The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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In every Bhutanese home, a place is reserved to make offerings to the Three Jewels, the Buddha, Dharma and Spiritual Community. The Three Jewels are often represented by a statue or thanka painting, a scripture and a stupa or a reliquary object. Before them is space to set up a set of standard offerings, represented by bowls of water, and the occasional torma ritual cake or other offerings of Food. The water in the bowls would be changed every morning. For a practitioner, such offerings provide a basis for transformation into unsurpassable offerings.
According to the Buddhist scriptures, all the faults in the Universe are the result of Sentient beings’ disturbing emotions. Instead of dwelling on the faults to be seen in our offerings, but imagining them as pure and faultless, we create an imprint for purifying our minds of obstruction and defilement. Therefore they are imagined as pure and beautiful as possible, incorporating the best of everything existing in the past, present and future and the ten directions of the Universe. The exalted beings to whom we make offerings do not apparently consume the physical substances before us. Nevertheless, as a basis for acquiring merit, such physical offerings should be clean, made of the best substances, attractive to ourselves and acquired through honest means. Consequently, they will Form a better basis for imagining perfect offerings.
When preparing to make offerings, we should begin by meditating on the wisdom of great bliss and emptiness, imagining it has taken the form of the offering. When making the offering, we should think of it as empty of intrinsic existence. 1n this way, we purify the offering of its ordinary aspects and also purify our minds. We should abandon any thought of immediate benefit, especially in relation to ourselves in this life. It is also important not to entertain doubts about the quality of our offering and whether or not it pleased the exalted being to whom we presented it. Instead think that the deity’ rejoiced at the offering and generated great bliss from partaking of it.