December 2 : After Meal Dedications

After lunch, at the Abbey, we make an offering to the hungry ghosts. We do this because the Buddha promised one mother hungry ghost that his disciples would feed her and her children every day if she would stop stealing human babies to feed to her children. We snap our fingers to call the pretas, throw the food onto the table or floor, and imagine all the pretas coming and being completely satisfied (we put the offerings outside after the meal). To purify any mistakes we have made in our precepts, we chant some verses in Tibetan.

Then we dedicate for the well-being and spiritual progress of the people who donated the food, and to the rest of the humans in the world, including those who may have harmed us. “May all those who scold me, make me unhappy, hit me, attack me with weapons, or do things up to the point of killing me attain the happiness of awakening. May they attain full awakening to the unsurpassed, perfectly accomplished state of Buddhahood.”

This is difficult, but as Dharma practitioners on the receiving end of offerings, we must change our resentful attitude that views some people as enemies. We wish those who harm us the happiness of awakening because they are the unhappiest, and in the process, we also give up our victim mentality. The worst people can do is to kill us, but our real enemies are our negative actions because only they can make us take a lower rebirth.

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