Jul 20, 2019

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 8 Comments

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”? (Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh Trí: Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn – Bài 1: Thế nào gọi là cúng dường?)

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”? (Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh Trí: Cúng dường bất khả gián đoạn – Bài 1: Thế nào gọi là cúng dường?)

Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING

Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”?

What is the meaning of “cúng dường” or “making offerings”? This word is originally pronounced as “cung dưỡng” which means “taking care with respectful attitude”. Through time it has been mispronounced as “cúng dường”. Today, this practice is very popular in Buddhism which means to respectfully or reverently make offerings to the spiritual elders like monks, gurus, hermits, masters or senior Dharma brothers. However, if the same act is done to ordinary needy persons, it is called “bố thí” or “making alms” to which the beneficiaries are beggars, the destitute or those in misery. Often almsgiving is engaged in any charitable activity but the practice of making offerings is rarely found because it’s hard to find most worthy persons. The Buddha taught that there are 13 subjects worth of making offerings, of whom one is worth of giving alms. They include Buddha, Pratyeka-buddha, Sravaka (including eight levels from Sotapattiphala to Arahattaphala and from Sotapattimagga to Arahattamagga), hermits who attain from the first to the fourth jhana, and virtuous Buddhist practitioner who fully observes five precepts. The 13th subject is animal thus just worth of “giving alms”. What makes us proud is that among those deserved to receive offerings, there are hermits or heresies who must undergo extreme hardship and difficulties in their practice while Buddhist practitioners just need keep five precepts to stand equal to them. From the list of those worth of making offerings, we found no devas, atulas or demons, simply because they are not humans, who are virtuous and meritable enough to become worth of receiving offerings. Why so? Because only humans are capable of practicing Dharma to attain Buddhahood, Bodhisattvahood, Pratyeka-buddhahood, Arahatship, four jhanas and strictly observing precepts.  Not devas, atulas and demons, but only humans with eight freedoms and ten endowments can practice Dharma. This explains why it is rare and precious to gain human rebirth and the Buddha only highlighted the spiritual endeavor of the human. Moreover, devas, atulas and demons have their own kinds of food and stuff that are different from ours.

Normally, offerings involve eagle-wood, incense, flowers, lit candle or oil lamp, pennants and banners, foods, clothing, music, dance… . However, depending on Age, Country and Ethnicity, offerings can be money, gold and silver or the valuables. Devotees can also give anything they have at the time of making offerings, just like a story in the Buddha’s time when a boy threw a handful of sand up to the sky as celestial flowers to present the Buddha or an old woman who reverently offered her bowl of stale porridge to Mahakasyapa. There are also people who produce in abundance but do not want to make offerings because of miserliness; or they make a small offering but greedy enough to regret having made them afterwards, just like sowing a bad seed on fertile soil will never produce a good crop (blessings). Likewise, also in the Buddha’s time, a Brahman offered foods to the Buddha then he felt regret about this deed, consequently he was reborn as a billionaire but lived like a poor because of his own miserliness in past lives. It’s not by chance the Samantabhadra Bodhisattva made ten great vows in which the third one is “to make wide and abundant offerings”, i.e to expand the scope of the practice which includes “external offerings” (materials as mentioned above) and “internal offerings” (using “Dharma offerings” like taking other sentient beings’ suffering upon oneself, strictly observing precepts, doing good deeds for sentient beings, practicing Buddhist Dharma and guiding the sentient beings to enter the path of cultivation….

From here, we will see “Dharma offerings” are far higher than “material offerings”. Nonetheless, both forms of offerings should be “pure”, not “impure”. “Pure offerings” means one practices Buddhist Dharma and guides other sentient beings on the path of cultivation on the basis of Bodhicitta or spiritual benefits of the sentient beings, rather than for fame or profit. Those do with selfish objectives are like “to exercise patience for merely selfish ends rather than for doing good to others is to be like a cat exercising in order to kill a mouse”; or “to perform meritorious actions in order merely to attain fame and praise is like bartering the mystic wish granting gem for a pellet of goat’s dung” are two of 14 grievous failures of the practitioner, as warned by Master Gampopa. This is called “impure offerings”. In this Dharma degeneration age, we easily fail to distinguish between true and fake practitioners, just like the alert of the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, that: “A true Buddhist practitioner is much rarer than the morning star”. Fortunately, however, he introduced us a good way of distinction as follows: “The enlightened one does not have any definite appearance for easy recognition; the defrauder on the contrary owns much hypocrisy that hard to be recognized, never mistake copper for gold”. We only recognize it is “gold” or “copper” by putting it in the “test” of Master Gampopa through his two above teachings.

Hence, to make our offerings become pure, whatever they may be though,  we need a clear perception of the meaning of making offerings, who to be offered and finally how to recognize and make “pure internal offerings”.

A rainy afternoon on the peak of Phu Van Mountain, March 7, 2019

Thinley- Nguyen Thanh

Translated by Mat Hue Phap


Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma – THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING

Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”?

Part 2: THE SENSE AND ATTITUDE OF MAKING OFFERINGS

  1. Tantra Upatissa says:
    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    By reading this article I came to know – how to make offerings and whom do we need to offer.

    Offering should be done with pure mind and heart without expecting anything in return. Otherwise it will appear like give and take business, which should not be done while making offerings.

    Offerings differ from country to country and from place to place, also depends on financial stability.

    Nowadays it’s difficult to find the right person or any enlightened one whom we can make offerings. We should not mistake copper in place of gold.

    Thank you Guru for guiding us about offerings.

    May Guru and his consort live long and get enlightened.

    May all beings be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của của đạo hữu Tantra Upatissa sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã cho con được đọc bài viết này.

      Sau khi đọc bài viết của Thầy con hiểu được cách cúng dường đúng và đối tượng chúng con cần cúng dường. Cúng dường nên được thực hành với tâm thành tịnh và không đòi hỏi toan tính. Nếu không thì cúng dường trở thành mua bán, cho nhận và điều này tối kị trong tu pháp cúng dường. Con hiểu rằng cúng dường được thực hiện khác nhau tùy theo quốc độ khác nhau và tùy theo khả năng của hành giả.

      Ngày nay, thật khó để tìm được đối tượng đúng và bậc trí để cúng dường. Chúng con nên cẩn trọng nếu không thì sẽ nhầm lẫn đồng là vàng.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy chỉ dạy chúng con về cúng dường.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô thân tâm an tịnh, trụ thế lâu dài.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh đoạn trừ khổ đau và đạt được giác ngộ.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  2. Dr C H Lakshminarayan says:
    Om Shri Gurubhyo namaha.

    A Buddhist or a layperson who has just  started to walk in spiritual field should develop practicing  uninterrupted offerings  or in other words ‘ Alms-giving’. Guruji has beautifully explained in this article the right  way of  Alms giving.

    ‘Alms-giving’  is defined as charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy. A doner should avoid looking down on others who can not make a similar offering, nor should he  exult over his own charity!. Defiled by such unworthy thoughts his action is only of inferior grade ( impure). When the act of charity is motivated by expectations of beneficial results of immediate prosperity and happiness, the accompanying Action is classified as mediocre. It is only when the good deed of Alms-giving is performed out of spirit of renunciation, motivated by Bhodhicitta, thoughts of selflessness, aspiring only for attainment of Nibbana, where all suffering ends that action is regarded as of superior grade.!( Pure mind or Bhodhicitta). This is the right way to Alms-giving.!

    Right example to mention here, is the sweet porridge ( payasam) offered by Sujatha while siddartha was in a collapsing stage due to starvation before becoming Buddha and getting Enlightenment.!.

    Bhodhicitta is the seed.  The plant sprouting from it( action ) offers fragrant flowers and sweet fruits to many people and shade and shelter  who come and take refuge under that plant or tree.! without any expectations.!

    Finally, Guruji emphasizes on ” Dharma offerings” are far higher than” Material offerings”. Nonetheless, both forms offerings should be pure ( Bhodhicitta) and not impure!

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Dr C H Lakshminarayan

    (Tantra Nirvadeva)

  3. Mật Phê Rô says:

    Kính bạch Thầy !

    Con hoan hỷ thiện hạnh huynh Mật Huệ Pháp đã chuyển ngữ bài viết Đệ tam tâm pháp Thanh trí : CÚNG DƯỜNG BẤT KHẢ GIÁN ĐOẠN . Bài 1: Thế nào gọi là cúng dường. sang tiếng Anh giúp các bạn đọc hữu duyên nước ngoài được đọc bài viết của vị Thầy  .

    Con cầu nguyện cho huynh Mật Huệ Pháp luôn được hạnh phúc tự tâm, thế sự hanh thông và thành đạt xã hội .

    Con cầu nguyện Thầy Cô sức khỏe, trường thọ vì đại nghiệp phổ truyền Yoga Thanh Trí làm lợi lạc cho chúng sanh .

    Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh được nương tựa bóng lành Thầy, Phật, Pháp, Tăng .

    Om Mani Padme Hum !

  4. Dear holy Guru,

    I am so happy to read your article: “Thanh Tri – the 3rd Mind Dharma: THE PRACTICE OF UNINTERRUPTED OFFERING – Part 1: What is the meaning of “making offerings”?.

    Thank you so much for making the clear explanation of “what the meaning of making offerings is” and you teach me who deserves to receive offerings and who should we make offerings. In addition,  I have learnt that making offerings is a method to practice dharma. It is the method to sow the seed of blessings for the wealthy life and for being reborn in the Pure Land if we make offerings to the right person. If we make offerings to the wrong person,  we get nothing but the chance to be reborn in the low realms because we are involved with the wrong view practitioners.

    When making offerings to the right ones who deserves, depending on Age, Country and Ethnicity, offerings can be money, gold and silver or the valuables and devotees can also give anything they have at the time of making offerings.  In addition,  there are two kinds of making offerings, which includes “external offerings” (materials as mentioned above) and “internal offerings” (using “Dharma offerings” like taking other sentient beings’ suffering upon oneself, strictly observing precepts, doing good deeds for sentient beings, practicing Buddhist Dharma and guiding the sentient beings to enter the path of cultivation….The more important thing is their pure willingness and their right attitude. It is the benefit to others and the bodhichitta to all sentient beings.

    I would like to thank you for your wonderful teachings about making offerings.

    I also rejoice in the good deed of Mat Hue Pháp translation. Her noble work supports to spread your teachings all over the world for the benefit of all sentient beings.

    May you and your consort have a good health and live long for the sake of all sentient beings.

    May Mat Hue Phap get joyful and successful on the path of enlightenment.

    May all sentient beings achieve the happiness of the Buddha ‘s nature.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

  5. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh của huynh Mật Huệ Pháp, cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin  tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì . Con cầu nguyện sức khoẻ và sự trường thọ của thầy cô vì lợi lạc của chúng sanh Om ah hum.

  6. Ahmed Khan says:

    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for sharing this article, and I am also thankful to Mat Hue Phap for translating it.

    This article explains about offerings, who to make offerings to and the different types of offerings.

    May all sentient beings be free from suffering and become enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

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