Sunday, October 10, 2010
Short Teaching of the Benefit on Doing Smoke Offering
Vajrayana is a part of Mahayana Buddhism which was given by Lord Buddha over 2500 years ago. It contained many special skills that guides practitioner to achieve ultimate happiness along the path of enlightenment. Burn offering is one of the said skill.
Lama Sherab Jungnay recommends the member of Philippine Karma Kagyu Buddhist Society to practice the terma text of burn offering entitled "RIWO SANG CHOE" (translated as "Mountains of Pure Offering") every last Sunday of the month. Lama Sherab told the members that burn offering is one of the parctice of Path of Accumulation and Perfection on Giving Generosity. One prepares great offerings such as five kinds of clothes (white, blue, green, red, and yellow in color) which cut into small pieces, five kinds of beans (black one is not included), cookies, butter, oil, sugar, fruits, rice, some herbal medicine, cypress and pine tree leaves (if available), flowers for altar, some sweets, incense sticks, a tea pot full of tea for offering, and other items that practitioner particularly wishes. The amount of the preparation is based upon one's own ability, same as the space of making fire, environment for one's practice use and so on. Substances of offering are mixed together in one big container. Black tea are to be filled on the offering cup. While the ritual text are recited, offering items are put on small plates for practitioner to thrown it into fire.
This kind of practice is like diamond cutter that helps one to cut through the attachment of materialism. One gathers some charcoals or fire woods with little amount of kerosene to make fire. The said substances of offering are thrown into fire in order to produce smoke that gives sensual pleasures. One offers them to Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and Three Roots (Guru, Yidam and Dakinis) to accumulate merits and to invoke blessings. It also make offerings to the Protectors to seek for thier protection either on mundane lives or path of dharma practice. Giving generosity to six kinds of sentient beings who need the blessings of three roots and three jewels. This practice also pay off our debts to those we owe both present and previous life time. Those with form and formless. Those who are harmed unintentionally.
All sentient beings has mind and feelings. They are eager for happiness and wish to be free from sufferings. No matter who they are, human, animals, gods, demi-gods, beings from the three realms, with form or formless, demon or ghost, or beings from hell. All are the same. They all wish for happiness. But due to their negative karma and habitual tendency, they are stocked up here in samsara endlessly. Buddha said they are once our mother in the past. During that time, they are very kind to us. They take care of us all the time. Now they fall into this unfavorable condition, we should do our best to help them. Through the practice of burn offering, we can repay their kindness.
If one can practice Smoke Offering regularly, He might bring benefits to oneself and to all sentient being through the blessings of Three Jewels. His negative karma will be pacified, karmic enemies will be controlled through reconciliation process, hindrances done by demons or evil spirits will be overcome. One's merit, wealth, wisdom and life force will be increased.
Some might comment that why don't we just use the money for buying these offerings and give it to the poor and needies as charity. Lama Sherab Jungnay had explained to the member that in Lord Buddha's 8400 teachings, burn offering and giving generosity are same kind of practice but only different skills. When Lord Buddha gives these teachings, it based on the different capability of sentient beings to understand and practice. Both practices compassion and bodhicitta too. So one must not say "I prefer this one" or "I don't like that one" because both are came from Lord Buddha.
Today, Lama Kunzang, resident lama of Philippine Karma Kagyu Buddhist Society, together with members continue the practice of Riwo Sang Choe Smoke Offering Puja every last Sunday of the month. They Pray for the peacefulness and well-being of everyone. If any one who is interested to join the said puja, please feel free to drop by our dharma center. Lama Kunzang will be very happy to help you.