offering bowls

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offering bowls

Postby Dragon » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:33 pm

I am new to Tibetan Buddhism and live in the west. I do not have a teacher at the moment but am trying to set up my altar. I was wondering if someone could be so kind to help me?

I have a question about offering bowls. I intend to do offerings every morning. How come some people do only water offerings while some offer up water plus food, incense, light, etc.? I purchased some items to do the latter today, but I am wondering if I should only be doing water offerings and save the other offerings for some other type of ritual? I am a bit confused. Thank you.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:46 pm

You can do them all as water offerings or you can do the 1st and 2nd bowl with water, 3rd flower, 4th incense, 5th candle, 6th perfumed water, 7th food and 8th is music (which is symbolised by a conch shell).
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Dragon » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:52 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:You can do them all as water offerings or you can do the 1st and 2nd bowl with water, 3rd flower, 4th incense, 5th candle, 6th perfumed water, 7th food and 8th is music (which is symbolised by a conch shell).


Is there a reason why some do one and not the other? Or is it just a matter of personal preference?

Thanks.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:55 pm

Traditionally you can make the 8 offerings--
Argam-water to drink
Padyam-water to wash feet
Puhpe-Flowers
Duphe-incense
Aloke-Light
Gendhe-Perfume
Newidye-Food
Shabda-music

If you do this, the first two bowls are water, and the sixth can be water as well--sometimes with saffron added, or some people add essential oil or even perfume.

But it's good to offer 7 bowls of water. Water is essential to life, and it is clean and pure, and can be replaced daily--it's easier to make a clean and pure water offering than it is to refresh the 8 traditional offerings daily.

It's also the case that some specific practices require different offerings than the 8 listed above--some leave out Padyam, for example, and others may add additional offerings......but water is always easy, and not specific to a given puja or sadhana.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Dragon » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:19 pm

conebeckham wrote:Traditionally you can make the 8 offerings--
Argam-water to drink
Padyam-water to wash feet
Puhpe-Flowers
Duphe-incense
Aloke-Light
Gendhe-Perfume
Newidye-Food
Shabda-music

If you do this, the first two bowls are water, and the sixth can be water as well--sometimes with saffron added, or some people add essential oil or even perfume.

But it's good to offer 7 bowls of water. Water is essential to life, and it is clean and pure, and can be replaced daily--it's easier to make a clean and pure water offering than it is to refresh the 8 traditional offerings daily.

It's also the case that some specific practices require different offerings than the 8 listed above--some leave out Padyam, for example, and others may add additional offerings......but water is always easy, and not specific to a given puja or sadhana.


Got it. Thank you.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:26 pm

Different offerings have different benefits. Water is always good, but other offerings should be made on occasion. Lights, incense, flowers, food, etc.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:20 am

You should do the 8 offerings. It ties into various sadhanas. Also, have you ever bumped into a table with a bunch of bowls filled to the brim with water? Does your house have water damage insurance?
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Terma » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:16 am

I think it's great if you can offer some if not all of the things listed above, but otherwise water will suffice too. Remember, though you are offering something physical each morning, it does not need to be limited to this. We can imagine offering the three jewels the most splendid kinds of offerings at the same time too!

As you mentioned some offer water bowls as well (or instead of the other offerings). In the book "Luminous Essence", Mipham explains quite clearly why, in the view of a Vajrayana practitioner, water is a very suitable offering to be made. I will need to look for the quote though, and will try to post it when I do.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:02 am

conebeckham wrote:It's also the case that some specific practices require different offerings than the 8 listed above--some leave out Padyam, for example...
Many leave out shabda (music) and add an actual music offering at the end of the offering prayer.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: offering bowls

Postby Dragon » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:54 pm

LOL, Ramon1920!

Thanks for the advice, everyone!
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Re: offering bowls

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:56 am

There is a line that appears in a Tibetan Sadhana (ritual text) that goes: "I make offerings both real and imagined".
Usually, people think that the water, incense, rice, or other material offerings are "real"
and that our visualized offerings are imaginary.
My understanding is that it is in fact the other way around,
that these bits of stuff we pile up in front of statues have no intrinsic reality to them at all.
But that it is our imagined offerings that are "real" because they are what generate merit,
manifest as our intentions, generosity and so forth.
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Re: offering bowls

Postby yegyal » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:29 am

Dragon wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:You can do them all as water offerings or you can do the 1st and 2nd bowl with water, 3rd flower, 4th incense, 5th candle, 6th perfumed water, 7th food and 8th is music (which is symbolised by a conch shell).


Is there a reason why some do one and not the other? Or is it just a matter of personal preference?

Thanks.


The various offerings derive from the Indian custom of greeting guests, i.e. the first bowl of water is for drinking, the second is for washing your feet, etc.
In Tibet it was difficult to find all of the various substances, so the Indian master Atisha who visited Tibet in the 11th century suggested that since the water was so pure in Tibet, they could just offer that. That's how the tradition of offering just water began.
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