Saturday, August 02, 2008

As in most spiritual traditions, is it customary to make offerings at a Buddhist shrine, or during prayers, etc.

In the Buddhist tradition, these offerings can be literal, and/or visualized.

The traditional 8 offerings are:


) ARGHAM (Water to drink)

) PADHYAM (Water to bathe)

) PUSHPE (Flowers)

) DUPHE (Incense)

) ALOKHE (Light)

) GENDHE (Perfume)

) NEVIDHYA (Celestial food)

) SHABTA (Music)

Often these offerings are taught to be accompanied by a mudra. That is a hand gesture indicating and expressing the offering type.

This is a video of a Tibetan Monk teaching the 8 offering mudras in order. As you see, they are simple and easy to learn. If you use the 8 offering system each day, or even offer any of the eight on occasion, I urge you to learn the mudras to bring your body into the offering itself. This is then coupled with a visualization (few seconds) of that particular offering multiplied infinitely to that which you are offering (Deity, Guru, Buddha, Bodhisattva, etc.


So for instance, I would offer a small bowl of water on my altar. Say "ARGHAM." Make the ARGHAM mudra (see video). And then visualize a infinite sea of water for drinking for the "guests". Same for the other offerings. I.e., clouds of incense, rains of flowers, etc.

Years ago I would always see monks go through these mudras quickly, but to quickly for me to catch them. Lucky for us, you can stop and pause YouTube.




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