your altar. You should burn the Little House in a dedicated bowl or plate. The material can be ceramic or china, but metal material should not be used. The bowl or plate that you use for burning the Little House should not be placed on the altar, but should only be placed on the floor or on a chair near the altar. It is best to use the oil lamp on the altar to light the Little House. If you do not have an oil lamp on your altar, you can use a lighter or matches. It is best not to hold the Little House with your hands, instead, you can use tweezers or chopsticks (metal ones are alright) to hold the Little House and burn it. Ensure that the entire piece of paper is thoroughly burnt, and then you can wrap up and discard the ashes. Please note that you should not flush the ashes in the toilet or scatter the ashes in the open. For your dedicated bowl or plate, you can wash it and use it again next time.

12. It is best to burn Little Houses on a sunny day. The best times are 8AM, 10AM and 4PM. Any other time during day time on a sunny day would also be alright. Generally, the period between 6AM and sunset is suitable for burning Little Houses if the weather is good. Please do not burn them after sunset, or on a cloudy or rainy day, unless it is urgent, for example, if the Karmic Creditor is being very demanding, or during times of severe illness, etc.

13. If you have an altar at home, you must make incense offerings before you burn Little Houses. First of all, you should make incense offerings, and then make full prostrations. Sincerely invite Guan Yin Bodhisattva by saying the following three times, “Sincerely invite the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva, saviour of suffering and disasters.” Before burning Little Houses, you can raise the Little Houses slightly above your head, and then place them on your altar. Kneel down and say the following prayer: “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to offer the Little Houses to <name of the merit receiver; can be your Karmic Creditor, name of a deceased person, a child that was aborted or miscarried, or the Karmic Creditor of someone’s house>.”

When you are burning Little Houses (it is best to burn from top to bottom, starting from the upper right hand corner where it says “Offer To”), you can say the following prayer, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, with your compassion.” You can then light the Little Houses using the oil lamp on your altar. While you are burning Little Houses, please do not recite or say anything extra. You should only say the prayer, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, with your compassion.”

After you finish burning Little Houses, you can say the following, “With my sincere prostration, I hereby express my deepest gratitude to the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva for protecting and blessing me, <your full name>, so that I can have good health, and a safe and fortunate life. Please help me to offer the Little Houses to <name of the merit receiver>. Deepest gratitude to the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva.” You can then make a prostration.

If you do not have an altar at home, you can burn Little Houses on your balcony, near the window in your living room, or in your backyard. You should offer the Heart Incense[2] and then sincerely invite Guan Yin Bodhisattva by saying the following three times, “Sincerely invite the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva, saviour of suffering and disasters.” You can then recite the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) once and the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) once. Raise the Little Houses slightly above your head, and then bow to the sky three times, or visualise yourself making full prostrations, and say the following prayer: “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to offer the Little Houses to <name of the merit receiver; can be your Karmic Creditor, name of a deceased person, a child that was aborted or miscarried, or the Karmic Creditor of someone’s house>.” Finally, you can burn the Little Houses. The procedure for after burning the Little Houses is the same as described above.

14. If you are burning Little Houses on behalf of someone else, you can say the following, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva help <name of the reciter> to offer the Little Houses to <name of the merit receiver>.”

15. If you are reciting Little Houses for someone else to cure his illness, it is possible that the foreign spirit that is currently occupying his body would come and occupy your body instead. It is best to state the following to Guan Yin Bodhisattva before you recite the Little Houses, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>. I will now recite <number of> Little Houses for <full name of the other party>. For the remaining number of Little Houses, please collect them from <full name of the other party>.” In the event that the other party’s Karmic Creditor comes to you, it is best to recite several Little Houses and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”. It is a grand virtue to save others, and saving people often involves taking responsibilities.

16. When conditions allow, you can save some Little Houses for emergency purposes. As soon as any issues arise, you can immediately burn Little Houses to resolve the situation. Before you recite the Little Houses, you can state the following to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, “Sincerely invite the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva to witness that I, <your full name>, am reciting Little Houses for saving purposes.” Leave the “Offer To” field and the date of completion blank. You can fill in those details on the day that you burn them.

17. If you make a mistake when you fill in the details for the Little House, you can fold the Little House several times and then wrap it with a piece of paper before discarding it. You then write on a new one. You can say the following, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva, protect and bless me, <your full name>. This Little House is incorrect, and is now discarded.” You can then re-write and re-dot on a new Little House. You must not burn the old Little House.

18. When you are transferring merits to the deceased by burning Little Houses, it is best not to burn joss money or any other joss materials at the same time. Even though burning Little Houses and burning joss money are both considered to be offering money to the deceased, Little Houses are considered to be large currency in the underworld, and they can be used as energy in the Asura realm or the Deva realm (known as “heaven” in English). Joss money is similar to coins in the underworld. If the deceased are currently in the underworld, they can receive both joss money and Little Houses. However, if the deceased are in the Asura realm or the Deva realm, then the burning of joss material may cause them to fall down to the lower realms. Sometimes we transfer merits to our deceased relatives and they are able to be reborn into the Asura realm or the Deva realm using the energy from the Little Houses that we have recited and burnt for them. Since they have not proceeded to these higher realms based on their own cultivation, their foundation is not very stable. When they see joss materials being burnt for them, greed may arise in their mind and they may come to the lower realms to claim these joss materials. Therefore, it is best to ask family members to recite more Little Houses together. If you are unable to convince your family members, then you can only counteract by reciting more Little Houses yourself. Only if the deceased have received a large number of Little Houses (large currency), and then they see the joss materials (small currency) that are being burnt by other family members, they would not care too much about the joss materials. In addition, when you burn the Little Houses, you can say the following, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and help <full name of the deceased> to proceed to a higher realm using the energy from Little Houses, and not be greedy and become attached to small currencies from the human realm, including joss money.”

19. Please note that the transferring merits to foreign spirits by burning Little Houses is a life-long process, and it does not mean that after you have recited and burnt a certain number of Little Houses, you would never need to recite any more. After you have finished reciting your current batch of Little Houses, it merely means that you have successfully transferred merits to the foreign spirit that is currently present and that foreign spirit has now proceeded to a better place. Over time, a portion of your negative karmas would be activated and transformed into foreign spirits. You may also accidentally invite other foreign spirits to occupy your body due to one of the following reasons: having a fight with someone, and visiting the cemetery, hospital, or crematorium, etc. Therefore, you should continuously perform the transferring of merits by burning Little Houses, according to different circumstances.

20. Below are typical situations where Little Houses are needed, together with the recommended number of Little Houses.

  1. You experience pain in a particular part of the body, for example, the lower back, shoulders, etc, which cannot be diagnosed by doctors as test results show that everything is normal. Generally, this is a spiritual illness. Each part of the body requires 7 to 9 Little Houses, and you can address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”.
  2. Cancer patients usually have powerful foreign spirits occupying their body. This is a form of serious karmic retribution. In addition to reciting the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) 49 times per day, and the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) 7 times per day, you should also recite as many Little Houses as possible, and whenever possible. Reciting Little Houses can save your life by repaying karmic debts. For the first batch, you need at least 49 Little Houses, and you should continue your recitation until your condition stabilises. Meanwhile, you should also perform Life Liberation and make Great Vows.
  3. If you often lose your temper with no particular reason, generally you need to recite 4 to 7 Little Houses. Address the Little Houses to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”.
  4. For transferring merits to a child that was aborted or miscarried, you need to recite 7 to 21 Little Houses for each child. Address the Little Houses to the “Child of <full name of the mother>”.
  5. If you have a headache or fever, generally you need to recite 4 to 7 Little Houses. Address the Little Houses to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”.
  6. If there are strange sounds in your house, your electrical appliances unexpectedly malfunction, or your sewage pipes constantly become blocked, generally you need to recite 4 to 7 Little Houses to transfer merits to the foreign spirits in your house. Address the Little Houses to the “Karmic Creditor of the house of <full name of the occupant>”. The occupant can be the owner of the house, or the person living in the house. If you are renting, you can write your own full name.
  7. Regarding transferring merits to your relatives who have just passed away, for each deceased person, you need to recite at least 49 Little Houses within the 49 days immediately after the death. Address the Little Houses to <full name of the deceased>.
  8. If you dream of a deceased person, for example, your relatives or parents, you need to recite at least 7 Little Houses for each of the deceased. If you know the full name of the deceased, you should address the Little Houses to <full name of the deceased>. Generally, for transferring merits to the deceased, you need at least 21 Little Houses to help them to proceed to a higher realm. For example, if the deceased person is in the underworld, you would need to recite 21 Little Houses for him to be able to be reborn into the human realm, and an additional of 21 Little Houses for him to be able to be reborn into the Asura realm, and then another 21 Little Houses for him to be able to be reborn into the Deva realm. If you dream of an unfamiliar person who is dressed in black, you need to recite 4 Little Houses, and address them to the “Karmic Creditor of <your full name>”.
  9. If you are reciting the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) to activate and transform your negative karmas into foreign spirits, you need to recite Little Houses. For example, if you are reciting the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) 3 times per day, then you need to recite 2 to 3 Little Houses per week. If you are reciting the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) 7 times per day, then you need to recite 4 to 7 Little Houses per week.

21. To determine if the transferring of merits is successful, please try calling into Master Lu’s radio program, “The Art of Applying Comprehensive Metaphysics” every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 5-6PM Sydney, Australia time. The phone number is 0061 2 9211 1301. You can speak directly to Master Lu and sincerely ask him to perform Totem Enquiry for you. However, since Dharma cultivators all over the world are trying to call into the program, it may be difficult to get through. Therefore, the following can be referenced as guidelines:

  1. If you are transferring merits to the Karmic Creditor or foreign spirit that is occupying a particular part of the body, once you have burnt a sufficient number of Little Houses, and you no longer feel pain on this part of the body, then that means the Karmic Creditor or foreign spirit has proceeded to a better place.
  2. If you are transferring merits to a child that was aborted or miscarried, once you have burnt a sufficient number of Little Houses, and you dream of a child who is dressed cleanly visiting you with a smiling face, then it means that the child has proceeded to a better place.
  3. If you are transferring merits to your deceased relatives or friends, once you have burnt a sufficient number of Little Houses, and in your dream, they are dressed cleanly and visiting you in a bright environment, then it means that they have proceeded to the Asura realm or the Deva realm.
  4. If you are transferring merits to the foreign spirit that is occupying your house, once you have burnt a sufficient number of Little Houses, and there are no more strange sounds in your house and you also feel comfortable at home, then it means the foreign spirit has proceeded to a better place.

22. The above method for transferring merits is applicable for deceased persons. The number of Little Houses required depends on your intuition and your situation. If you wish to transfer merits to animals, you should recite the Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra (Wang Sheng Chou). For example, 108 times for a cow; 49 times for a pig, sheep and mouse; 7 times for a fish, crab and chicken; 3 times for a shrimp or prawn; and once for a mosquito and an ant.


[1] The title of each sutra and mantra is given in English, with the Wade-Giles Romanization given in brackets. It is recommended to recite the title according to the Wade-Giles Romanization or Hanyu Pinyin.

[2]Please refer to Q&A 094 “Regarding the difference between offering the Heart Incense and real incense”.