Q114: How do we perform recitations on behalf of our children? What should we be aware of?
- Generally, if you are performing recitations on behalf of your children, you can recite the Heart Sutra (Hsin Ching) for them, regardless of their age. The recitation of the Heart Sutra helps children to gain wisdom, become more cooperative with others, and perform better at school. Better results can be achieved if you recite more.
- The recitation of the Great Compassion Mantra (Ta Pei Chou) should be based on the condition of your children. If a child is physically well, then you can recite the Great Compassion Mantra 3 to 7 times per day. If a child is physically weak and unwell, or suffers from chronic illnesses, which may be resulting from karmic obstacles due to negative karmas from previous lives, then it is recommended that you recite the Great Compassion Mantra 21 to 49 times per day. You can sincerely ask Guan Yin Bodhisattva to heal the illness that your child has. If a child is very stubborn, hard to discipline, or display unruly behaviours, then it would be best that you limit your recitation of the Great Compassion Mantra to 7 times per day. If you recite a large number of the Great Compassion Mantra for misbehaved children, it may increase their spiritual power and therefore it would be even more difficult for you to discipline them.
- If a child has a chronic illness or a prenatal disorder, then you should also include the Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance (Li Fo Ta Chan Hui Wen) in your recitation. The number of times that you should recite depends on the age of the child:
- for children less than 1 year old, then it is best to limit your recitation to once per day;
- for children between the ages of 1 to 3 years, you can recite once or twice per day;
- for children between the ages of 3 to 12 years, you can recite up to twice per day; and
- for children between the ages of 12 to 18 years, you can recite up to 3 times per day, unless they are suffering from severe illness which then you can recite 3 to 5 times per day for them. For children above the age of 12 years, you can slightly increase the number, but it is best to limit it to 5 times per day. This is because children are still young and relatively not very strong, and therefore they may collapse if their negative karmas become overly activated.
- As soon as you start to recite the Eighty-eight Buddha Great Repentance for your child, it is important recite Little Houses in a timely manner to transfer merits to the Karmic Creditors of your child. Once the negative karmas have been activated and transformed into foreign spirits, a large number of Little Houses may be required within a short period of time. It is recommended that you recite at least 3 Little Houses per week to avoid the exacerbation of your child’s health condition.
- In addition, you can include the following sutras and mantras in your Daily Recitation for your child:
- Recite the Cundi Dharani (Chun Ti Shen Chou) 21, 27, 49 or 108 times per day and sincerely ask Guan Yin Bodhisattva to protect and bless your child to be able to advance in studies, perform well at school, and successfully pass exams.
- If the child is difficult to discipline and tends to act against the parents, you can recite the Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots (Chieh Chieh Chou) 21, 27 or 49 times per day to transform and resolve the negative karmic ties between the parents and the child.
- It would be even better if children are able to perform recitations for themselves. Children can recite the Great Compassion Mantra, Heart Sutra (preferably during day time), and Cundi Dharani.
- In addition, parents can frequently take their children to perform Life Liberation and help them to develop their mind for compassion from a young age. It is very fortunate for a family to have a child who performs recitations and practises Buddhism from a young age.