How are offerings accepted?

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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:32 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Blue Garuda wrote:I don't ascribe to the 'pretend' approach.

There is a big difference between imagining something to exist, and pretending something exists. Imagination is a creative act. It can be claimed that by imagining something you bring it into existence.

It really doesn't matter how deities exist, the fact that they occupy our thoughts means that they do. The stronger the belief, the better the practice.


You used the word 'imaginary' early on in a post. It means 'existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real'.

How can anyone have that strong belief in beings they regard as imaginary?

'Pretending' is to indulge in make-believe, which is also a mental creative act, deluding self or others that something is real when it is not.

Everything is either real or not according to the mind. If you regard any being as 'imaginary' (i.e. a product of your imagination) then surely you must be consistent and regard all beings as imaginary. Why differentiate? If you book to go to a restaurant you go there in the belief that it is real and the staff are also going to be real. Why would you regard other beings you cannot see and have never met as 'imaginary' and still make offerings to them?

The point of Vajrayana is not to propitiate or self-generate as something you regard as imaginary, but to engage with alternative realities.

Sorry to be picky, but we must surely start with a conviction that beings are real for offerings to them to be useful to them and useful to us - there is no merit in making offerings to a being which is imaginary. They cannot benefit and neither can your mind benefit from an act which is imaginary in its execution and therefore also imaginary in its effect.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:56 pm

Blue Garuda wrote:You used the word 'imaginary' early on in a post. It means 'existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real'.

I use the word "imaginary" to mean "existing in the imagination". The issue comes down to what the imagination actually is, and what it is capable of.

Blue Garuda wrote:Everything is either real or not according to the mind.

This is a limited view.

Blue Garuda wrote:Sorry to be picky, but we must surely start with a conviction that beings are real for offerings to them to be useful to them and useful to us - there is no merit in making offerings to a being which is imaginary. They cannot benefit and neither can your mind benefit from an act which is imaginary in its execution and therefore also imaginary in its effect.

If you can believe in the existence of deities without qualification, you have a gift in regard to the practice of Vajrayana. Others have to work at it.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Blue Garuda » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:23 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Blue Garuda wrote:You used the word 'imaginary' early on in a post. It means 'existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real'.

I use the word "imaginary" to mean "existing in the imagination". The issue comes down to what the imagination actually is, and what it is capable of.

Blue Garuda wrote:Everything is either real or not according to the mind.

This is a limited view.

Blue Garuda wrote:Sorry to be picky, but we must surely start with a conviction that beings are real for offerings to them to be useful to them and useful to us - there is no merit in making offerings to a being which is imaginary. They cannot benefit and neither can your mind benefit from an act which is imaginary in its execution and therefore also imaginary in its effect.

If you can believe in the existence of deities without qualification, you have a gift in regard to the practice of Vajrayana. Others have to work at it.


It is true with the Mahayana as well, surely, as deities and their practices exist across the board. Some will never even consider the possibility that the deities are unreal if they have been brought up in a culture which supports that view.

I've always had that belief in beings who to our senses may be formless or only occasionally sensed by us, for my own reasons, which would be off-topic.

I sometimes think it is funny when a Christian thinks such practices weird yet will happily accept the Holy Trinity, virgin birth etc etc. LOL:)
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Sherlock » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:32 am

So Malcolm's reply basically affirms that the deities, nagas, or whatever spirits don't really consume the outer offerings at all. Even if I accept the existence of spirits in that case, that leaves me wondering how they can be pleased by the gesture besides just thinking "how nice that he's doing this for us". Also, it makes me think of other traditions with many material offerings offered to spirits like the ATRs -- some of those practitioners have experiences that really confirm that their spirits enjoy the material offerings, in that case it would confirm that they are really pretas (and maybe gyalpos in particular since gyalpos are part of the class of pretas).

I guess in the context of offerings to Nagas and Sang offerings, the only clear way to see that the spirits appreciated your offerings is whether there are clear effects in your life as a result of that. Rationalists will still put that down as magical thinking and there's no real way of objectively proving things like that of course.

What dharmagoat is suggesting seems like basically Aleister Crowley's initial impressions of spirits being aspects of your unconscious mind mixed with yogacara. In the end Crowley came to believe that the spirits were actual independent entities though and of course traditional lore has always treated them this way.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:42 pm

Sherlock wrote:I guess in the context of offerings to Nagas and Sang offerings, the only clear way to see that the spirits appreciated your offerings is whether there are clear effects in your life as a result of that. Rationalists will still put that down as magical thinking and there's no real way of objectively proving things like that of course.

For someone experiencing the desired effects of the practice, what rationalists think about it is of no consequence I'd say. :lol:

What dharmagoat is suggesting seems like basically Aleister Crowley's initial impressions of spirits being aspects of your unconscious mind mixed with yogacara. In the end Crowley came to believe that the spirits were actual independent entities though and of course traditional lore has always treated them this way.

I think it's quite natural that people who never had any experience with such entities doubt their existence. Perhaps even healthy. But one should give it a good thought because the basis that make us doubt about the existence of these beings may not be solid itself.
First I would say it's useful to analyse our own existence. When we gain some insight about our own ontological status, then we'll have a different mindframe when considering the existence of beings we can't see.
Or, IMO, the best thing is just giving the benefit of doubt since we can't claim for sure such beings don't exist, shortcut the whole lengthy intellectual analysis at some extent and actually practice. I guess experience should be the bearer of answers, not beliefs.
There's nothing like experience.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby kirtu » Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:50 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:For someone experiencing the desired effects of the practice, what rationalists think about it is of no consequence I'd say. :lol:


:twothumbsup:

In the end Crowley came to believe that the spirits were actual independent entities though and of course traditional lore has always treated them this way.


They exist exactly the way we exist - through causes and conditions.

And making offerings to them can be seen as if they were real. At the outer level we can treat the subject as if it were real, keeping in mind that nothing is real beyond dependent arising and the dependent arisal is not really real, just functional.

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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Nemo » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:42 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Blue Garuda wrote:You used the word 'imaginary' early on in a post. It means 'existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real'.

I use the word "imaginary" to mean "existing in the imagination". The issue comes down to what the imagination actually is, and what it is capable of.

Blue Garuda wrote:Everything is either real or not according to the mind.

This is a limited view.

Blue Garuda wrote:Sorry to be picky, but we must surely start with a conviction that beings are real for offerings to them to be useful to them and useful to us - there is no merit in making offerings to a being which is imaginary. They cannot benefit and neither can your mind benefit from an act which is imaginary in its execution and therefore also imaginary in its effect.

If you can believe in the existence of deities without qualification, you have a gift in regard to the practice of Vajrayana. Others have to work at it.


My mystic eye senses a heretic. Acolytes fetch the burning pitch!
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby dharmagoat » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:10 am

Nemo wrote:My mystic eye senses a heretic. Acolytes fetch the burning pitch!

Beware the goat in sheep's clothing!
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Sherlock » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:41 am

I just read this post about nagas. Interesting, so it isn't the actual offerings that really help to please them, but keeping to the terms of the samayas drawn up by enlightened beings.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby catmoon » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:21 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Nemo wrote:My mystic eye senses a heretic. Acolytes fetch the burning pitch!

Beware the goat in sheep's clothing!


Goat, sheep, whatever. They're all sacrificial animals right? Ah, here come the acolytes now. Excellent.
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:32 am

Nemo wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:
Blue Garuda wrote:You used the word 'imaginary' early on in a post. It means 'existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real'.

I use the word "imaginary" to mean "existing in the imagination". The issue comes down to what the imagination actually is, and what it is capable of.

Blue Garuda wrote:Everything is either real or not according to the mind.

This is a limited view.

Blue Garuda wrote:Sorry to be picky, but we must surely start with a conviction that beings are real for offerings to them to be useful to them and useful to us - there is no merit in making offerings to a being which is imaginary. They cannot benefit and neither can your mind benefit from an act which is imaginary in its execution and therefore also imaginary in its effect.

If you can believe in the existence of deities without qualification, you have a gift in regard to the practice of Vajrayana. Others have to work at it.


My mystic eye senses a heretic. Acolytes fetch the burning pitch!



There are ways to deal with the 8 classes, and Blue Garuda's got em all! ;)

The ninth class of cloven-footed horned demons I leave strictly to the Spanish Inquisition! LOL :)
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:51 am

I will never believe! Never!
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby pemachophel » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:16 pm

Dharmagoat,

You seem to believe in an "I" that is in full control of itself and can maintain itself and its own volition indefinitely. You also seem to be attached to grasping at certain ideas and rejecting other ideas. You might want to take a closer look at that.

Good luck and best wishes. :namaste:
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Re: How are offerings accepted?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:46 pm

pemachophel wrote:You seem to believe in an "I" that is in full control of itself and can maintain itself and its own volition indefinitely. You also seem to be attached to grasping at certain ideas and rejecting other ideas. You might want to take a closer look at that.

I appreciate your concern, but question whether it is founded.

I do not indicate flippancy with smilies as perhaps I should. I can understand how this can be confusing. Maybe some confusion is intentional, but I never intend to mislead.

I can assure that my "I" is not in full control of itself, with hilarious consequences.

I reject many ideas but grasp very few. The ideas I reject are those that appear to complicate rather than simplify. Superstition is one example.

I make a point of closely looking at everything I think, say and do. Part of this requires me to pay close attention to feedback from others. It would be useful if you could give examples of when I display the grasping that you describe.
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