Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gratitude and the importance of offerings

Last weekend a lot of stuff crapped out. Our lawnmower died, our drier died, my ipod died, and a few other things cropped up that required immediate attention and money that, if spent, would have made us late on a few bills.

I was developing a strategy of sorcery to take care of this and post as a field report, but as the week progressed, that did not become necessary.

What happened was that on Tuesday I added a note about the situation during morning and evening offerings and suggested to all and sundry that any help would be appreciated. That was Monday. Since then a family member offered to buy us a new dryer which was delivered today. My neighbors boyfriend took the mower on Tuesday and brought it back fixed today including new blade and some new parts for others that were wearing out. This morning I got 3 new clients, and another that I am still making my mind up about.
I have said in the past that meditation is the most important practice in my repertoire. Offerings are the second most important. It is a deep subject. I devote two lessons to it in the course and will probably revisit it again soon during the sections on Spirits. Suffice to say that by making consistent offerings to the four classes of guests you build a favorable relationship with many beings, limit the damage from hostile relationships, and build up connection to the universe itself. When you have that going on, you may find that you dont have to do as much deliberate magic as you think.

Thanks to the Family member and neighbor who helped me out so much
Thanks to the La, Tsen, Lhu, Shidak, and other spirits of nature
Thanks to the Guardians, Allies, and familiar spirits.
I offer up clouds of offerings in gratitude.


Anonymous said...


Jow said...

Hell. yes. I couldn't agree more. Of course since you've got a bit of concrete proof, you don't need my chorus. ;)

Gwynt-Siarad said...

What sort of things do you give as offering?

Jason Miller, said...

Inside the house, I make the traditional offering of 7 bowls of water and one butter lamp. The 7 bowls (and one lamp) actually represent
1. water for washing
2. water for drinking
3. flowers
4. Incense
5. butterlamp
6. perfumed water
7. food
8. music

Outside every morning I make an offering of incense and either water or tea. This is a larger offering to the three lineages of nature spirits as well as all sentient beings.

At night I make an offering of a different kind of incense and sometimes a ritual cake to guardians and bloodthirsty spirits.

In all cases the material offerings are only a support for the more extensive clouds of energy and mental offerings that fill all space and take the shape of whatever is most desirable.

Anonymous said...

You use water bowls to make the outer offerings? I was taught to use the actual items.

Jason Miller, said...

Most Tibetans use water bowls rather than the actual items. The tradition goes back to Atisha who noted that the water in Tibet was so pure that it would form a better base for the offering than the actual item.

Also, other than the lighting of incense, the filling and emptying of water bowls every day makes sure that the practice is an actual thing done every day. The people that use the actual items end up leaving most of the items in there and just doing the mudras and mantras every day.

BTW, for those that are not Buddhists, he means outer offerings in terms of Outer, Inner, and Secret not outside vs inside.

Inner offerings are Amrita (nectar) Rakta (blood) and Balingta (cake or body).

Secret offerings are Anger, Desire, and Ignorance.

There are even deeper levels to this, but that is for your lama to tell you:-)

Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood said...

Perhaps this is the reason why every drain in my house has clogged of late!

I always leave offerings to the nature spirits (based upon your expertise), but only leave offerings to my patron diety on my altar.

I think I may have to rethink that!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have quite a time just remembering to replace the water each day. Heh. And besides, I live in New Orleans. I don't think the water down here is anywhere near that pure, even after they treat it.

Anonymous said...

Two things. Is it just me, or does Vajravidarana not get the appreciation she deserves? It seems like she's been pigeonholed as being "just" a deity for healing, but she's much much more than that.*

And, I think this is yet another case where things can adapt to Western conditions - perhaps we ought not to use water, since our water isn't that pure, and, well, it just doesn't look as cool as presenting all sorts of stuff. And when's the last time anyone has seen a butterlamp on this continent? I mean, you can make them, but why not olive oil if you're just going to use a lamp?

* Check this out -

"All phonemena of the world of appearance and possibility be it samsara or nirvana,
become an infinite cloud of offerings such as Bodhisattva Samantabhadra made
and this I offer to the spontaneously manifesting deity of absolute purity.
The expanse of pure awareness, ground of all and everything, unaltered from the very start,
I praise the deity, my own mind as the miraculous display of perfect manifestation."

Jason Miller, said...

I like the water tradition just fine, and use water that has been put through a filter. You can certainly do either. I used to do it the other way, but found that the stuff got funky and dusty if I left it.

As for Vajravidarana, all Vajrayana deities are more than what their lower activity (in this case healing and purification). He gets a little more attention from the Gelug than in other schools, but there are lots of Yidams that just never took off.

Padmasambhavas main Yidam, Yangdak Heruka, is hardly practiced by anyone anymore. When was the last time you saw someone mention Mahamaya as a current practice? Both of these have a more extensive and important yoga system than Dorje Namjom, who at least gets dragged out once a year for the water purifying puja.

Its just the way of it. There are thousands of dieties. Some like mahamaya have their practices integrated into other systems. Others like Yangdak fall out of practice. Some like Nagaraksha are too dangerous to give out openly. Yet others just never take off widely at all like the Tibetan Chinnamasta practice. Its a great sadhana, but no one does it.

Anonymous said...

So that inspires a second question - what practices have risen to prominence that used to not be so prominent?

IanC said...

Just chiming to say "well said". Having worked in a system of offering and blessing for years now, I've found my need for specific spellwork greatly decreased.
I recall one woman who, after working with offerings for a few years, told me "I've ditched my old spell items, and don't think I'll replace them. I don't see myself needing spells."