“雷斋月” (Léi zhāi yuè) is one of the important events in Daoism. According to ancient customs, the sixth lunar month is the month when the “九天应元雷声普化天尊” (Jiǔtiān yìng yuán léi shēng pǔ huà tiānzūn), the Universal Venerable of the Thunderous Voice Transforms and Enlightens in the Nine Heavens, is manifested.
During this month, all Daoist followers cultivate “斋戒” (zhāi jiè) fasting (abstaining from meat and fish etc.) and recite the “雷经” (léi jīng) Thunder Scripture. The fasting period starts from the first day of the sixth lunar month and lasts until the twenty-fourth day, totaling twenty-four days. July 18th to August 10th.
The “九天应元雷声普化天尊” (Jiǔtiān yìng yuán léi shēng pǔ huà tiānzūn), the Universal Venerable of the Thunderous Voice Transforms and Enlightens, is a revered deity in Chinese folklore and Daoism. He is the incarnation of the “南极长生大帝” (Nánjí chángshēng dàdì), the Great Emperor of Longevity in the South Pole, residing in the celestial realm of the Nine Heavens. He is the supreme commander of the “雷部” (léi bù) Thunder Department, also known as the “雷祖” (léi zǔ), governing all aspects of thunder. He presides over matters of life and death, rewards and punishments, controls clouds and rain, slays demons and evil spirits, and commands thunder. He illuminates the path of the Great Dao in the heavenly realm and aids the suffering in the realms of the deceased.
The headquarters of the Universal Venerable is the “神霄玉清府” (Shén xiāo yù qīng fǔ), the Jade Clear Palace in the Divine Abode. It includes three provinces and nine departments, thirty-six inner courts, the Eastern and Western “华台” (Huá tái) Hua Platforms, the “玄馆妙阁” (Xuán guǎn miào gé) Mysterious Hall of Profoundness, the “四府六院” (Sì fǔ liù yuàn) Four Palaces and Six Courts, and various other offices. It also encompasses numerous divine generals, such as division heads, the “九天雷公将军” (Jiǔtiān léi gōng jiāngjūn) Generals of Thunder in the Nine Heavens, the “八方云雷将军” (Bāfāng yún léi jiāngjūn) Generals of Cloud and Thunder in the Eight Directions, the “五方蛮雷使者” (Wǔfāng mán léi shǐzhě) Envoys of Barbaric Thunder in the Five Directions, and the “雷部总兵使者” (Léi bù zǒng bīng shǐzhě) Commander-in-Chief of the Thunder Department.
In the scriptures, it is said, “雷霆者，乃阴阳之枢机，号令万物之根本。故无有雷霆，则无以宰御三界。是以雷者，类也，是以出万类而起群品也。是元始生杀之机也。宇宙之始盖因阴阳相交一时之爆发，此即也是雷霆之用也，所以无处不有雷霆之显现。
“The thunder, known as the pivot of Yin and Yang, is the foundation that governs all things. Without thunder, there would be no way to govern the Three Realms. Hence, thunder is similar in nature and brings forth numerous varieties. It is the mechanism of creation and destruction. At the beginning of the universe, it is through the explosive interaction of Yin and Yang that thunder is manifested everywhere. This is the purpose of thunder, so its manifestations are omnipresent.”
Why should one practice the Thunder Fasting?
During the hot summer season, people tend to be restless and their spirits unsettled. “雷斋月” (Léi zhāi yuè), “The Month of Thunder Fasting,” is a form of cautionary measure, reminding people to “修己身” (xiū jǐ shēn) cultivate oneself externally and “养真神” (yǎng zhēn shén) cultivate the true spirit internally while in this world, subduing all “妄念” (wàng niàn) frivolous thoughts and “妄想” (wàng xiǎng) illusions of the mind. It is essential to prioritize a “清静修行” (qīng jìng xiū xíng) serene and disciplined practice and refrain from indulging in loose behavior. Only by gaining control over one’s body and mind can one avoid being judged by the deities of the Thunder Department for any transgressions.
The character “斋” (zhāi) in “雷斋月” (Léi zhāi yuè) warns people to introspect regularly, repent sincerely, cultivate compassion, eliminate the obstacles of body, mind, and intention, and observe fasting to preserve one’s life and essence.
Devotees can also practice Thunder Fasting at home.
Some guidelines could help:
- Cultivate a “斋心” (zhāi xīn), a pure mind, keeping external distractions out and internal thoughts in check, striving for pure desires, and minimizing participation in stimulating entertainment activities.
- “戒荤腥” (jiè hūn xīng) Abstain from meat and fish (including alcohol, meat, eggs, dairy products, as well as vegetarian dishes with pungent smells like onions, garlic, chives, and cilantro).
- When at home, after bathing, frequently recite the sacred name of the Universal Venerable, “九天应元雷声普化天尊” (Jiǔtiān yìng yuán léi shēng pǔ huà tiānzūn), either once, five or seven times, or a thousand or a hundred times. This is also known as the “十字天经” (Shízì tiān jīng), the Cross Heaven Scripture. Alternatively, one can recite “九天应元雷声普化天尊玉枢宝经” (Jiǔtiān yìng yuán léi shēng pǔ huà tiānzūn yù shū bǎo jīng), the Scriptures of the Universal Venerable of the Thunderous Voice Transforms and Enlightens, the Jade Pivot Treasure Scripture. However, when reciting the latter, remember to place the “习经牌” (xí jīng pái) Practice Scripture Card upright.
- Practice virtuous deeds, help others, and benefit society.
During the Month of Thunder Fasting, the Daoist temple will also conduct various rituals. Here are the announcements regarding “法讯” (fǎ xùn) – ritual information, and “器物结缘” (qì wù jié yuán) – items for affinity:
Ritual we can do during the Thunder Fasting Month
“雷斋谢罪解业拜忏法科” (Léi zhāi xiè zuì jiě yè bài chàn fǎ kē) – Thunder Fasting Repentance Ritual:
This orthodox ritual is performed by devotees and their family members. It involves repenting for past karmic offenses, conflicts, and personal wrongdoings. Participants will perform confession and repentance in front of the altar, representing the sincere repentance for themselves and their families, seeking to reduce karmic forces and alleviate calamities.
This ritual is conducted individually or with up to three family members who must be direct relatives, including spouses.
“天师平安科” (Tiān shī píng ān kē) – Celestial Master’s Safety Ritual:
This orthodox ritual aims to safeguard the personal safety of the devotee, protecting them from evil spirits and negative influences, and keeping them free from illnesses and afflictions. The effects of this ritual can last from six to ten years.
This ritual is conducted individually and is intended for the devotee’s personal use only.
“还债法科” (Huán zhài fǎ kē) – Debt Repayment Ritual (also known as “还五斋” – Huán wǔ zhāi):
This orthodox ritual helps devotees identify and repay their respective debts, including:
1. “寿生债” (Shòu shēng zhài) – Karmic debts accumulated during the process of reincarnation, symbolized by purchasing rice as a representation of a new life.
2. “阴债” (Yīn zhài) – Karmic debts from past lives.
3. “私债” (Sī zhài) – Intentional or unintentional wrongdoings committed in the present life.
4. “功德债” (Gōng dé zhài) – Unfulfilled vows and debts owed for previous merits.
5. “答谢金债” (Dá xiè jīn zhài) – Monetary offerings to deities for granted wishes or requested blessings.
Debt repayment can be done individually or collectively in a group of five, focusing only on the devotee’s own debts and excluding blood relatives.
“五求”法科 (Wǔ qiú fǎ kē) – Five Requests Ritual (Seeking Money, Merit and Career, Education and Examinations, Marriage, and Offspring):
This orthodox ritual allows devotees to make specific requests aligned with their desires, aiming to achieve corresponding outcomes. These five rituals have enhanced effectiveness when performed during the Month of Thunder Fasting.
Choose one of the five rituals, conducted individually.
“三十六届禳灾解厄法科” (Sānshíliù jiè ráng zāi jiě è fǎ kē) – Thirty-Six Rituals for Averting Calamities and Dispelling Obstacles:
This ritual requires the devotee to attend the temple in person, kneel before the altar, sincerely repent, and request the main altar to draw lots. Each lot represents one of the thirty-six debts. If the ancestral masters grant a favorable lot, the corresponding debt is considered resolved. If not, the process is repeated until all debts are resolved. Through these thirty-six rituals, individuals and their immediate family members can resolve karmic debts from past and present lives, alleviating the suppression of karmic obstacles and improving various aspects of their lives and well-being.
This ritual covers a wide range of debts and can be performed individually by the devotee. If physical limitations prevent a devotee from kneeling for an extended period, a temple representative can perform the ritual on their behalf.
“开补米库法科” (Kāi bǔ mǐ kù fǎ kē) – Opening and Supplementing Rice Storage Ritual:
The term “米库” (mǐ kù) refers to an individual’s personal rice storage, managing their income, expenses, and overall financial situation. Opening and supplementing the rice storage involves rituals to ensure a surplus of income over expenses or to balance the accounts.
Opening and supplementing the rice storage are two separate rituals, which can be performed individually or collectively in a group of five.
“雷斋月祈福功灯” (Léi zhāi yuè qí fú gōng dēng) – Thunder Fasting Blessing Lamp:
Devotees can request blessings for themselves and their family members through this ritual (applicable for all types of blessings). The Thunder Fasting Blessing Lamp allows the shared merits and effectiveness of Thunder Fasting and other rituals to be accumulated and shared.
The lamp can be dedicated for personal use or offered to others (including relatives and friends). Please provide the necessary information for the dedication.
Thunder – Blessed items
“五雷法扇” (Wǔ léi fǎ shàn) – Five Thunder Method Fan:
This hand-painted orthodox fan adorned with the symbols of the “五雷法” (Wǔ léi fǎ) – Five Thunder Method is nurtured by the blessings of the Thunder Ancestor’s spiritual grace on the Month of Thunder Fasting altar. It can be used for personal safety, home protection, and warding off disasters. Only a few fans are produced per year, making it especially suitable for opening a company or individuals seeking career advancement in a physical office space.
“雷斋月器物功养位” (Léi zhāi yuè qì wù gōng yǎng wèi) – Thunder Fasting Affinity for Objects: Devotees can send their daily-worn items, important decorations from their homes, companies, or stores to the temple for processing and empowerment during the Month of Thunder Fasting.
If you want to send us your items to do Thunder blessings, or if you want to receive Thunder Talisman , Fan , scriptures. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For rituals and other Daoist services:
“雷祖宝诰” (Léi zǔ bǎo gào) – Proclamation of the Thunder Ancestor.
Devotees can recite it at home.
普化宝诰 Pǔ huà bǎo gào
Zhì xīn guī mìng lǐ.
Jiǔ tiān yìng yuán fǔ, wú shàng yù qīng wáng, huà xíng ér mǎn shí fāng,
Tán dào ér fū jiǔ fēng. Sān shí liù tiān zhī shàng, yuè bǎo jí, kǎo qióng shū.
Qiān wǔ bǎi jié zhī xiān, wèi zhèng zhēn, quán dà huà. Shǒu jǔ jīn guāng rú yì,
Xuān shuō yù shū bǎo jīng. Bù shùn huà zuò wéi chén, fā hào jí rú fēng huǒ.
Yǐ qīng jìng xīn ér hóng dà yuàn, yǐ zhì huì ér fú zhū mó. Zǒng sī wǔ léi, yùn xīn sān jiè.
Qún shēng fù, wàn líng shī. Dà shèng dà cí, zhì huáng zhì dào.
Jiǔ tiān yìng yuán léi shēng pǔ huà tiān zūn.
Treasured proclamation of the Thunder Patriarch
With high piety turning over of life ceremony
The highest sovereign jade clarity lies in the ninth heaven in the original manor house. Its emanations penetrate the ten directions. He sits cross-legged on the beautiful-headed phoenix throne. At thirty-six heavens he searches through the precious chest of book and examines the jade script. Before the previous era of fifteen hundred years ago, it had already reached perfection and the great transformation had begun. In his hands he holds a Ru Yi scepter of golden light as he explains the meaning of the cherished writings of the Jade Pivot. He turns all obstacles into dust and gives the command like wind and fire. With a clear and calm heart he became a wise man, and with his wisdom he conquered all demons. He’s the general of the Five Thunders division. He moves the three realms. Father of the masses, master of a thousand souls. Great sagacious, great compassion. The towering emperor, the towering Dao. Heavenly, worthy of universal transformation, thundering primal voice of the nine heavens.
Written and Edited by DaDaoJun大道君