Q019: Hi Master Lu, after we finish reciting Little Houses (Hsiao Fang Tzu), can we bring them to Buddhist temples to burn them?

A019: 

  • It is best not to burn Little Houses in Buddhist temples.
  • If you do not have an altar at home, you can burn the Little Houses on your balcony, near the window in your living room, or in the backyard.
  • You should offer the Heart Incense[1] 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>.”
  • 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 a lighter of matches. 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.
  • Please note: Before you burn the Little Houses, you can recite the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) once, and this would enhance the effectiveness of the transferring of merits. This is particularly helpful if you are burning Little Houses that were recited by someone else for you. Recitation of the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance would compensate for the fact that you did not recite these Little Houses yourself and would help to express your thoughts of repentance and sincere respect. You can say the following prayer, “May the Great Merciful and Great Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva protect and bless me, <your full name>, help me to repent and eliminate karmic obstacles due to negative karmas.” Please note that recitation of the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance before burning Little Houses is optional.
  • Ensure that the entire piece of paper is thoroughly burnt. You can use metal tweezers to hold the Little House while you burn it.
  • The best times to burn Little Houses 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. For more details please refer to Important Information about Little Houses.


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

 

[Updated 2012.04.25]