Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

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Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby padma norbu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:39 pm

Was doing my routine the other day and it occurred to me not for the first time, but perhaps more strongly than before, that the offering of water bowls to Buddhas really makes no literal sense from a dzogchen perspective. So, I tried to make symbolic sense of it:

"This pool of nectar endowed with eight qualities is offered to the transcendent accomplished conquerors and their retinues. May they accept this so that I and all sentient beings may perfect the accumulations and purify obscurations so that cyclic existence is dredged from its depths."

I guess it is just like a mandala offering; ie. all things are illusory including the best things represented by the nectar and so we offer them as if offering the whole world, really, in exchange for liberation and the genuine wish for liberation of all beings. The offering isn't a real currency exchange in any sense, but is only a technique to change your mind if you happen to do it with genuine intention rather than rattling it off quickly by rote just because someone told you to.

Is this it? I know it's not much of a topic for the Dzogchen forums, but the whole point is I'm considering it from this perspective.
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby maybay » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:44 pm

padma norbu wrote:Is this it?

There's only one answer to a question like this in a post with Dzogchen in the title.
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby wisdom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:50 pm

padma norbu wrote:Was doing my routine the other day and it occurred to me not for the first time, but perhaps more strongly than before, that the offering of water bowls to Buddhas really makes no literal sense from a dzogchen perspective. So, I tried to make symbolic sense of it:

"This pool of nectar endowed with eight qualities is offered to the transcendent accomplished conquerors and their retinues. May they accept this so that I and all sentient beings may perfect the accumulations and purify obscurations so that cyclic existence is dredged from its depths."

I guess it is just like a mandala offering; ie. all things are illusory including the best things represented by the nectar and so we offer them as if offering the whole world, really, in exchange for liberation and the genuine wish for liberation of all beings. The offering isn't a real currency exchange in any sense, but is only a technique to change your mind if you happen to do it with genuine intention rather than rattling it off quickly by rote just because someone told you to.

Is this it? I know it's not much of a topic for the Dzogchen forums, but the whole point is I'm considering it from this perspective.


The mind can never be changed into the natural state because the natural state is already existent within the mind, unborn and undying. It has never entered causality and therefore is not subject to causes or effects. So from a Dzogchen point of view the only thing to do, whether you are making offerings or riding a bike, is to recognize and remain in the natural state as much as possible.
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby heart » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:38 pm

" Right now, our buddha nature is hidden. The only way to make buddha nature fully manifest is to continue practicing the Dharma in an authentic way and this does not happen by only practicing off and on for a few years. Of course, sporadic practice does make nice imprints, but it does not generate authentic change to the depths of one's being.

To be discouraged because nothing extraordinary has happened since you began practicing is missing the point. Renunciation is the true sign of accomplishment, blessings and realization. In other words, there is a natural disenchantment with samsaric attainments, with any samsaric states.

Do not attach any importance to temporary experiences, not at all. There is only one thing to be confident in: the true state of realization that is unchanging like space. Understanding this is of utmost importance. What really matters is to increase your devotion to and confidence in the Dharma, so that from within you feel that only the Dharma matters, that only practice is important. That is a sure sign of accomplishment."

~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:14 pm

padma norbu wrote:The offering isn't a real currency exchange in any sense, but is only a technique to change your mind if you happen to do it with genuine intention rather than rattling it off quickly by rote just because someone told you to.

Is this it? I know it's not much of a topic for the Dzogchen forums, but the whole point is I'm considering it from this perspective.


I think so. The goal of Dzogchen is to be in the natural state - and this is much easier when the mind is relaxed and at peace. Making an offering sincerely, as you described, will help induce a relaxed mind. The imagination is very powerful. If you really imagine that you are actually offering an infinite ocean of nectar to all buddhas, on behalf of all sentient beings - this is bound to have an effect on your mind that will make "relaxing into the natural state" more natural.
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:41 pm

I just found this video, which sort of says the same thing - he's talking about ethical behavior particularly, but I think this applies equally to all the relative practices that we do, such as offerings.

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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby padma norbu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:07 pm

dakini_boi wrote:
padma norbu wrote:The offering isn't a real currency exchange in any sense, but is only a technique to change your mind if you happen to do it with genuine intention rather than rattling it off quickly by rote just because someone told you to.

Is this it? I know it's not much of a topic for the Dzogchen forums, but the whole point is I'm considering it from this perspective.


I think so. The goal of Dzogchen is to be in the natural state - and this is much easier when the mind is relaxed and at peace. Making an offering sincerely, as you described, will help induce a relaxed mind. The imagination is very powerful. If you really imagine that you are actually offering an infinite ocean of nectar to all buddhas, on behalf of all sentient beings - this is bound to have an effect on your mind that will make "relaxing into the natural state" more natural.


This stuff is incredibly hard to put into words. The words I want to choose now seem like they've all already been said before, but for some reason I didn't fully understand even when I thought I did. Weird stuff. Anyway, yeah... relative and absolute, fine as flour and wide as the sky. Everything you love will be ripped away in the end and for all those you know, too, so keep this thought in mind and mindfulness becomes easier. I suppose I can thank a recent upset in my life for reminding me... and pointing out little selfish and clinging ways.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby padma norbu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:10 pm

wisdom wrote:The mind can never be changed into the natural state because the natural state is already existent within the mind, unborn and undying. It has never entered causality and therefore is not subject to causes or effects. So from a Dzogchen point of view the only thing to do, whether you are making offerings or riding a bike, is to recognize and remain in the natural state as much as possible.

Yes, exactly, which really makes the whole thing unnecessary. A water offering is trying to do something. A relative practice. I started doing all my relative practices by encapsulating them within "dzogchen practice" as Namkhai Norbu said to do and I think it is helping me understand their value more, which is strange considering my opening sentence about them being "unnecessary."
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby padma norbu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:40 pm

dakini_boi wrote:I just found this video, which sort of says the same thing - he's talking about ethical behavior particularly, but I think this applies equally to all the relative practices that we do, such as offerings.



Wow, finally got a chance to watch this—thanks, it's really good! I kind of wrote KW off several years ago probably because of his tendency to refer to "I am" and "God" as he does in this video, but clearly he knows what he's talking about. Interesting that he chooses to use those words, but what he said was really well put, imo.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:25 pm

Padma Norbu - I'm glad you got to see it. I've never followed his teachings, but after seeing a couple of videos (yesterday and today) I now appreciate him. Did you know he practiced Dzogchen, and was a student of Chagdud Tulku? Yes, it helps to be flexible with language, words like "god," "I am," "witness," none of which I particularly relate to either.
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Re: Water bowl offerings logic from Dzogchen perspective

Postby heart » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:44 pm

dakini_boi wrote:I just found this video, which sort of says the same thing - he's talking about ethical behavior particularly, but I think this applies equally to all the relative practices that we do, such as offerings.



Quite good, thanks.

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