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.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth. Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.