Offerings In Tibetan Buddhist Rituals
by David Spiekerman
Now I shall offer a short teaching that I recently received from Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya on the correct view on “offerings”. All Tibetan Buddhist rituals include offerings ranging from the simple to the complex. Offered in a heartfelt manner, all offerings generate powerful benefits.
What is the correct way to make offerings in a Tibetan Buddhist ritual? First, we freely and sincerely offer our minds in the act of preparation, taking refuge, arousing the mind of enlightenment, and visualizing the worship object, for example, His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Dorje Chang. Second, we offer material and immaterial offerings. And third, we offer spiritual offerings and the virtues of our meritorious conduct.
For all of our offerings in all Tibetan Buddhist rituals, it is essential that we practice renunciation, which is the pre-requisite of realization. We can only renounce, give up, and relinquish that which truly belongs to us: our body, our possessions, our attachments, our ignorance, our desire, our emotional defilements, etc. All of these offerings are means to purify our defilements and should come sincerely from our heart.
If in a Tibetan Buddhist ritual, you offer anything that does not belong to you and that you have no clear ownership of, you are damaging your vows, adding to your negative karma, and accumulating no merit.
When you come to a Tibetan Buddhist ritual, please be prepared to offer what truly belongs to you in order to receive the guru’s blessing. If you think you have no material objects to offer, please do not be tempted to take what does not belong to you to overcome your poverty. Offering a penny or a note that says, “I love you guru” are sufficient offerings if you are constrained by poverty. If you are lazy or forget your offerings, please do not take what is not yours as an offering to overcome the faults of laziness, pride, or forgetfulness, which reflect a temporary lack of mindfulness.
As our Guru Yoga Puja states with simplicity and truth:
“My life, possessions, and any virtue of the three times I give to the Guru.”