Ngondro - Mandala Offering

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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:23 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Chaz wrote:
Some folks say that rice isn't good for the birds. I don't know if that's true or not, but it makes me reluctant to offer used rice to them.

.


I don't believe this is true... I researched it a couple years ago because
I suddenly got concerned about the birds who were eating all
the dharmapala-offering rice. Rice expands too slowly in
normal (not boiling) temperatures, and plus the birds digestive
enzymes begin breaking it down fairly soon after eating... So the idea
of rice expanding and exploding bird stomachs is something
of an urban legend, from what I can tell..



As an aside, our UK 'National Trust', which preserves buildings and gardens for posterity, has asked that visitors do not feed birds bread. It fills the birds, who find it attractive, but has negligible nutritional value. As a result birds die of malnutrition with full stomachs. Maybe rice has the same effect and is a useless food for birds.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Chaz » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:16 pm

Yeshe wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Chaz wrote:
Some folks say that rice isn't good for the birds. I don't know if that's true or not, but it makes me reluctant to offer used rice to them.

.


I don't believe this is true... I researched it a couple years ago because
I suddenly got concerned about the birds who were eating all
the dharmapala-offering rice. Rice expands too slowly in
normal (not boiling) temperatures, and plus the birds digestive
enzymes begin breaking it down fairly soon after eating... So the idea
of rice expanding and exploding bird stomachs is something
of an urban legend, from what I can tell..



As an aside, our UK 'National Trust', which preserves buildings and gardens for posterity, has asked that visitors do not feed birds bread. It fills the birds, who find it attractive, but has negligible nutritional value. As a result birds die of malnutrition with full stomachs. Maybe rice has the same effect and is a useless food for birds.


That could be.

Up in Idaho, a small tributary of the famous Henry's Fork of the Snake River has a footbridge where people feed popcorn to the trout who have learned to hang out below the bridge to get the food. Surprisingly these trout have grown huge on a diet of almost nothing but popcorn. Personally, I find such things loathesome. It's like people feeding bears and coyotes in nearby Yellowstone National Park.

I've also considered replacing the traditional rice offering for something with a bit more relevance to my (western) culture, namely wheat. That I would have little trouble feeding to birds in my neighborhood.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Chaz » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:20 pm

In fact, I'd like to pose my last post as a question.

Considering that wheat in western culture is just as important as rice in the east, would wheat, as opposed to rice, be acceptable as a mandala offering for a westerner such as myself?

Keep in mind, I have no problem using rice, but I sure am curious about the wheat.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:06 am

Chaz wrote:In fact, I'd like to pose my last post as a question.

Considering that wheat in western culture is just as important as rice in the east, would wheat, as opposed to rice, be acceptable as a mandala offering for a westerner such as myself?

Keep in mind, I have no problem using rice, but I sure am curious about the wheat.


Well, I've seen all sorts of materials used, like tiny glass beads and gemstones, but as it is all representational of continents, etc. I really don't think it matters.

Some say we should use the most expensive materials we can afford, but I would rather have a pure intention and make a heartfelt offering that fuss about what I use.

If the materials can then be used for the benefit of other beings, as food, I place that as of greater merit than gemstones.

I'm probably out of synch with some teachers, but I remember that story of the boy with the rock as his base and sand as his material and wonder, if I sold my house and offered gold nuggets in my mandala offering, would the Buddhas think I was nuts to do that rather than feed a single mouse ith some wheat.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:52 am

Chaz wrote:In fact, I'd like to pose my last post as a question.

Considering that wheat in western culture is just as important as rice in the east, would wheat, as opposed to rice, be acceptable as a mandala offering for a westerner such as myself?

Keep in mind, I have no problem using rice, but I sure am curious about the wheat.


It's not unheard of to use barley dyed with food coloring, so I don't see why not. Anything clean and of worth is ok as far as I know.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Adamantine » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:24 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Chaz wrote:In fact, I'd like to pose my last post as a question.

Considering that wheat in western culture is just as important as rice in the east, would wheat, as opposed to rice, be acceptable as a mandala offering for a westerner such as myself?

Keep in mind, I have no problem using rice, but I sure am curious about the wheat.


It's not unheard of to use barley dyed with food coloring, so I don't see why not. Anything clean and of worth is ok as far as I know.


Yeah, you can use barely, or wheat, whatever grain you like. I mixed a few together. It seems others have had instructions to offer the rice and not re-use it. This wasn't my instruction.. I had a cloth draped around me and whatver fell on the clean cloth I would re-use, anything that rolled off to the floor I would later collect but not use again. At the end I was instructed to offer it all into a body of water (which I did including all the little gemstone bits). But the point being, if my experience is if you re-use rice over a few sessions it starts to crumble and break down and isn't that good anymore anyway. However, wheat and barely would be more durable. They don't take the stain of saffron as well though, and there is some good temdrel with coloring the offering substance with the deep yellow of saffron, -as this is the color of earth/wealth/enriching element, and saffron also has a purifying effect. But even if you use wheat, I'd still dye it with saffron water first (and let it dry out) even though it won't show as well.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:05 am

Adamantine wrote:It seems others have had instructions to offer the rice and not re-use it. This wasn't my instruction..

The instructions of my teachers were to use the rice or whatever for a week or two and then offer it outside, for example to birds. So what I'd do was wash, saffron and spice up, and dry a bunch of rice and then put it in a container and take what I needed for practice every week or two.
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Re: Ngondro - Mandala Offering

Postby narraboth » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:28 pm

oh, it's great to see so many people join this discussion
(which means many people actually do mandala offering)

my many cents (sorry can't reply to each person):
1. I think the problem of white rice is, it doesn't contain enough nutrition for birds. And you put a lot out there, it might change their diet too much. Also we don't know if spice will do good to all kinds of birds.
2. it can be true that some birds don't know when to stop eating, like fishes. In the end they might be too full and get sick.
3. Sometimes you just don't have enough birds or they don't like rice. I did mandala offering not often, but once i did it, and I spreaded some rice (about 1lb) in the garden, months later before i moved I could still see white rice there.
4. small coins are nice, as long as they won't be smelly and dark after.

ah, it would be easy to do it in old Tibet I imagine.
anyway, I am going to buy some crystal flakes soon... :)
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