November 29 : Offering Our Food
We pay homage to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha by saying the offering verse:
To the supreme teacher, the precious Buddha,
To the supreme refuge, the holy precious Dharma,
To the supreme guides, the precious Sangha,
To all the objects of refuge, we make this offering.
Everything, the whole lineage, comes from the Buddha, our supreme teacher. All the teachers we have had, starting with our parents, have contributed immensely to our well-being, but none have the ability to lead us out of the unsatisfactory state of samsara to full awakening. The Dharma refuge of true cessations and true paths is what liberates our mind and turns it into our real refuge. Unlike other religions where refuge objects are always outside and you can only approach them, in Buddhism we become the actual refuge objects, starting with actualising the Dharma on the Path of Seeing. We become part of the Sangha refuge and become the Buddha refuge when our mind is fully purified. The Sangha guides, encourages and inspires us. We can learn a lot from texts, but we can also learn a lot by observing the Sangha to see how the Dharma is lived and practiced on a daily basis.
When we are doing the homage to the Three Jewels, we imagine in the space before us the Buddha surrounded by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Dharma scriptures on little tables. With the offering, we imagine offering goddesses coming to scoop up the blissful wisdom nectar and taking it to the merit field in the space in front of us. I like to imagine offering the blissful wisdom nectar to all sentient beings in addition to the Three Jewels. When we do our chanting at the Abbey, we have our palms together because we serve ourselves in a food line. But in a regular meal situation, you put your hands on the plate when you do the offering and imagine that you are lifting it up and offering blissful wisdom nectar to the Buddha.
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